Throughout the past two years, Google has been releasing its "Chrome Experiments" showcasing what its web browser and HTML 5 are capable of. Past experiments have included a variety of topics and games, including star charts, skee ball, and multiplayer air hockey.
Today Google revealed its latest Chrome Experiment, a partnership with Warner Bros. for a look at Tolkien's Middle-earth from the perspective of the new Hobbit movies. The experiment puts players in an overhead view of Middle-earth, with different locations from the Hobbit movies highlighted. Clicking one of these locations brings up an interactive overview of the site and characters related to it that can be navigated horizontally using the mouse. One and two second clips from the first Hobbit movie slide by in motion-comic style while narration is read by Gandalf the Grey.
Compared to past Chrome Experiments, this "Journey Through Middle-Earth" is relatively simplistic. However, it could provide a basic overview of key locations from the first Hobbit movie for those who need a refresher.
There are a few things missing, however. The Shire is inexplicably missing as a location for more in-depth examination. In fact, there are currently only three locations available for a more in-depth look: the Trollshaw Forrest, Rivendell, and Dol Guldur. Three other locations surrounding the Lonely Mountain (Lake Town, Thranduil's Hall, and the Lonely Mountain itself) are also shown on the map but are currently locked. It's safe to assume that these locations, which will feature heavily in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, will be unlocked in the lead-up to or after the release of the new movie.