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Google Sports Game Shows Web Tech Power

Chrome Super Sync Sports turns mobile devices into controllers for desktop Web game.

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If you've noticed more people than usual frantically pawing at their smartphones lately, Google may be to blame. The company on Wednesday launched a multiplayer online game called Chrome Super Sync Sports to highlight ways that Web technology and mobile devices can be used for innovative forms of entertainment.

Chrome Super Sync Sports allows up to four people to compete in a cartoon sports simulation on a shared computer screen while using separate smartphones or tablets as game controllers. Three sports are offered: running, swimming and cycling.

Would-be players must first visit the Super Sync Sports website to create either a single-player or multiplayer race. This presents a shortened URL for mobile devices and a unique game identification code. The player(s) enter that URL into a smartphone's or tablet's Web browser and then enter the code to join the game.

[ Can Google+ Sign-In beat Facebook at the login game? Read Google Taunts Facebook With Sign-in Challenge. ]

Playing the game involves swiping across the touchscreen of the smartphone or tablet controller and watching one's in-game character race on the shared computer screen against other human participants or computer-controlled opponents.

"The motions you make on your mobile touchscreen will move your athlete on your computer screen," explained Steve Vranakis, executive creative director of Google Creative Lab, in a blog post. "To move your athlete forward and win the race, you need to make the correct gestures as quickly as possible. The better you are, the higher your chances of making it to the global leaderboard."

Google Creative Lab, with offices in New York and London, is an internal business unit charged with promoting the company. The mission of its designers, writers, programmers, filmmakers, producers and business thinkers is, as a company spokesperson put it, "to remind the world what it is they love about Google."

Google says Chrome Super Sync Sports is available Chrome v. 15 and above, and for Android 4.0+ and iOS 4.3+ devices. But the game can also be played using mobile Safari 5+ and Firefox for Android v15+, as well as Safari 5.06+ and Firefox 10 on desktop computers.

The game takes advantage of several HTML5 and Google technologies. One of these is WebSockets, a Web networking API for creating a persistent data connection between client and server that performs better than older HTTP-based protocols. In addition, the game utilizes HTML5 Audio, Canvas, CSS3 and Google Web Fonts. It runs on Google App Engine, Google's platform-as-a-service offering.

While Chrome Super Sync Sports should serve to erase lingering doubts about the maturity of HTML5 as a platform for high-performance commercial apps, it also underscores Google's competence as a content creator, a quality that past Google game projects like Lively and the company's fumbled acquisition of didn't convey.

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