Star Wars Gmail and Maps? Why Google wants to awaken your inner Jedi

Google has teamed up with Lucasfilm and Disney to deliver a Star Wars theme to several apps for the next few months.

Time to feel the force with Google apps? Image: Google

Ahead of the latest sequel to Star Wars, Google has launched a new tool to help fans "awaken the force within" by skinning Google apps with either a dark side or light side themes.

Star Wars fans at Google have teamed up Lucasfilm and Disney to bring the tool to fans ahead of the upcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens in cinemas on December 18.

The tool allows users to choose to add "the light side" or "the dark side", which will then add a Star Wars theme reflecting that choice on Gmail or, for example, display a TIE fighter as the vehicle in directions on Google Maps.

Alternatively, hover the mouse arrow over volume in YouTube and you'll hear the electric swish of a light sabre firing up.

Google has developed themes and other Star Wars goodies for YouTube, Chrome, Chromecast, Google Translate, Inbox, Waze and Android Wear.

Read this

Behind the scenes of how Google brought Street View to the Pyramids

Google is turning to locals to help build out Street View imagery as it takes its mapping services to pastures new.

Read More

Not surprisingly, Google has a few Stars Wars fans working at the company and they've been cooking up ideas ever since the new episode was confirmed, according to Google product management VP Clay Bavor.

"So when we first heard about Episode VII, we started thinking about what a Google tribute to these epic stories might look like: 'Wouldn't it be cool if there was some sort of Star Wars thingy in Search? The Millennium Falcon in Cardboard would be sweet. What if Google Translate could decipher galactic languages?'... and on, and on, and on," he said.

"As this list of ideas grew, so too did the band of passionate engineers and product folks who wanted to build them.

Choosing either side will automatically add Star Wars events to Google Calendar, while Google Translate is likely to be tweaked to support languages from different galaxies

Google notes in an FAQ that it may take a few hours for the force to awaken within all apps. The Star Wars experience will work across all devices, including Android phones and tablets, iOS devices, Macs and Windows systems, and Chromebooks.

If users want to revert to the normal experience, they can switch back. Google will end the Star Wars themed experience on February 1, 2016.

In the meantime, fans should keep an eye out for few more surprises between now and the opening night, including "the Millennium Falcon in all its (virtual reality) glory" using Google's Cardboard VR headset.

Read more about Google and Star Wars