30 Jul 2012

Google experiments with art and science

Google has teamed with London's Science Museum and Tate Modern to create two exhibitions, which harness and showcase its Chrome products.  

The two exhibitions, one a collection of science experiments, the other an evolving art exhibition, will have both a physical and online existence.  

First off the blocks is Web Labs, an exhibition to demonstrate the power of the internet and inspire the next generation of computer scientists and enthusiasts. The exhibition takes place in the basement of the Science Museum and features five installations, Universal Orchestra, Data Tracer, Sketchbots, Teleporter, and Lab Tag Explorer. 

Each of the experiments / installations aim to showcase a technology found in Chrome, in order to “explore a particular theme in computer science,” says Jayme Goldstein, Product Marketing Manager at Chrome. 

Goldstein gives the example of the Universal Orchestra experiment, which uses Chrome’s WebSockets to demonstrate real time collaboration as people from around the world make music together on custom-built robotic instruments housed in the Science Museum. 

The exhibition is open to the public for 12 months and free to visitors of the London Science Museum, it’s also online, which means it is available anytime, from anywhere. 

In the same week as Google unveiled Web Labs they also teamed up with Tate Modern to launch an online art experience called ‘This Exquisite Forest’, which encourages people to collaborate to create animations and stories using a web-based drawing tool.

The project has enlisted Seven artists from the Tate’s collection, including Bill Woodrow, Dryden Goodwin, Julian Opie, Mark Titchner, Miroslaw Balka, Olafur Eliasson and Raqib Shaw, who have created short “seed” animations. The idea is that from these seeds anyone can contribute their own animations to build on and extend the story or branch into a new direction. 

People can also create their own seeds and grow their own trees with friends. As More sequences are added, trees grow creating a forest of creativity. The interactive installation will be open in the Tate for six months. Google said: “Our hope is that through the collective creativity of the web, an ever expanding forest of narrative paths will grow.” 


In true Google fashion, the search giant has created two innovative brand experiences, which hold their own as legitimate creative installations and physical exhibitions. 

Google has opted to show off the power of the internet by encroaching on the physical realm with Web Labs and This Exquisite Forest, and prove it is more than just a search engine. This is part of a broader strategic push by Google to flex its content muscle as it works to position itself as content facilitator and creator as evident in other Google content plays such as Think with Google and Google Quarterly

Both experiences appeal to completely different audiences. With Web Labs, Google is going squarely for computer science and technology lovers, it’s geek-factor is high, the experiments are cool and the computer scientists, developers and general technophiles will love it. Meanwhile This Exquisite Forest appeals to the artistic types, digital artists, animators, designers etc.

In two exhibitions Google hits the two audiences, which are crucial to its future relevance as more than a search engine. In showing these audiences how to use Chrome to create and develop it, Google aims to define the brand as a companion to experimentation and creation. 

It’s savvy work taking exhibitions into the digital realm and allowing them to be 'always on' online for consumers to enjoy at their leisure. Google have also facilitated a physical space to enjoy the digital world – I’m not a fan of the buzz word phydigital (which refers to combining the physical with digital) but that’s exactly what Google have done. 

Most significantly it shows a brilliant strategy to get people to experience the Chrome platform. Both exhibitions use Chrome tools, so to properly experience the exhibitions you need to use Chrome. Chrome is one of those platforms that once you experience it, you probably won’t go back to another platform, so getting people to use it, by way of visiting the exhibitions and experiencing how superior it is, is just genius, plain and simple. 


The experiential element of these installations are what sets them apart. Google has superbly blurred the line between the physical and digital experiences enabling the user to fully immerse in the experience in either environment. Linking the quality of the users experience of that exhibition to the Chrome platform is just genius.

  • I give it 4.5 stars




22 Dec 2014

Hi Linda,I am missing the riwong gals so much right now! First thing I did this morning on waking up was check the results for the Iron Cove regatta and then proceeded to do a few fist pumps for the crew even while in bed! Awesome work and I am so proud of all of you. So glad you indulged in an afternoon of self care. I love when you work hard, you relax hard as well. I am so ridiculously lucky that I have been stranded a NYC I can think of no better place and I have really savoured these past few bonus days. I will be back at training on Wednesday, can't guarantee the state I'll be in but I can't wait to see you wonderful, loving, supportive and funny as hell women. Thanks for the website love as well! FJ xx

18 Dec 2014

Hi Fiona,I just read your epistle from NYC. Great redniag and well done. But your writing is always fun and interesting to read. We missed you in the 3 seat today as we rowed about 20 kms from the club to Iron Cove, raced 7 kms and rowed back again. Boy that breakfast tasted good. The massage, bath and afternoon kip were all pretty good, too. I hope you can get out and do some shopping now that Sandy has taken her leave from NYC and at least make the best of the few extra days you've been stranded there. There are worse places to be stranded but too bad it had to wreak such devastation on the coast and people. We look forward to seeing your smiling face when you get back.Linda

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