Google owes something of a debt to Lego. The storage assembly used to stash Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s search engine algorithms in 1996 were actually kept in a a home-made case made out of Lego bricks.
Almost 20 years later, Google is giving something back. Forget the plastic bins of bricks and minifigs. The search giant has partnered with Denmark’s famous toy brick maker to allow you to build elaborate Lego structures, right in your browser. And when you’re done making your skyscraper, robot, castle or death tank out of Lego, you can plant them right in the real world, thanks to Google Maps.
Called Build with Chrome, the new app uses WebGL technologies to allow you to construct whatever structure you can think of using virtual Lego. Don’t be worried about blowing your brick budget: although the actual types of bricks available are limited, you can use as many Lego as you want to make your creations.
Once you are done with your structure, you can slap it down, right in the real world. The app will automatically look for an empty plot near you, and the tiles you build on are actually stylized Google Map tiles. This same system also allows you to check out what an entire planet made out of Lego buildings and Lego infrastructure would actually look like.
Like everything Google does these days, Build With Chrome feeds into Google+, allowing you to find the virtual Lego plots of your real and virtual friends, seeing what other people in your circles have already built. You can also browse through a categorization of completed Lego builds that will let you sort and filter for specific types of structures: for example, houses, or towers, or structures.
The Build with Chrome project was a spin-off of a project that a Google team in Australia put together as an experiment in 2012, but now it’s open to everyone, as long as you’re running Chrome on either Android or PC.
Nice to be able to play with as many Lego as you want without worrying about stepping on one barefoot later, isn’t it? Try it out for yourself here.