Google Chrome 21 beta interacts with cameras, mics, and controllers

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Google’s latest beta edition of the Chromium browser has some features that definitely herald the next-generation in Web browsing.  Imagine a browser that intuitively can synch with your camera, microphone, or game controller, allowing apps and games direct access to these without added plugins?

That’s what Chrome 21 beta can do.  Two new application protocol interfaces (APIs) allow apps to ask for permission to use your accessories directly, no plugin needed.

Using Gamepad Javascript, for example, a game could let you play with your game controller without needing any added plugins.  Of course, games like Mafia Wars or Farmville aren’t going to see much use of this, but online shooters and the latest-generation of massive multiplayers could benefit greatly.  Especially given the trend in MMOs towards seamless play, allowing gamers to play the same game and characters on multiple devices.

The other API is called getUserMedia, which accesses WebRTC in HTML5, a real-time communications protocol.  This lets the browser (and anything running within it, such as a website or app) to access your camera and microphone to do all kinds of things.

An app could, for instance, allow seamless and real-time manipulation of photos/images/video from your Web cam to apply filters, effects, and so on.  This would take many podcast videos to new levels and make for some interesting app options in photo sharing.

That’s just the beginning.

As our demonstration graphic implies, apps could (and already are, within Chrome beta) interact with the camera to provide motion recognition ala the Kinect.  This would let you do things like play the xylophone on-screen, create macros to add graphics or effects according to gestures, etc.

Lots of possibilities with this new age of browsing!