TORONTO – Google has launched an experimental extension for its Chrome web browser that allows users to share URLs with other Chrome users using sound – so long as they are within earshot.
The browser tool, dubbed Google Tone, uses sound to transmit the information from one computer to another – eliminating the need for people in the same office to email each other URLs, for example.
In order for Google Tone to work, the extension must be installed on two computers that are within earshot of each other. Both of the computers must have the microphone capability working and have the volume turned up loud enough.
Once the user has the tab they wish to share open, all they have to do is click the “Tone” button.
The computer will emit a short sequence of beeps and within seconds, computers running the Tone extension will receive a notification that will open the same tab.
“As digital devices have multiplied, so has the complexity of coordinating them and moving stuff between them,” read a Google blog post introducing the feature.
“Tone grew out of the idea that while digital communication methods like email and chat have made it infinitely easier, cheaper, and faster to share things with people across the globe, they’ve actually made it more complicated to share things with the people standing right next to you.”
But, the team behind the tool noted that there is still some work to be done on the tool.
“Not every nearby machine will always receive every broadcast, just like not everyone will always hear every word someone says. But resending is painless and debugging generally just requires raising the volume,” read the blog.
Google isn’t the first to come up with an idea like this.
Mobile app Chirp also allows users to send information between smartphones using sound. The app, available for iPhone and Android phones, allows users to send photos, URLs and things like GIFs.