If you have ever watched any of the Star Wars movies (particularly the first one – Star Wars IV : A New Hope) then you would have noticed how that droid R2D2 communicates with others through audible tones. Google has not created the whole R2D2 yet, but they have successfully created Google Tone – a chrome extension that is able to transmit links to neighboring computers via audible tones – much alike the R2D2 of Star Wars. Google Tone makes use of the decades old DTMF tones (the tones you hear when you dial a phone number) to encode the information being sent.
Although Google says that it is just an experimental extension, yet it can prove to be highly productive in those office meetings when you want all the members to open the same webpage or download the same documents. If you are a teacher in school or college, then you can make all your students open the same link in seconds without any typing of links or explaining them how to open these links. Instead of complicated technologies like Bluetooth, you can just use Google Tone to send and receive the links across multiple computers.
All computers that are equipped with speakers and a microphone can participate in this link sharing adventure. But they all must have Chrome browser (as well as the Google Tone extension) installed. They all must have Chrome browser open at the time of link sharing. Then all you have to do is open a web page and then click on the blue colored Google Tone speaker icon in the Chrome. You will hear some audible beeps and then the icon will turn green for a second. Now all the neighboring computers should have the same web page open in a new tab.
In the settings, as can be expected from an experimental extension, there are not many options just a switch to toggle on or off the Google Tone. But you can do the same by right-clicking on the Google Tone icon and choosing Disable Tone. It is a good idea to disable it if you do not want others to send you links anymore.
Google Tone depends on speakers and microphone. If any of these are not working, it may fail to work. To prevent such problems, Google Tone checks for the presence of microphone or speakers by trying to hear back the transmitted audible beeps. If it fails to listen to the audible beeps, then either the microphone is not working or the speakers are set at a low volume. Google Tone continues to suggest possible fixes until you take care of the issue.
Verdict: Google Tone uses very basic technology and yet it is bewildering to see it work. These things used to happen only in Star Wars movies. If you want all your students, colleagues or team members on the same web page or open the same documents, then nothing can be easier than Google Tone.
You can get Google Tone from http://g.co/tone.