Google Unleashes Virtual LEGO Fun In Chrome

It's a touchy, glitchy start to something that could be a mammoth, awesome time-waster.

It’s a touchy, glitchy start to something that could be a mammoth, awesome time-waster.

Want to play with LEGO bricks but you’re at work? Or sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s? Or maybe you just don’t own any LEGO sets anymore. If you’ve got Google Chrome, you could be building virtual, blocky worlds without having to deal with the hassle of cleaning up (or the horror of losing) all those tiny plastic pieces.

Build With Chrome is a joint venture between Google and LEGO that does exactly what you think it would do — let you place various LEGO bricks on a surface to build stuff on your computer.

Alas, it’s not as easy as it might sound just yet. My attempts to monkey around with Build With Chrome were more than a bit glitchy and the navigation — especially in the “explore” mode that is supposed to let you see what others have built on a worldwide, LEGO-ish Google map — is kind of a nightmare. For example, any attempt to add an “extra” piece (door, window, etc.), resulted in my building plot vanishing from the screen.

That said, it did just launch so we hope it improves because this is exactly the kind of thing we all need to be doing on our laptops and phones during boring conference calls.

UPDATE: Some readers have written in to point out that Build With Chrome wants to use your location so you can, in theory, build a LEGO structure on the very site you’re currently occupying, then share that creation with the world. Some are concerned that this location-based aspect may unwittingly be sharing users’ real addresses with the public. This is especially a concern when it comes to children. You can deny the site access to your location and you can also change the Google+ settings so that your structure is shared only with certain people on Google+ or with no one at all.

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