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Google Tone: Chrome extension lets you send links by sound

Published 20/05/2015

The tool is a response to the fact that sharing things with people who are sat next to you has actually got harder as technology has developed, Google said
The tool is a response to the fact that sharing things with people who are sat next to you has actually got harder as technology has developed, Google said

Google has developed a new technology that lets Chrome users send links to people by playing sounds.

Google Tone lets one computer send out a specific noise, which can then be picked up through other computers and turned into a link.

The technology uses just a computer's speakers and microphone. Users download the Chrome extension and then click the button that's added to the top right hand corner when they want to share something, and then if computers around them hear it they will see a clickable notification that will take them to the link.

Google said that the project began as a bit of fun, but that it became increasingly useful as a way of broadcasting links in meetings and share information. Because the sound isn't really audible, people can share during conversations without interrupting anyone.

The team now hope that it can be used in small team meetings, between students and for sending information within families that have multiple computers. The technology can even be used over Google Hangouts, since the sound is broadcasted over the video chat.

"As digital devices have multiplied, so has the complexity of coordinating them and moving stuff between them," wrote interaction researcher Alex Kauffmann and software engineer Boris Smus in their blogpost announcing 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.

"Tone aims to make sharing digital things with nearby people as easy as talking to them."

Google says that the feature behaves like speech, in that computers can hear it more or less well depending on the characteristics of the room, the technology in the laptop, and other things.

Source: Independent

Independent News Service

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