If you played with LEGO as a kid, you’ll remember just how much fun it was to wile away the hours building whatever your imagination came up with out of those tiny plastic blocks. Well, now you can do something similar, but this time in your browser: Google has taken an idea to bring LEGO blocks to Chrome that was initially developed by Google Australia as a Chrome Experiment, and turned it into something everyone can participate in.
That something is Buildwithchrome.com, a website that lets anyone with a Chrome browser build anything they can imagine out of virtual LEGO blocks. There are a few limitations, of course: users are restricted to a 32 x 32 grid and a relatively small selection of virtual LEGO bricks with which to build, but that’s all anyone really needs to make something cool. People can share their creations on Google+, and Google has promised to re-share the most inventive submissions.
But of course Google didn’t stop there. The company has also integrated Buildwithchrome.com with Google Maps, “so you can put your creation in a LEGO world alongside everyone else’s”. If you want to see what other people have made so far, and how those things have integrated with Google Maps, go here and click Explore All Builds and then Enter the world of build.
If you’re unsure of your LEGO skills, Google has you covered. Part of the website is devoted to the Build Academy that starts you off with a few basic challenges that will slowly build your skills up to the point where you’ll feel comfortable creating your very own LEGO masterpieces.
The mere fact of Buildwithchrome.com’s existence is testimony to the fact that browser technology has come a long way, even compared to just a few years ago when 3D rendering within the browser itself was completely unheard of. But thanks to new technologies like WebGL, the complex in-browser 3D rendering capabilities behind Buildwithchrome’s functionality, what was unthinkable before is now everyday.
Google announced the unveiling of the site on its blog on Tuesday. Not coincidentally, The LEGO Movie is right around the corner (7 Feb for overseas movie lovers, 14 March for us) and the website serves as a bit of marketing for the movie in the run-up to its release, so there’s definitely a bit of quid pro quo going on here between The Goog and the Danish toy company. At least it’s for a good cause – who doesn’t like LEGO?
Want to see more? Check out the video below.