Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Google Tone allows you to share Chrome URLs using sound

There are countless ways for people to share a URL between two computers, but now Google decided to old-school and created Google Tone: a Chrome extension that allows you to share URLs using... sound.

There are so many ways for you to share a URL with someone that most likely you'll spend more time trying to agree on a single way than actual sharing what you wanted to share. With Google Tone for Chrome you can let your computer simply "beep away" the URL, and have other computers listen to it. Wait... but, how can this be "old school"? Isn't this an innovation?

Well, actually it isn't. If you're young enough, you probably never had to endure sonic data transmission, but just ask anyone a (little?) bit older. Anyone, as in: someone that has spent countless hours listening to ZX Spectrum tapes loading to the point of recognizing which games were which just by its sound; or someone that endured the initial handshaking "song" of modems over the phone line as they tried to synchronize at the maximum possible speed.

This Google Tone does something similar, by using sound to transmit digital data. When you want to share a page you need only to click on the "broadcast this url" button, and your computer will beep away the URL. Others computers nearby (using the same extension) will be able to listen to it and convert it back to its original form.

If this takes off, one can imagine songs, movies, and radio ads to start including some "beeps" in it, in order to direct us to specific websites - though it can also end up being annoying to the point people will simply stop using it. For now, if you wish to know more Google shares how Google Tone was created, and even how they made sure its beeps were "tuned" to be enjoyable for human ears.

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