Google Tone for Chrome
Usually when we want to share an interesting web page with friends or family, we simply copy the link and email it to them. If we’re surfing on a cell phone, we might choose to share the page via Messaging apps, Bluetooth or NFC too. Of course, all these methods take time and are sometimes not worth the hassle, so many of us forego sharing altogether.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply share the link by saying it out loud and having it magically appear on a friend’s screen? Apparently, Google has created a new Chrome extension called Tone that will do just that!
What is Google Tone?
Google Tone is an experimental extension that uses your computer’s speaker to emit a series of sounds. This sound is picked up by other PCs (provided that they have a microphone and the Tone extension installed) and then interpreted into a link.
Google Tone will let you share links with any device within an earshot. All you need are the devices with working microphones and the Google Chrome browser open with the Google Tone extension installed.
When a link reaches a device, the user receives a notification that carries the name of the sender and info about the link. If the user clicks on it, a new tab page opens and the user is directed to the shared web page. Sounds simple, right?
Google Tone will also work over long distances, as long as the sound it emits is discernible. If you’re talking to someone on Skype or on the phone, for example, you should be able to use Google Tone to share links with them.
Google Tone Limitations
Google Tone has certain limitations you should be aware of, if you’re planning to get the extension. Because it works via sound, all the rules that apply to sound apply to it too. If you’re in a place where sound can’t reach, Tone won’t work. For example, you won’t be able to use Tone to share a link with a friend on the other side of a thick wall or if you’re stuck in noisy traffic. You may also have trouble using Tone to share link with devices with poor microphones.
The developers of Tone are aware of this problem. The first version of Tone they made was the most efficient, but hard on the ears. They then tried to make Tone emit sound beyond the frequency that a human ear could pick up, but as laptops don’t have sensitive microphones, they had to shelve that version.
The newest version of Tone uses the dual-tone multifrequency signaling system that your telephone uses (the beeps that you transmit when you press the keypad are signals that direct the call to a number). So Tone now emits a series of loud beeps when you hit the “Tone” button on the extension.
If devices are having trouble picking out the Tone, the developers recommend that you increase the volume on your device to as high as it can go. Because sharing links is easy (you just have to press the “Tone” button), you can keep doing it until the receiving device picks it up.
This technology is similar to the technology Google uses for their Chromecast TV device. Chromecast uses sound too to communicate with your smartphone, but that sound isn’t audible to human ears.
Installing and Using Google Tone
Google Tone is simple to install and use. You can download Google Tone by navigating to the Chrome web store and clicking on the “Add to Chrome” button. Once the extension is installed, you should see it appear on your browser’s status bar, next to the settings icon. The icon for Google Tone looks like a blue megaphone – it’s easy to spot.
Sharing web pages is easy too. Just navigate to the page you want to share and then click on the blue megaphone. Your speaker will emit a series of beeps. That’s it, you’re done!
Obviously, Google Tone isn’t the most secure way in the world to share links, as the sound is broadcast out loud. However, if you’re in a meeting and want all your colleagues to be on the same page (literally) Google Tone should come in very handy.
It’s fast and efficient, and doesn’t involve you having to send out multiple emails every time you need to share a web page.
Further Reading: Top 10 Chrome Extensions That Add Exciting New Features to YouTube