Play with LEGO blocks in a new persistant world styled after Google Maps.
Google Australia has partnered with LEGO to release Build, a virtual LEGO construction simulator that runs inside browsers such as Google Chrome (of course) and Mozilla Firefox. Build features a virtual world of player-made LEGO creations that can be viewed in full 3D as soon as they are finished. Any player can pick a plot of land that's not already claimed and begin building their virtual plastic brick masterpiece.
The virtual world players build in is mapped against the real one, including roads, rivers, and parks. Terrain is not carried over, however, so every plot is completely flat. The overall setup and controls are similar to Google Maps, allowing players to explore the map to find other players' creations. Australia and New Zealand are the only maps available for the time being, but the team hopes to expand the borders soon.
The launch of Build coincides with the 50th anniversary of LEGO in Australia - not to be confused with the US 50th LEGO anniversary four years ago - as well as the LEGO Festival of Play, a nine-month campaign launched in April. The Google Australia team have encouraged players to post their creations to the team's Google+ page, promising to re-share the most inventive.
While virtual LEGO blocks may not replace the tactile feel of the real version, most players don't have Build's library of over 8 trillion blocks, so it probably evens out.