One of my favorite writers covering the mobile space, Kevin Tofel at Gigaom, discovered a new Chrome experiment last night that lets you explore J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle-Earth fantasy kingdom in “A Journey Through Middle Earth“.
What I love about these “experiments” is that it shows the power of the web and what’s possible using web-based standards. The beauty is that the site works across platforms, meaning I can view the site on a desktop, tablet, and a mobile device and get the same experience.
We will undoubtedly continue to see significant advances in web technologies that continue to close the gap between web and native applications. If you check out the app above on your phone, you will notice some of the inherent limitations in web graphics (how they were done is explained here), but if you compare it to the quality of web graphics on a mobile device from a year ago, it’s come a long way.
I’m also convinced that these Google experiments are part of their ultimate goal of combining Android and Chrome under the Chrome OS. I think it’s just a matter of time before we see a phone (and tablet) with Chrome as its primary operating system. Android apps will run in an emulation environment within the OS, similar to what BlackBerry is doing in OS10. I view Google’s recent announcement of ART, a new Android runtime that was released with KitKat, as the underpinnings of this new emulation environment that will come to Chrome.
Google’s latest Chromium “experiment” is just another reason why we focus our efforts on developing for the mobile web. In my view, it creates superior and longer lasting value for our customers than developing for the closed ecosystems of iOS, Android, Windows Phone and others.