Thursday, May 21, 2015

DO use that tone with me!

Google has released an interesting Chrome extension called Tone – it uses sound to transmit URLs to one or more PCs in the vicinity. 

You need to install the Tone Chrome Extension on both computers. Using it is simple – in Chrome on the sending computer, go to the URL you want to transmit and click on the Tone icon (a little blue bull-horn). The sending computer emits a short stream of DTMF sounds (touch-tones) and the receiving computer gets a pop-up asking if you want to open the URL. The sound on the sending computer can be quite quiet – it seemed to work reliably in my office using 25% volume. Originally, they tried it with ultrasonic signals, but found some reliability problems with speakers/microphones.

I tried it between a Chromebook and a Mac and it worked fine (it doesn’t work on the version of Chrome for iPads/iPhones.) Here’s a quick video of the process:

It’s quicker than IM or Emailing the link and apparently it can also work over video conference or video chat as well. It’s like a QR code – only using sound. (It's just a bit too quiet in the video above to be used.)

If it catches on it could be a quick and easy way to share URL’s in meetings or collaboration sessions. It works like someone reading the URL to you and you typing it in - only faster. (Just make sure you trust the person that's sending you the URL...)

This is an experimental extension and may have bugs, but it seems pretty reliable so far.

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