Browser plugins have had a huge say in our Web browsing experience over the past many years but now their existence and prevalence is what’s preventing us from experiencing the Web in the best way possible across our many Internet-enabled devices. The good news is that not only are plugins dispensable but they are on their way out. However, don’t expect them to vanish overnight. As opposed to a sudden and spectacular knockout punch, they are more likely to fall to a succession of small blows like the one Google just delivered in the form of the latest Chrome Beta.
The latest Chrome Beta features two new technologies that have been on the cards for quite some time now. First up is the getUserMedia API, which lets web apps access a user’s webcam and microphone without any plugin. Support for the getUserMedia API, according to Google software engineer Robert Toscano, is the first major step on the road to WebRTC, an open source standard aimed at enabling real-time communications within the browser sans any plugin.
In a blog post on the official Google Chrome blog, Toscano shared a number of cool apps that leverage this technology: “The getUserMedia API also allows sites to create cool new experiences that weren’t previously possible in the browser. For example, Romuald Quantin and Magnus Dahlstrand at Stinkdigital have created a Magic Xylophone that you can play just by waving your hands in front of the camera.”
“Paul Neave has also made a beautiful photo booth app called Webcam Toy. It has dozens of crazy effects to explore--my favorites are 'Snow' and 'Fire.' Check out the Chromium blog to learn more about getUserMedia and follow WebRTC on Google+ for new discussions and demos.”