Google, like Facebook, Yahoo and any number of other successful IT product and service suppliers, often develops software of various kinds and gives its back to the public free of charge so people can use it to develop other products.
This is similar to companies that develop software and donate it back to the open-source community so that independent developers can use it to come up with their own new applications.
Google's latest giveaway is AnyPixel.js, released on June 23. This is a new open-source software and hardware library that makes it possible to use the Web to create big, unusual, interactive displays. Anyone can take and hack the code and the schematics to create their own display at any scale or level of expertise, according to Google.
Check out what it looks like here.
The idea originated from Google's interest in building something new and attractive for the lobby in the company's new office in New York City.
"We wanted something that was big, could display a lot of different stuff, and (most importantly) was really fun to play with," a Google spokesman told eWEEK.
"A giant screen would have been pretty easy, and simply touching a screen wasn't that much fun, either. So we used 6,000 light-up arcade buttons acting as interactive pixels, controlled by a Web page. Then we decided to open it up to developers to see what they could come up with."
In the first AnyPixel.js display, Google used 5,880 off-the-shelf arcade buttons as pixels. Like a touch-screen, every button is interactive.
AnyPixel.js is available now on Github.