Web apps can do a lot of things you’d normally expect from native apps. You can watch videos, edit documents, play games, and do a lot of other things in a web browser. And modern browsers are also starting to interact with your device’s operating system and hardware to send you notifications, interact with your webcam, and more.
So what’s next? Bluetooth.
Google Chrome 53 recently launched, and it’s the first version of Google’s web browser with an “Origin Trial for Bluetooth,” which is a fancy way of saying web developers can join a program to test out the features which allow their websites to interact with nearby Bluetooth devices.
Among other things, this could open the door for web apps that can display data from your fitness tracker or smartphone or allow you to control your smart thermostat or light bulbs.
Right now a lot of those Internet of Things-type products need to be connected to the internet before you can do anything with them through a web browser. Eventually you might be able to use a web browser to connect to them directly, no internet middleman required.
So far Web Bluetooth is only supported in Chrome 53 for Chrome OS, Mac OS, and Android 6.0 or later as well as Linux (with some tinkering). Windows support is still in the works.
Another limitation is that Web Bluetooth only works with Bluetooth Low Energy devices, so if you have a bunch of Bluetooth 3 or earlier products, you’re probably out of luck… and not all Bluetooth 4.x devices will work either.
You can learn a lot more about Web Bluetooth in Chrome 53 in an article from Google developer Uri Shaked.
via PC World