On the last day of the year, among fervent preparations, I was very curious about what was going to happen in other countries and then I started searching on Product Hunt for some kind of web application to let me visit another part of the world. Finally I had the chance to discover Jumper, a new interesting project of sound communication on the web built on top of Google Street View.
Created by designer and coder Jimmy Amash, Jumper is a new experimental website which allows users to bounce among some predefined places in the world. From New York to Antarctica, from Mount Everest to Hawaii, from the dizzying view of Dubai Burja Khalifa’s building to the peaceful void of the Grand Canyon: you can pick a location and dive yourself into one of those classic Google Street View’s 360-degrees images that each of us often experienced during our daily web surfing.
But there is more. Jumper was developed with a different goal in mind: to use sound in order to provide a novel experience of the most compelling places in the world. Indeed each location showed via Google Street View is enriched with a dedicated soundscape, which works on two different levels: diegetic and non-diegetic.
When you listen to the traffic noise in New York’s crossroads or the monotone wind on the top of mount Everest, those diegetic sounds have the goal to fulfill the sole experience of the space, taking you to the center of the location. But maybe something more interesting happens when you click/tap the Grand Canyon area. You would expect to listen to a sort of wind-like sound, while instead your speakers start playing a song of classical music. A similar experience can be lived in the Honolulu section, where the chosen song is the cover of Over the Rainbow by Israel “Iz” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole. In this case the choice of using a background music more than simple sounds increases the emotional side of the view seen in the browser.
Do you want to have more fun? Choose the Las Vegas option, where you can navigate the Boulevard listening to the great voice of Elvis singing Viva Last Vegas in 1964.
Currently in its testing phase (you can explore only 14 places in the world), Jumper could become a new way of experiencing spaces on the Internet, especially if its creator is going to expand the project with some extra functions, such as the option for each user to insert autonomously the kind of soundscape to add to the location in Google Street View. In this case a song would be more effective than simple sound effects. Thus the project could evolve to an online platform where people can create and exchange their own sonic representation of a physical location.
Comfortably from your house you may experience New Year’s celebrations in Sidney, Shangai, New York and Sao Paulo. A concrete step for the fantasy of many people, that for thousands of reasons are not able to travel or more simply they can’t keep with them great memories.