Google has released an experimental Chrome extension, Google Tone, which allows you to broadcast URL of the current tab to any machine using only sound. Using the extension is very simple. After installation, open a website, ensure volume is on, click on the Tone button in the browser bar. You can hear a short sequence of beeps your PC emits to the devices in the proximity. Receivers will get a clickable notification that directs them to the URL sent.
“Tone behaves like speech in interesting ways. The orientation of laptops relative to each other, the acoustic characteristics of the space, the particular speaker volume and mic sensitivity, and even where you're standing will all affect Tone's reliability. 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. Many groups at Google have found that the tradeoffs between ease and reliability worthwhile—it is our hope that small teams, students in classrooms, and families with multiple computers will too,” explains Google in a detailed post.
Google reveals it had built the first version in “an afternoon for fun” but later found itself extensively using the feature to share documents and exchange files back and forth. According to Google, the extension uses an easy-to-understand broadcast mechanism that is very similar to the human voice as it does not slip though walls like usual radios. “Sometimes in the course of exploring new ideas, we'll stumble upon a technology application that gets us excited. Tone is a perfect example: it's a Chrome extension that broadcasts the URL of the current tab to any machine within earshot that also has the extension installed. Tone is an experiment that we’ve enjoyed and found useful, and we think you may as well,” added Google. You can learn more about the Google Tone Chrome Extension here. Download the Tone extension for Chrome from here.
Google's new Tone extension is definitely an interesting feature. It appears to help speed up communication in a small office set up or meetings. However, Google hasn't detailed much about the possible security or privacy that may surround the new Chrome extension. It is highly likely the new feature may see more usage in a private set up than a public place. Meanwhile, if you are looking for some good extensions, check out our list of 11 most useful Chrome extensions you should install