Google is upping its game with Hollywood.
Along with Disney, the tech company invited journalists to an event this week that was billed, rather cryptically, as "an evening of creative storytelling." Aside from being a chance for marketing executives to wax poetic about storytelling through the ages, it turned out to be the unveiling of "Find Your Way to Oz," a Google Chrome Experiment tie-in with Disney’s March 8 release, Oz the Great and Powerful (which will get a big, on-air preview during the Super Bowl).
The browser-exclusive interactive experience has two different arenas for play—the circus and the storm. In the circus, you can explore the Music Box, in which you make music that will accompany your journey; in the Photo Booth, pictures and videos you take can instantly float in and out of the Oz universe. You can then get in the hot-air balloon so familiar from Dorothy’s escape from Oz and you can ride out the storm. "Find Your Way to Oz" shows off the latest advances in Google Chrome technology without having to use additional plug-ins, like Quicktime or Flash. And yet, while all of the images are richly hand-painted and in 3D, the whole thing feels a bit…slight.
Chrome made a stunning first impression with its in-browser interactive Arcade Fire experience, and there have been other great partnerships with musicians: remember the ones with OK Go and Norah Jones/Danger Mouse? So perhaps there’s more than meets the eye with the road to Oz. Look for its debut February 5 and see.