Silent Movies Gone Google: Browser Lets Users DIY Title Cards

Get ready to waste the rest of your day playing with a new online toy

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Via Google/The Peanut Gallery

Made with The Peanut Gallery

Google just launched The Peanut Gallery, a new tool for its Chrome browser, which allows users to add their own title cards to clips from classic movies. And you don’t have to be a film buff to see these black-and-white silent pictures for what they are: an entertaining (even addictive) way to spend the rest of the afternoon.

No typing involved: just say “Action!” to get your computer’s mic going, and speak the dialogue as you’d like it to appear in the clip. You can even use your voice to add punctuation, though this becomes a problem if you want one of your actors to use a word like “period.” In our testing, the voice-to-text pick up was almost completely accurate. (One difference from real old-timey silent pictures: you do have to enunciate.)

(MORETop 10 Post-Black-and-White-Era Black-and-White Movies)

The clips come from well-known films like The Kid, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Plan 9 from Outer Space and Voyage to the Moon, among others—all public domain, which is why you can play with them for free—and the messed-with versions can be shared when they’re complete.

The point of The Peanut Gallery, if you haven’t already guessed, isn’t just Google giving you the ability to make Charlie Chaplin “say” silly, anachronistic words. In fact, it’s a humorous way to demonstrate a new technology, rolled out late February, that has allowed developers to use voice commands in web apps (based on the same technology that powers the browser’s voice-search features).

You’ll have to excuse us, now. We’ve got some “work” to do.