Just in time for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, part two of director Peter Jackson's movie trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's book, Google Chrome and Warner Bros. have launched an interactive "journey through Middle-Earth."
Think of it as a Google Maps adventure courtesy of "Chrome Experiments," which as The Wall Street Journal writes are "aimed at showing what's possible with a browser." The Journal adds that:
"The new online interactive map, complete with atmospheric moving clouds, provides a guided tour of Tolkien's Middle-earth, the setting for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as a look at the elves, wizards, trolls, people and other creatures that inhabit it."
We've played around with it some and suggest that if you're looking for a way to get your mind off the day's serious stories, it's worth checking out.
We do have to wonder, though, what funnyman Stephen Colbert — known for asking the "nerdiest question ever" about The Hobbit — will have to say about the virtual tour. Can it possibly satisfy him?
There's a promotional video that shows off some of what the experiment has to offer.
Jackson's movie is due in theaters on Dec. 13.