Chrome Experiments launches; productivity plummets

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Looking to kill some time tonight while the spouse watches American Idol? Check out Chrome Experiments. This site, which launched today, showcases a range of – I'm not sure what to call them! – neat browser thingies designed to show off the power of the Google Chrome browser's javascript engine. There are a few games and a lot of interesting demos to play around with. I warn you though, you can easily lose an hour playing around on this site.

Google has touted the speed of Chrome's javascript engine in the past, but benchmarks are one thing, and seeing is another. Take the Experiment called Monster, for instance. This is a 3D demo. When it starts up, a simple cube is rotating in space. After a few moments arms sprout from each face of the cube and grow into grasping tentacles. Run under Chrome, the transition is silky smooth (granted, I'm doing the tests on my gaming PC so it's a fairly beefy system). Running the same demo under Firefox 3.0.7, everything goes well until the arms start to grow, then the animation slows way, way down. In the Safari 4 public beta, the animation freezes for a few seconds when the cube starts to grow arms, then they pop into existence fully formed. When it comes to manipulating 3D objects in javascript, it's immediately apparent that Chrome performs better than the other browsers. (Internet Explorer 7 won't run the Experiments at all.)

One of my favorite Experiments so far is Browser Ball, which lets you 'toss' a beach ball from one browser window to another, as long as the windows overlap. I'm not sure why, but I just found it fascinating to stack windows next to each other and see the ball bounce from one to the next. Simple toys for simple minds, I guess! If you're smarter than I am and feel like making some neat javascript creation that shows off the power of Chrome, the site has a "Submit Experiment" page that you can use to try to get yours listed.

If the event you can't (or won't) get Chrome yet and don't want to see the Experiments run jerkily in other browsers, most of them include a YouTube video of the Experiment in action. Here's the video for Monster:

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