Today is the 40th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube. While most of us won’t really bat an eye at that news, other than some of us feeling a bit old, Google wanted to really drive home the point. Enter today’s Google doodle.
At first, you’ll just see what appears to be a neat Google-ified Rubik’s cube GIF, which is pretty cool in its own right. However, if you think the doodle is just a doodle, you’re missing out on all the fun.
You’re a click away from a fully interactive, HTML5-based Rubik’s Cube that you can try to solve yourself. As described in the official Google blog, to create a functional Rubik’s Cube like this is no small feat. Not only must the physics be recreated appropriately, they had to make a Rubik’s Cube that reflected all 43 quintillion possible positions that the puzzle can be put into.
As pointed out by Wikipedia, the original marketers of the Rubik’s Cube only said that there were billions of possibilities because, well, quintillion isn’t a number normal folks use very often. They feared we wouldn’t understand it. For those keeping score at home, a quintillion is equivalent to 1,000,000 trillions. Or, for even more fun, 1,000,000,000 billions. Or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 ones.
You can click and drag the sides of the Google doodle Rubik’s Cube and try to solve it, if you want. It’s as solvable as the real deal. Google has even integrated keyboard shortcuts for “speedcubers”:
Additionally, Google has launched the Chrome Cube Lab, which will further the original goal of the Rubik’s Cube, which is to teach people about three dimensionality. Here’s what the inventor, Professor Erno Rubik, has to say:
The Cube was born in 1974 as a teaching tool to help me and my students better understand space and 3D. The Cube challenged us to find order in chaos. Since then, technology has made fantastic progress in bringing new possibilities to how we learn and how we tackle bewildering complexity. Chrome Cube Lab takes full advantage of that progress by encouraging curiosity and problem-solving skills—the very reason the Cube was created in the first place. I can’t wait to see people learn about three-dimensional objects through their browsers and to test the limits of what is possible when the Cube gets re-jigged using cutting edge web technologies. Cube on!
Beyond those goals, the Chrome Cube Lab clearly has the intention to get people working with some new web technologies to create their cubes: HTML5, CSS3, and Three.js. These are being implemented around the web in general to make the Internet more beautiful, faster, and eliminate clunky and insecure tools like Adobe Flash.