A patent application filed in February and released to the public this week reveals Google's attempt to build games on top of digital videos using an interactive annotation system.
The application for a "Web-Based System For Generation Of Interactive Games Based On Digital Videos" indicates Google engineers have been experimenting with new collaborative tools in an effort to expand the collaborative tools of video-sharing services like YouTube. The new game system allows select users (the creator, a small group of like-minded collaborators or even the internet at large) to link videos together and add interactive annotations to each, permitting the creation of interactive video experiences like the classic Dragon's Lair or Mad Dog McCree. The new system could also be used to "implement multi-perspective storylines, wherein clicking on the annotated face of an actor leads to seeing the remainder of the story from that actor's perspective."
Google's proposed system also includes new sensor technology like speech recognition and a video analysis module capable of recognizing objects and automatically assigning annotations to them. Suggested applications include providing links to relevant products and services (so that users might click on a plasma TV and open a new page comparing prices and providing relevant background info) or tying game elements like text boxes or title cards to unique human faces. Multiple annotation layers are also available, allowing creators to display different interactive elements and options depending on the audience playing the video. If this system proves fruitful, the same collaborative spirit of games like LittleBigPlanet may be unleashed among YouTube's 300+ million users.