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Unmuting the web with Google Chrome

April 1st, 2010

We’ve long felt that not enough people know what a browser is. Too many people just use the browser that comes with their computer. The time has come for browsers to speak up and be heard. Even though we’ve experimented with visual improvements in the way of 3D stereoscopy, we think it’s time for browsers to push the boundaries of what’s possible by using sound to create a magical, immersive experience.

Taking an earful of inspiration from the HTML5 audio tag, we’ve spent the past few months deep in psychoacoustic models, the Whittaker-Nyquist-Kotelnikov-Shannon sampling theorem, Franssen effects, Shepard-Risset Tones, and 11.1 surround sound research to build a cutting-edge audio-driven user interface for our users, available through a new Chrome extension. With this extension, Chrome will provide audio feedback as you browse to web pages and interact with the browser.

To experience the web with auditory feedback, download Google Chrome (if you haven’t already), install the extension, turn up the volume, and enjoy the biggest increase in your browsing productivity since the blink tag. Mundane operations like opening and closing tabs, searching, navigating, even debugging the browser and much more will never be the same.

Now that we’ve nailed sight and sound, we’ll look at bringing olfactory magic to the browsing experience. We hope to deliver that by next year at this time.

Posted by Kay, Rakowski, and Chan from the Psychoacoustics Research Division of the Google Chrome Team