Google launches Weblab

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On 19 July 2012 Google launched a beta version of Web Lab, which will host — physically and virtually — five experiments. They are Universal Orchestra, Data Tracer, Sketchbots, Teleporter and Lab Tax Explorer.

The five experiments would showcase the latest Web technologies to help you explore a particular theme in computer science.

“You can interact with them in person at the museum, or from anywhere in the world by going to te lab,” Mr Jayme Goldstein, Product Marketing Manager of Chrome, representing the Web Lab team, has said in the Google blog.

You, however, need to download the Chrome browser to get access to this virtual window on the lab. In the virtual world, you overcome the limitation of timings at the museum. You can continue your experiments even after the museum is closed for visitors.

The first experiment, Universal Orchestra, helps people collaborate in real time on music projects on custom-built robotic instruments housed in the Science Museum.

“Web browsers used to be like walkie-talkies, one person would speak and then wait for a reply. Modern web browsers allow many people to speak at the same time by taking advantage of a technology called WebSockets,” the Google team said.

In this Web Lab experiment, WebSockets have been used to allow you to play musical instruments together over the Internet in a musical conversation.

“But rather than sending and downloading each sound that gets played, which might take a long time depending on how fast your Internet connection is, we've set up the WebSockets to have a conversation about what note is being played. Your browser then takes that string of information about the notes and makes them into sweet music,” the team said.

To make this whole system even more efficient, a Web server has been built using Node.js, which allows all of these conversations to take place between people all over the world, whenever they want, in near real-time, it said.
 
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