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Google Introduces Tone, URL Sharing Via Audio Clips

May 19, 2015 - Written By Phil Bourget

Google is great at helping users not only find useful things on the Internet, but also for providing sharing options for the various things we find online.  QR codes have been around a while, and they work fine for phones and tablets with cameras, but what about that webcam on the top of your computer?  That can’t really work so well, can it?  But see next to it, that microphone?  That microphone and the speakers on your computer are the new means of sharing a URL to any number of similarly-equipped computers around you.  This is where Google introduced a new Chrome extension called Google Tone.

Google Tone is a simple tool that taps into your computer, laptop or desktop, and utilizes the speakers to emit a tone, hence the name, that, if heard by another computer with Tone installed and Chrome open, the other user or users get a pop-up notification offering to open the URL that was just broadcasted.  From there, if the notification is used to open the webpage, then that’s it, and if it’s ignored, like your friend trying to Rick-Roll you in the library, then that’s also the end of the interaction. Google’s Research Team shared the original reason for the little bit of code’s existence, and it’s rather interesting.  Just as it’s annoying to have to email or share a URL normally, sharing something like a sound clip to get co-workers on the same page digitally and literally seemed like a cool idea.  So the team developed the Tone extension to share URLs easily and conveniently across any platform that could run Chrome and install the extension.

And yes, that exception of being able to install the extension is perhaps the only way that this is a limited or not fully-realized tool.  Perhaps, if this extension gets enough feedback and cleaning up, Google could implement this into the feature into the Google Search app, to allow users to share links to pages from their phones, or have a separate app, similar to how reverse image searching left the Search app years ago to become Google Goggles.  A Google Tone app, a little thing to send and receive Tones and redirect to the Search app or Chrome, would probably be greatly appreciated, since many people probably wish they could Tone to their phone or tablet when leaving work or the desk, and carry on where they were without needing to dig through your history.  Maybe Google will take that into consideration because it seems like a great continuity-facilitating tool for anyone in the Google ecosystem.

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Google Tone