In the beginning, users are invited to enter the name of their hometown (still, the project supports only locations with good satellite images from Google maps) and start the journey of a man, running along the streets of the town or city in the main window. As the story unfolds, 7 additional small-sized choreographed sections with birds flying above the houses and city landscape with shops and cafes come to the foreground one after each other, adding new features to the picture. The whole thing finishes when the last ‘screen’ comes on the top, encouraging the users to write a message to their younger selves —its letters become trees and start spreading their branches wider and wider all over the ‘paper.’
Aaron Koblin from Google’s Creative Lab told Wired.com, “One of the biggest struggles for a director is to successfully create a sense of empathy with their characters and settings. Using Google Maps and Street View we’re able to tailor the experience to each person. This effect is a totally different kind of emotional engagement that is both narrative and personally driven.”
The new project, developed with the cutting-edge web technologies, including HTML5 video, audio, can be watched in all latest-version browsers barring IE ones, but for the best viewing experience users are asked to open the page in Google Chrome.