An interesting design experiment from Google makes your smartphone into a real-time controller for a Chrome Web app game. One can see somewhere in here Google looking for an end run around its set-top-box problem.
The game app, Super Sync Sports, syncs smartphone to Web via the common Chrome browser. The game setup has you log into your iOS or Android Chrome browser at a specific URL where the cloud-based platform translates your swipes and swirls on the touchscreen as controller signals for basic sunning, swimming and biking games. You drag or circle your fingers per instructions to get your athlete moving and across the finish line. Several friends can use the same custom URL to control their own player for multiplayer action.
The controller actually works pretty well, although the game seems designed to mask any lag the system experiences. Your actions on the pad are not translated directly into specific on-screen actions. Swiping in the right way simply accelerates your player.
But the concept is interesting if you consider how Google might employ it on the larger first screen in the living room. If the Chrome browser finds its way onto connected TVs, set-top boxes and game consoles, then it could be a way for Google to establish second-screen connectivity without needing to have access to the hardware in the living room. Google TV has not been heard from much lately, and it isn’t clear what Google’s ambitions for the living room are.
But HTML5-based apps on TVs and set top boxes do open up just this kind of cool interactivity between screens. There is no reason why most apps on a smart TV couldn’t have a corresponding, synchronized smartphone or tablet app that allows at least for some levels of cross-screen programming and interactivity. We may not be playing "Call of Duty" this way anytime soon, given the lag inherent to this kind of sync across multiple wired and wireless devices communicating over IP. But this kind of programming suggests a next stage in cross-screen synergies beyond AirPlay.