Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Computers Can Talk Too: Google Launches Tone Extension for Chrome

Google developed an experimental audio-based extension for Chrome that can share any URL with other computers using sound. The new add-on is called Tone, and it allows you to share information from one computer to another within hearing range. The extension uses the computer’s microphone and speakers to swiftly and practically exchange URLs. It is possible to share any content from web pages: texts, pictures, documents, blog posts, products, YouTube videos, search results and such. When a certain page is selected for sharing, you simply click on the little Google Tone icon on your browser and a short series of beeping sounds will be heard and nearby machines will receive a clickable notification that will open the same tab.

It is necessary to be logged into a Google account when sending files for your profile details will be displayed in the Google Tone notification.


According to developers, the idea was to create a simple broadcasting mechanism that rested on the basics of the human voice. Google’s Interaction Researcher Alex Kauffmann and Software Engineer Boris Smus wrote on the company’s research blog that in the new age of digital information sharing emails or chats across the globe is simple but it’s somewhat complicated to share information between people standing near each other. For that purpose, they developed Google Tone to makesharing as simple as talking to people.

Google Tone is still in the stages of development so it is not completely flawless and there is room for improvement. Its main characteristic is to emulate the principles of the human voice and many factors can affect sharing such as room acoustics, microphone sensitivity, and speaker volume so not every machine will always pick up the broadcast, similar to the flaws of a real conversation.

For now this application is suitable for students in classrooms, small teams, and families with multiple computers, but it can evolve into more of a cloud-based sharing service. They’ve also confirmed that it works over Hangouts too.

Computers Can Talk Too: Google Launches Tone Extension for Chrome

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