Google is experimenting with a new Chrome extension called Tone that enables users to share web pages with friends and colleagues via sound.
Users who have downloaded the extension can broadcast the tab that they’re browsing to others with a single click, which initiates a sequence of beeps and transmits the URL address onscreen to every other Tone user within earshot.
Though email and messaging have made it easy to transmit links to those located at great distances, “Tone aims to make sharing digital things with nearby people as easy as talking to them,” Google said in a blog post announcing the product.
Because the application depends on sound and aims to behave like speech, transmissions don’t pass through walls, but they do work across short distances and even over Google Hangouts without the need to pair devices ahead of time. “Not every nearby machine will always receive every broadcast,” Google warns, “just like not everyone will always hear every word someone says.”
The search giant notes that Tone was created on a whim one afternoon, and says that even its founding team was surprised by how useful they found the extension. “It is our hope that small teams, students in classrooms, and families with multiple computers will too.”