If you’ve ever been bedeviled by disembodied audio pouring forth from one of your dormant Web browser tabs, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) may finally have the solution for you.
As reported by The Next Web, the Internet search giant may be developing a tagging system to label tabs on its Chrome browser in order to help users visually identify which tabs are playing or recording audio.
While the new audio indicator was first discovered in the latest Chromium build, the feature has already been moved up the ladder to the latest Canary build of Google Chrome, a highly specialized and unstable version of Chrome which Google describes as “the most bleeding-edge official version of Chrome and somewhat of a mix between Chrome dev and the Chromium snapshot builds.”
The feature was discovered by developers digging around in the latest version of Chromium, the open-source counterpart to Google Chrome that provides the search giant’s official browser its source code.
Since Google runs the Chromium project in addition to supporting Chrome as its consumer-friendly proprietary counterpart, Chromium’s open-source ecosystem offers the company fertile grounds for new ideas and browser-based features -- concepts that oftentimes originate in Chromium before being implemented into Chrome as full-fledged features. The “newest of the new Chrome features” are then introduced into Chrome’s Canary build, a sort of experimental beta-version of Chrome. Google describes Canary as being “designed for developers and early adopters” -- in other words, “not for the faint of heart.” While the audio indicator’s presence in Canary doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to end up in Chrome proper, the fact that it’s already progressed from Chromium to Canary in just five days since the Chromium discussion thread about it was first begun makes it a promising candidate.
A short video shows the new noisy tab indicator in action. Essentially, it provides a little flashing icon that overlays the otherwise static logo on the left side of the Chrome tab to alert the user to any audio activity going on in the page.
The Chromium code review page for the audio indicator gives more specific information about the possible new feature, noting that while the current animation shows only a limited amount of frames and doesn’t differentiate among the types of audio activity occurring in a given tab, these features would probably be expanded by the time the indicator goes live on Chrome.
Google on Tuesday also released a beta version of Chrome 26, the latest update to its web browser, for Windows, Mac and Linux.