To celebrate Google’s 15th birthday, they released a pretty addictive doodle that involves hitting a piñata that’s swinging on a tree. For every piece of candy that falls on the ground, you will get a point and you get ten swings per game. My high score was somewhere around 170 but I heard about others getting into the 180’s. It’s all about timing and you need to start swinging at the piñata before it’s actually back on the screen which makes it challenging to get a high score. Only thing is, doesn’t this seem like something for little kids birthday parties? At 15 I feel like you’ve moved on from the piñata scene. Oh well, still a fun game. Play it here.
Roku, Google TV, Apple TV… many set box devices have tried but none have really penetrated the streaming device market enough to get them past niche status. The future of TV maybe simpler than we thought. I mean why have a separate set top box when you can have just a simple stick that acts as a hybrid between your gadget and your TV?
Earlier this week, Google announced Chromecast, a small USB thumb drive-sized device that plugs into your TV’s HDMI input and lets you control web video on your TV. There is no need for a remote because it lets you control the media right on your smartphone, tablet or computer using its Chrome browser. And it is compatible with just about any device that has the Chrome browser. So far there isn’t much support for the device but it has been selling out immediately upon releases through Amazon and Best Buy. Services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go and YouTube are already up and running on Chromecast and the potential of this device is driving other streaming services to it. I think it’s the $35 price point that has consumers excited. In addition to the cheap price, Netflix is offering free 3-months streaming with purchase of Chromecast (a $25 value).
P.S. This is my 500th blog post. It’s only taken me a little over 5 years to get to that number. For those of you bad at math, that’s roughly 100 blog posts/year. I hope to continue at that pace.
Yesterday Google started of April Fools with a Google Treasure Maps feature that replaced Google Maps. Basically what it did was removed all the map detail of regular Google Maps and made the maps look more treasure map like. In addition to yesterdays prank, today they “introduced” Google Nose – go beyond type, talk, and touch for a new notation of sensation. Check out the funny video of the product in action and happy April Fools!
Today, while doing work a co-worker told me to check Google which I did. The second it loaded, I instantly knew that I was about to either view a fun animation or play a fun game. It was a Zamboni game where you control a Zamboni as it cleans up ice that different characters skate on. The characters include children ice skaters, ice hockey players and figure skaters. After you clean up the ice, you continue on to the next level. The levels get progressively more difficult because the play area gets larger and more items are thrown onto the ice that may cause you to slow down like banana peels. There are also helpful items to collect including a gas tank which will fill up your Zamboni with more fuel and a coffee pot that will make you caffeinated and faster. Once your Zamboni runs out of gas, it empties the snow and your game has ended.
One thing I noticed was that I was mistaking ice that I missed cleaning with specs of dirt on my computer monitor. Overall however, this is one of the best Google Doodles I’ve ever seen/played. The graphics and gameplay remind me somewhat of Ice Hockey for the NES. If this game was a 99 cent app for phones and tablets, it would sell very well. Thank you Frank Zamboni for creating the Zamboni and for inspiring Google to make this fun game.
I was able to iframe the game in below. I also discovered that you can use your mouse to control the Zamboni instead of using your keyboard keys. If playing with the keys, just make sure you click on the game before you start playing and it should work. Here is a link to the official game page along with vintage instruction manual. Enjoy!
I may not be a huge fan of Winsor McCay. Honestly, I haven’t even heard of him before today but Google has changed that with it’s somewhat interactive doodle celebrating his life and his cartoon, Little Nemo. Little Nemo is the main fictional character in a series of weekly comic strips that appeared in the New York Herald and New York American newspapers dating between 1905 and 1914. In the animated Google Doodle, the user controls Nemo through an interactive comic strip as he falls through a hole one night while sleeping before being caught and dragged into a window in a ball by a princess. They then bounce along a platform before falling into a walking bed that takes them through a room beore dumping Nemo where he then falls into water near a staircase. It then looks like Nemo just imagined this little story before it takes you to the Winsor McCay search results page. Sounds cool right?
More @ Google Doodles.
Recently we watched the 2012 Olympic games in London from the comfort of our livings room. There were many exciting events going on and tons of medals to be awarded. To celebrate the games, Google created 17 doodles over the days of the Olympics. Of the 17, there were 4 interactive, playable doodles. These doodles included Hurdles, Basketball Slalom Canoe, and Soccer. These games are very simple to play because they usually only require using two or three buttons to control. After a game is finished, the player is given a score, along with a star ranking of one, two or three. I think that Slalom Canoe is my favorite of these Olympic doodle games to play.
In celebration of Moog creator Robert Moog’s 78th birthday today, Google made a playable Moog Synthesizer Doodle. The Moog Synthesizer was one of the first widely used electronic musical instruments that was created in the late 1960’s. The fun thing about the Google Doodle is that it’s playable and visitors are able to try the synthesizer by clicking on the keys, tweaking the sound via the knobs, recording their music and even sharing their creations with friends via the link shortcut button. This is one of the better Doodle’s I’ve seen and it’s up there with the Google playable Pac-man Doodle created a couple of years ago. I hope that Google archives this doodle so that it can still be used once Moog’s 78th birthday is over.