Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Google killed Chrome Dino’s AI experiment before anyone could try it

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Summary

  • Google’s I/O keynote revealed new Gen Dino AI experiment merging Chrome Dino & AI, but shutdown pre-presentation.
  • Gen Dino allowed customization of game elements like dino, cacti, backgrounds – but now extinct & unplayable.
  • Fans hope Google brings back Gen Dino as Labs experiment or offline version, despite Google’s history of killing off projects.



Google’s annual developer conference keynote address just summarized several important announcements for developers and Gemini AI enthusiasts alike. While AI has permeated nearly every aspect of Google’s business in the last year and many new experiments are headed our way soon, one interesting experiment fusing Gemini AI and Google Chrome was shut down as soon as the I/O keynote address began.


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Besides its omnipresent role as one of the best browsers on Android, Chrome also houses a few fun bits like Google’s Chrome Dino game. Originally introduced as a static Easter egg image for when webpages don’t load, Google eventually made Chrome Dino an iconic arcade game. It features a pixelated dino jumping over cacti in a desert, with physics resembling Super Mario Bros. for the NES. I remember times when I would turn off Wi-Fi and mobile data on my phone just to play this game. It is also available if you type chrome://dino in the address bar.


In the build-up to the I/O keynote address livestream, even before the stream’s official commencement time, Google silently threw in a small demo of a generative AI experiment with Chrome Dino, called Gen Dino. At the time, the game microsite said the game would only be playable until 10am PT — when the keynote begins. True to its word, Google pulled the plug on web developers’ work at the promised hour.


Finished before it even started

Gen Dino was an innovative concept allowing you to modify the three main elements of the game — the dino, cacti, and backgrounds — while retaining the same art style, physics, and playability of the classic. After you sign in using your Google account on the landing page, you can choose to replace the dino with something like a jeep, the cacti with the moon, and the desert background with hot air balloons. Alternatively, the site also had an I’m feeling lucky button in the corner to randomize the selection.


Shortly after the keynote started, we were unable to sign in using our Google accounts, and subsequently, the microsite was updated to declare the game extinct. That’s its present condition as well, and there’s no way you can play the Gen Dino game anymore.

gendino-1-pre-io-teaser

Source: Google

Gen Dino teaser in the livestream before the keynote began

Now, Google is no saint when it comes to killing off projects and at I/O this year, Assistant’s death felt imminent. However, killing off an interesting creation before millions of fans and gamers even discover it is a new low for the company. We sincerely hope Google reinstates Gen Dino as a Labs experiment for thousands of people who learned about it for the first time on the I/O livestream. Better yet, we wouldn’t mind an offline version of the game even if it adds a few MB to the Chrome download from the Play Store.


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