Google is celebrating the 40th birthday of the Rubik’s Cube puzzle by introducing a series of Google Chrome Experiments that give puzzle lovers new ways of playing, experimenting and succumbing to the challenging 3-D puzzle.
The new Chrome Experiments based on Rubik’s Cube were unveiled May 19 by Richard The, a designer in Google’s Creative Lab in New York, in a post on the Google Chrome Blog.
“As everyone knows (right??), there are 519 quintillion permutations for the Rubik’s cube, so May 19 seemed like a fine day to celebrate its 40th anniversary,” wrote The. To commemorate the event, Google built the Chrome Cube Lab, “a series of Chrome Experiments by designers and technologists that reinterpret Rubik’s puzzle with the full power of the Web.”
Rubik’s Cube was introduced in 1974 as the design of Budapest-based educator and inventor Erno Rubik, who “created the puzzle originally to help his students better understand spatial geometry,” wrote The. “Released to the public in the 1980s, it quickly became an international obsession, bigger than hair spray and break dancing combined.”
The cube is a three-dimensional block with movable pieces that must be manipulated by hand until each of the six sides display only one color. “… Rubik’s Cube is more than just a toy,” wrote The. “It’s a puzzle waiting to be solved and a question waiting to be answered. Over the past 40 years, the cube has puzzled, frustrated, and fascinated so many of us, and has helped spark an interest in math and problem solving in millions of kids. That’s part of why so many of us at Google love the cube, and why we’re so excited to celebrate its 40th birthday this year.”
The Chrome Experiments featuring Rubik’s Cube principles include the 808Cube and SynthCube, which invite users to create their own music using the experiments; ImageCube, which allows users to make a custom, shareable cube of your own photos and GIFs; and Type Cube, which lets users send a scrambled messages to others, wrote The. “And, if you would like to explore the cube even further, consider borrowing the cube’s source code to build an experiment of your own.”
Google even created a Google home page doodle that used Web technologies such as HTML5 and Three.js to bring the cube alive on the company’s search page, wrote The. Users could twist and turn it by dragging along its sides, or use a full range of keyboard shortcuts to arrange the puzzle.
“As a designer, it is always humbling when you encounter a perfect piece of design,” he wrote of Rubik’s Cube. “Good design attracts our attention with its beauty, doesn’t need a user manual, is universally understood by anyone in the world, and is simple without sacrificing functionality.”
Google Intros New Chrome Experiments for Rubik’s Cube Fans
Earlier this month, Google launched another Chrome Experiment—this time an online gamelike tool called “Spell Up” that can help users improve their English spelling and language skills using their voices and a Chrome Web browser. Presently, Spell Up can be used with Chrome on computers or with Android phones and tablets. Users of Apple iPhones and iPads can also try Spell Up, but they won’t have voice functionality and will have to type in their answers.
In March 2014, Google unveiled a Chrome Experiment for its innovative $35 Chromecast television dongle. That project lets users wirelessly display the photos from their smartphones right onto the screen of their digital televisions. Photowall for Chromecast lets users display smartphone photos onto a TV to create custom slide shows.
In January 2014, Google unleashed a Chrome Experiment that allows Chrome browser users to build amazing digital Lego creations on their screens as they essentially build to their heart’s content. The Build with Chrome virtual project is a collaboration between Chrome and the LEGO Group that uses the WebGL 3D graphics technology.
In November 2013, Google unveiled a Chrome Experiments project called “Journey through Middle-Earth,” a game-based adventure that was created to showcase Google’s Chrome Experiments initiative, which combines audio, video, networking and more to show the kinds of content that are possible for mobile users. The Hobbit game was released just before the latest Hobbit film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, was released in December 2013.
In June 2013, Google introduced a video game, Cube Slam, to demonstrate and show off WebRTC capabilities. WebRTC allows users to see, hear and communicate with each other using only a Web browser, whether they are playing a game or participating in an online video conference.
Google has been working on WebRTC projects for some time as a Google Chrome Experiments project. The technology could find its way into many other business and consumer uses in the future. The Cube Slam video game lets users play face-to-face against their friends by simply using a WebRTC-enabled browser.
In May 2013, Google unveiled two other Chrome Experiments mobile video games—Roll It and Racer—aimed at slot-car-racing and Skee-ball fans, giving them the ability to play with other people using phones, tablets and computers running Chrome. Roll It is a modern-day version of the classic boardwalk Skee-ball game that players can play using a browser on their phone, desktop or laptop computer, while Racer lets players build slot-car-style race tracks, which can then align across up to five mobile screens that are used by friends who have joined the game.