Controls are fun and easy to use, site is nice diversion even if it is a glorified ad for The LEGO Movie

For those AFOLs (adult fans of LEGOs) out there -- and for the kids -- Google Inc. (GOOG) has launched a neat new website dubbed "Build With Chrome".  Powered by WebGL, the site allows you to build simple 3D LEGO models online.  Don't be worried by the title -- the website/web app does work in modern versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc., as well.

The interface is surprisingly fun and easy, with both button and keyboard controls (I tried both).  The block selection is probably the biggest limitation (there's 14 "bricks" and 7 "extras" -- e.g. doors and windows), along with the fact that you can't build a model floating in free space.

But for building houses or terrain, the software is a fun diversion.  You can even pick between 10 colors of blocks.

Build with Chrome

The site is optimized for mobile and can work on "a touchscreen on your phone or tablet with Chrome for Android support for WebGL on devices with high-end graphics capabilities."
Google+ integration is also built-in, allowing you to publish and share your creations.
For the kids, the site could be a good first introduction to 3D modeling.  The controls are somewhat reminiscent of popular 3D modeling software, such as Maya or 3D Studio Max, although the exact shortcuts are a bit different.
The fun site is a host of Google's ever evolving side projections, and is an advertising tie-in for the “THE LEGO® MOVIE™ ".  The LEGO Group and its beloved plastic building bricks were created in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen in Denmark.  It's been inspiring future engineers ever since.  In recent years the franchise has branched out into games and animated features, but the upcoming film will be the first full-length film.

Sources: Google [press release], [site]

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