Google takes aim at digital storytelling with spotlight stories

During last week’s Google I/O conference in San Francisco, Google debuted, “Duet,” the latest in a series of interactive short films for mobile devices known as Spotlight Stories. Spotlight Stories are part of Google’s Advanced Technology Projects (ATP), and aim to “blend world-class artistry with innovative rendering and interaction technology for mobile to create a new canvas for the next generation of storytelling,” according to

The latest offering, “Duet,” was created by famed and former Disney animator and director Glen Keane, best known for his work on classic Disney characters such as Ariel, Aladdin and Pocahontas. “Duet” is an interactive story that tells the a tale of Mia and Tosh and, “how their individual paths in life weave together to create and inspired duet,” writes The interactivity of the story allows the viewer to follow the journey of either character from birth to adulthood.

What makes “Duet” unique in terms of the Spotlight Stories, however, is that, according to, it’s the first “traditionally animated, hand-drawn” in the series. It was made with 10,555 drawings, which was about 13.5 GB of data, but Google’s ATP team was able to compress that down into a sleek 150 MBs reports You can watch “Duet” below:

“Duet” will be released later this year, and it’s the third story to be release as part of Spotlight Stories. The first in the Spotlight Stories series was, “Windy Day,” which appeared on Motorola Moto X phones in October of 2013. “Windy Day” was made by ex-Pixar moviemakers, and according to, “depicts a mouse chased by a hat around a forest you can look around.” Viewers of “Windy Day” are able to rotate their body and phone, which will then rotate the scene within the animation.

The idea is to create, “an immersive experience similar to the self-directed cut scenes you can look around in that appear in some first-person shooter games like Call of Duty,” writes And maybe the best thing about Spotlight Stories is that they aren’t violent first-person shooters. These are unique and finely crafted stories in which the user has completely control of by simply manipulating their smart phone. It’s again incredible to see how much interactivity is gaining ground in digital storytelling. The video that follows shows Motorola users viewing and interacting with “Windy Day.”:


Beck, J. (2014). Glen keane debuts “duet” at google I/O conference. Retrieved, 2014, Retrieved from

Constine, J. (2014). Google/Motorola’s new moonshot “Spotlight stories” is A mobile virtual reality movie medium. Retrieved, 2014, Retrieved from

Gannes, L. (2014). Google brings the “Epic shit”: 3-D scanning, modular phones and digital storytelling. Retrieved, 2014, Retrieved from

Watch glen Keane’s latest animated short film “Duet”. (2014). Retrieved, 2014, Retrieved from

4 thoughts on “Google takes aim at digital storytelling with spotlight stories

  1. Wow. This is so cooool! Google is always making some impressive progresses in digital media industry. Duet provides us more imagination for future storytellers like us to deliver our story in a brand new way.


  2. Looking forward to see full movie of Duet and want to see if there will be any special technique just like in Windy day story.

    Google is now producing a lot of interesting content with new features that really create WOW! to consumers. It’s become more powerful as one of digital media brands.


  3. This is just incredibly mesmerizing. Such talent!

    Glad Google decided to make this, and I am curious how they can incorporate it with their other products especially Cardboard. I have read comments abut how Windy day that is mentioned in the blog post can also be used with their Virtual Reality Terminal. Sounds like a pretty cool experience.


  4. Pingback: Is interactive fiction the next big trend in digital storytelling? | Loyola Digital Advertising

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