“This was one of my favorite entries. The simplicity of the idea and the multiple ways to interact brought me right back to the spelling bees of my youth… and losing in the second round.” —juror Jon Jackson
“Brilliant. It’s like a virtual spelling bee, with a twist. Letter by letter, word by word, the higher your tower gets, the more addictive it can be.” —juror Ginny Golden
Overview: When Chrome added Web Speech, its new voice recognition API, Google Creative Lab wanted to introduce it to the public in a way that was both playful and useful. The Creative Lab in London chose to demonstrate the technology’s educational capacity by showing how it could help users learn a language. Spell Up is a voice-powered game that helps you improve your English through challenges such as spelling words aloud, correctly pronouncing vocabulary, solving word jumbles and guessing mystery words. Using a combination of different web technologies, the Chrome browser understands what you say and uses it to control the game—just speak to play.
• The site has hosted nearly four million visitors, with more than 56 percent of users coming from countries where English is not the first language.
• Players interact with the game by using their voices, and the game responds through speech synthesis.
• Google Translate provides the ability to translate words into a user’s native language, and users can look up definitions in Google Dictionary while they play.
Comments by Google Creative Lab London:What are the project’s core features?
Did you meet with any out-of-the-ordinary obstacles during development? “We had to find the answers to many questions along the way. How do you help someone learn to spell? What are techniques used by educators? How do you create a site that teaches spelling to users who might not be able to read? How can you accommodate accents from all over the world? And finally, how do you make it all into a fun game?”
“Spell Up is device-agnostic—it’s accessible to anyone who has Chrome downloaded on their device, which means it really is accessible to everyone. It also taps existing APIs, like the Google Translate API, and shows how using these APIs together can produce a wealth of features.” How did this project compare with others you’ve worked on?
“The Creative Lab has produced a number of Chrome Experiments, demonstrating how Chrome technologies can be used in a fun way. Spell Up is the first one to add an educational layer, to really help people improve their spelling while playing a game. We brought in many experts to help us along the way and learned a lot, including how to spell some particularly tricky words, like bivouacking