Jamming with Chrome: Google's musical experiment

If you’ve got Google’s Chrome browser and you’re feeling a bit musical, you can now jam out with your friends using little more than your mouse.

The Web search giant on Thursday launched “Jam With Chrome,” an experimental Web app that allows Chrome users to play virtual instruments with up to three other people. Users can pick from some 19 instruments, including full drum sets, acoustic and electric guitars, synthesizers and even drum machines. With a mouse or trackpad, users can click to beat the drums to or drag down to strum the strings of a guitar.

Although the graphics are fairly simple, the app is rather sophisticated. Users can adjust the tempo and the key they are playing in and choose from several autoplay options. And they can invite friends to play with them via email, Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

The app is one of a growing number of what the company calls “Chrome Experiments.” These are Web apps developed by the company or outside programmers that explore the possibilities of what can be done with JavaScript and HTML5, the coding languages that underly the modern Web. Previous experiments include “Storm Tracks WebGL,” which plots the path of hurricanes and other storms on a 3D representation of the Earth, and “Toaster,” in which users can toast some bread in a virtual appliance and send it flying.

Note, though, that you’ll have to use Chrome to be able to use at least some of these apps. Although Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox have strong support for HTML5, they were not able to load the “Jam with Chrome” app.

Troy Wolverton Troy Wolverton (226 Posts)

Troy writes the Tech Files column as the Personal Technology Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. He also covers the digital media, mobile and video game industries and writes occasionally about Apple, chips, social networking and other aspects of technology. Previously, Troy covered Apple and the consumer electronics industry. Prior to joining the Mercury News, Troy reported on technology, business and financial issues for TheStreet.com and CNET News.com.