I’m sure by now you’ve seen it via a friend on Facebook — Arcade Fire and Google Chrome’s HTML 5 interactive music video for “We used to wait” called The Wilderness Downtown. You input the address of the house you grew up in and it builds an animated video of a hooded figure running through your neighborhood using images from Google Earth.
At the climax of the song, the hooded figure ends up at your exact home address and spins around for a 360-degree street level view. I knew it was coming as soon as I saw the green and white siding of our neighbor’s house, but I wasn’t prepared to see the vacant carport and “For Sale” sign that now adorns my childhood home. I was crushed. My heart ached to be there one last time — in my bedroom with the blue carpet and glow-in-the-dark galaxy on the ceiling.
But that’s the point, right? As with all things, computers have come full circle, and what was once as impersonal, robotic and predictable as we could make it is now a new magical box capable of stirring the deepest of emotions.
I’ll admit it — Google made me cry, but just a little.