The latest beta version of Google Chrome adds two new APIs that allow web developers to do a few interesting things. They can write web apps that will use your computer’s mic or camera without a plugin. Apps can also take advantage of video game controllers plugged into your PC.

What that means is we could start to see more web apps that allow for audio and video chat, music creation, or other actions that rely on a mic and camera. You won’t have to install Flash, Java, or another plugin and choose to enable support before making a video call using through a webpage.

Chrome 21 beta

This tool is called the getUserMedia API, and Google says it will help enable WebRTC, a new protocol for real-time communications using web technologies such as HTML5 and Javascript.

The API can also be used with other web technologies to apply effects, so you can rotate a video or apply filters in real-time.

The second API is called Gamepad Javascript, and as you might expect it lets the web browser recognize game controllers. This will let you plug in a USB gamepad to your PC and play web-based video games much the same way you would a native desktop video game.

Google has a list of some new web apps that take advantage of the new APIs.

The new features will be available in the main branch of Google’s web browser once Chrome 21 stable is released. For now you can check them out by installing Chrome 21 beta.

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4 replies on “Google Chrome 21 beta can interact with cameras, mics, and game controllers”

  1. getUserMedia sounds like a function or property name. Strange name for an API

  2. the getUserMedia API is not a Google tool, I believe it is a W3C standard, opera have implemented parts of it in their browser and theirs is in the stable release.

  3. Finally! I can use the multimedia controls on my keyboard for sites like Hulu and Youtube. Maybe use my webcam as a “kinect-like” setup without having to use a mouse… Gesture-based web browsing? Cool (and potentially dangerous).

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