HTML5 is a structure for coding websites. One of the exciting possibilities it presents is support for a lot of functionality that has previously required third-party browser plug-ins, such as video and drag-and-drop. It appears to have gotten a kickstart when Apple locked out Flash from the iPhone and iPad. So Google worked with the band Arcade Fire to create a “musical experience” called The Wilderness Downtown to demonstrate what HTML5 can do. And its pretty darn impressive.
While the interactive video is meant to be viewed in Google Chrome, I viewed it in Firefox 3.6, and it functioned OK. When first accessing The Wilderness Downtown, the visitor is asked for an address from childhood. As the experience begins, browser windows open, close, move and resize, showing video of the music from the director. Google Maps is also integrated, showing satellite and street-level footage from the address that was inputted. A clever drawing tool is later incorporated, with graphic leaf-like triangles attaching themselves to the art drawn by the user.
It’s experiments like this which create quantum leaps in the technology, where designers and developers can visualize the possible. Much like Gabocorp for Flash and CSS Zen Garden for CSS, The Wilderness Downtown has the potential to be a catalyst for HTML5.
Five years from now, this site will look primitive in its implementation of HTML5. And that’s really the point of projects like this: to fire the imagination and put technology in the hands of creatives who will take the web experience to a new plateau. So check out The Wilderness Downtown from Arcade Fire and Google, and get a taste of what’s to come on the web.