Talk about a time-sink. Google Australia has today taken the covers off of Build -- a browser-based experiment that lets you build over the real world with LEGO blocks using Chrome.
When you go to Build, you're presented with a map of Australia. From there, you can pick anywhere you like to claim and start building. Google Australia, for example, showed it off by building the Sydney Harbour Bridge -- complete with scale Sydney ferry -- using digital LEGO.
It's the result of months of work between the Australian outposts of Google and LEGO, and gives users access to over 8 trillion pieces of LEGO. That's way more than I had when I was a kid.
Lockey McGrath, Google Australia's product marketing manager writes:
Build may look simple, but this collaborative 3D building experience would not have been possible a couple of years ago. It shows how far browser technology has come and how the web is an amazing platform for creativity. We made the bricks with WebGL, which enables powerful 3D graphics right in the browser and demonstrates the upper limit of current WebGL graphics performance. We then mixed in Google Maps (another Aussie invention) so you can put your creation in a LEGO world alongside everyone else’s.
This experiment is seriously awesome. Get building and post your links in the comments. If we get enough cool ones we'll run our own virtual LEGO gallery! [Google Australia blog]