The experiment is the work of writer and director Chris Milk and social media-savvy band Arcade Fire, and it shows off the interactive, artistic and technical capabilities of open-Web tools like HTML5 and Google products like Chrome, Maps and Street View.
As Wired magazine's Eliot Van Buskirk points out, it's easier to call the entire thing an "experience" rather than a video, as it goes well beyond a traditional music video. Don't get us wrong - there's music and there's video, but there's also real-time graphics rendering and real-world imagery pulled from Google Maps satellite and Street View imagery. There are multiple windows, with 3D rendered birds flying from one to another and there's even a sentimental moment when you can pen a note to your younger self.
The experiment begins by asking you for "the address of the home where you grew up"and you quickly begin seeing images pulled directly from Google Street View and birds-eye-view satellite imagery from Google Maps of your childhood neighborhood.
Google Creative Lab tech lead and co-creator of the project Aaron Koblin told Wired magazine that they were "excited about breaking out of the traditional 4:3 or 16:9 video box, and thinking about how we could take over the whole browser experience." Koblin also noted the importance of "incorporating data-feeds on the fly, and tailoring the experience to the individual."
According to Chris Milk, HTML5 is still in its "infancy" but he sees the browser as the next artistic medium, because of its ability to allow for interaction between the art and the user. The entire experiment showcases a number of HTML5 features, such as the ability to choreograph windows and synchronize music and video between them, use HTML5 for 3D rendering, rotating and zooming of Google Maps satellite imagery and even inserting animated sprites directly over satellite imagery.
Beyond the neat tech involved, the experiment is quite the experience and we encourage you to take a look. Google advises (of course) that you use its own browser, Google Chrome, and close down windows and other programs before beginning, as it can be quite processor intensive. And after you take a look, tell us what you think - how long will it be before HTML5 eats Flash's lunch?