Google Develops Personalizable Interactive Video to Illustrate Potential of HTML5

In a posting on its corporate blog, Monday, Google announced that it has teamed with writer/director, Chris Milk, and the band, Arcade Fire, to develop a personalizable, interactive music video, entitled "The Wilderness Downtown" (note: the video's soundtrack is the new Arcade Fire single, "We Used to Wait"). The video is designed to showcase Google's Chrome browser, the company's Google Maps service, and--most importantly--the potential of the HTML5 standard and other open Web technologies.

According to the company, the video illustrates how "browsers and Web technologies have advanced so rapidly in the last few years that powerful experiences tailored to each unique person in real time are now a reality." Located on a dedicated Web site (, the video invites the viewer to enter the street address of the house they grew up in. The viewer is then presented with a montage of images and videos (in multiple pop-up browser windows, located all across the screen), in which, among other things, a hooded figure runs down a series of streets; shadowy birds fly through a birds-eye aerial view of the viewer's old neighborhood; Google Street View images of the houses on the viewer's old street appear in moving POV shots which appear to be from the perspective of the hooded runner; computer-generated trees appear on the viewer's old street; and the viewer is invited to send a postcard to their old self, and to create a picture using HTML5 drawing tools (note: some of the viewer-created postcards and drawings will be used as visuals for Arcade Fire's upcoming tour, while others might be sent to other viewers of the video, according to the video's dedicated Web site).

Google has provided some information on how it created the video's various visual and interactive effects here.

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