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Chrome experiments: A foundation for future browser apps

While Google's Chrome may not own as much market share as IE the Chrome Experiments site shows a far more exciting future

By , Network World
November 08, 2012 01:44 PM ET
Gibbs

Network World - The battle for dominance between the major browsers continues on desktop, pad, and mobile platforms and, according to [Net Applications' Net Market Share, as of October all versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer combined had just over 54% of the desktop market having gained about 2.2% since December, 2011. Firefox, over the same period, lost 1.84% (currently at just under 20%) while the other big contender, Google's Chrome, currently stands at just less than 19% having lost 0.56% in the same 10-month period.

Of course, analyses by other market watchers differ: For example, SitePoint puts the October figures at 40.18% for IE, 26.39% for Firefox, and 25.05% for Chrome.

While these results may vary what they all appear to indicate is that the way the market is roughly divided up is, at least for now, reasonably stable. SitePoint contends "We have reached a point of web stability. IE10, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera are all capable browsers; there is little to choose between them."

Hmm, I'm not sure I agree with the idea that there is little difference between the browsers. Microsoft's dominance in the browser market is arguably due to its installed base via OS sales as well as the combination of consumer and enterprise familiarity having bred content and not, I would suggest, on much else.

In fact, when it comes to creativity and new ideas about what can be done with browsers that one that has my attention is Google's Chrome.

In fact, if you've not visited Chrome Experiments for while (or ever) you absolutely should do so; you'll find some amazing stuff there. Google explains:

"Chrome Experiments is a showcase for creative web experiments, the vast majority of which are built with the latest open technologies, including HTML5, Canvas, SVG, and WebGL. All of them were made and submitted by talented artists and programmers from around the world."

What is really valuable about these experiments is that they provide some novel and creative ways to do stuff. Consider "Plink by DinahMoe". This deceptively simple browser app uses the W3C's Web Audio API  and NODE.js to create a multi-user music generating environment.

Plink from Google's Chrome Experiments

The Web Audio API is "a high-level JavaScript API for processing and synthesizing audio in web applications." For a more detailed explanation see the API's Introduction section. You can also try out the Web Audio API Demos which should work in Chrome on OS X, Windows, and Linux as well as Apple's Safari 6 in OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6.

While basic audio file playback and control are supported, the Web Audio API also has a huge range of sophisticated capabilities such as "Convolution Effects" which is "is the imposition of a spectral or rhythmic structure on a sound" (for example, taking an audio sample and adding echo or reversing the playback are forms of convolution).

While the audio stuff in the Plink experiment is cool all of you networking types will most likely be far more intrigued by the use of NODE.js "a platform built on Chrome's JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications."

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