If you’ve ever felt like rearranging Google’s homepage, filling the screen with bouncing balls, or making a Twitter map, Google Chrome can help you out. If you think this sounds like a waste of time, don’t worry: there is a point to it.
The gimmicks are all part of an experiment to see how the open source browser could be customized by developers from outside of Google. While the tools are all creative, useful or attractive (in differing proportions), the real aim is to test how stable they are.
The tools include Google Gravity, which recreates the familiar Google homepage but allows users to move everything you can see on the screen to a different location. However, the various features, such as the box for typing your query and the search button continue to work wherever they are on the screen. Another tool uses multiple browser windows to display pieces of a picture which can then be rearranged and merged into a single image.
There’s also a tool named Social Collider which produces mathematical diagrams based on Twitter posts. Using similar technology to the way a particle collider tracks movement, the tool produces a graph showing how posts involving a particular user or phrase have spun off further posts. The idea is that the resulting diagrams can help pinpoint how a particular topic gained in popularity.