Google+ Might Be Actually the Best Way To Watch the Oscars

If you can’t be there for the real red carpet, consider checking out Google+

Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

Remember when we said that Google+ was dead? The dead can rise apparently. The folks over at Mountain View have been hard at working convincing the public that its late-to-the-game Facebook challenger wasn’t a complete flop. Initially, Plus enjoyed a high rate of early adoption, but later, it struggled to sustain its growth and popularity with more users. Between high-profile live Fireside Hangouts with President Obama and today’s Hangout with the International Space Station, though, Google seems to be slowly but surely finding its footing. Next stop: Hollywood. In a partnership with the Academy Awards, Google’s inviting us all to indulge in their applications and services to enhance our Oscar experience this year. That might sound like a gimmick. It is. But here’s the surprising thing: We like it. We really like it. The goal: a destination hub for viewers to engage with both the awards and one another. You can check it out here. The Google team has designed a Zeitgeist-style “Year in Film With Google” and a special interactive Google Map documenting where nominated pictures were filmed and where their actors are from. To top things off, Google Maps will give viewers a 3D look into the Dolby Theatre itself using a series of high-def panoramic photos. Altogether, the collaboration aims to give users an immersive experience to build up a drumbeat leading up to Oscar night. Google has tried to capitalize on Oscar season before, with data-dense posts on its official blog with information culled from its Google Trends tool. But this year’s tie-in with the awards though are more in line with the company’s flashier, data-driven, interactive modules, like the portal it developed for the 2012 election and subsequent inauguration. So far the general public isn’t buzzing about Google’s tools. Come Oscar night, though, I’ll be using it. Google’s search-based projections for best picture line up quite nicely with the pool we have running here at Slate, but Hugh Jackman for best actor? Really?