Want to share a link to a website with someone? You could copy and paste it into an email or chat window. Or you could use the new Google Tone extension for the Chrome web browser to share the link with any PC within earshot.

That’s because Google Tone shares links… with sound.

google tone

Here’s how it works: when Google Tone is active, it uses your computer’s microphone and speakers. Want to share a link? The browser extension converts the web address into a tone that it can play over your speakers. When a nearby PC (with the Google Tone extension enabled) hears that audio, it can open the website.

This isn’t the first time Google has used audio as a way to transmit data. When the company added support for guest mode to its Chromecast media streamer last year, the company came up with an interesting way for people to pair their phones with a Chromecast without entering a WiFi password. The Chromecast uses your TV speakers to emit a high-pitched sound which it sends to a phone running the Chromecast app.

When you’re using Chromecast’s guest function though, there’s a good chance you won’t hear the high-pitched sound unless you have stellar hearing. Google Tone, on the other hand, will emit a loud series of beeps. It’s not the most discrete way to share a website.

Google says Google Tone might not work in noisy environments or places with poor internet connections. And it won’t work if the computers are too far apart. Note that Google will also temporarily store the URL you’re sharing on its servers, so if you’re not keen on sharing any more data with Google than necessary, you might want to just share links the old fashioned way: by writing them down on a scrap of paper… or sending them via Snapchat or something.

Google’s calling the Google Tone extension an experimental Chrome extension, and the first version was “built in an afternoon for fun,” so while it’s been spruced up a bit since then, it doesn’t sound like the company really cares if you use the tool or not. But it’s an interesting application of audio technology… it not necessarily a useful one.

via 9to5Google 

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9 replies on “Google Tone: Share web links with other PCs… using sound”

  1. At first glance it sounds (hehe, get it?) quite odd, but the concept actually makes quite a bit of sense. It’s an easy way to transfer small chunks of data (such as URLs) quickly with no extra wireless connecting hassles.

  2. Google Bookmarks and Google Reader are gone because they don’t make the company any money but someone has time to develop this crap? Got it.

    1. Hehe, alienating users only last that long. One day they’ll regret.

  3. Yep, first thing I do is disable my microphone and camera to stop evil Google from spying on me. So the Google Tone thing isn’t going to happen here.

  4. I can’t believe people really want electronic devices listening to them through large corporations (if at all). I’m not a huge privacy advocate, but that does bother me.

    1. Nothing new for Google… European Agencies have sued Google over Privacy Policy (still ongoing with forget me rights, etc), and back in 2012 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated Google for illegally collecting personal data such as passwords, emails and other online activities from unsecured Wi-Fi networks in homes and businesses across the United States and around the rest of the world… Google claimed the data was accidentally picked up by their Street View cars while driving the world’s streets.

      Among many other times they’ve been caught collecting just a little too much information about its users… showing a clear pattern…

      Google’s business model puts them in that position in order to make the most revenue from ads, shopping patterns, etc.

      A lot of people just don’t realize that their so called free software and services have a hidden cost, along with a lot of types of software and services that only work when sharing user data and people often over share without realizing the potential consequences but there are basically multiple ways everyone gets spied on in one form or another… It’s actually very hard to have any real privacy these days…

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