Google JAM with Chrome uses Keyboard Cat to demo browser power

Nov 8, 2012
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Google has launched JAM with Chrome, a new interactive web app intended to further demonstrate why the future of computing is inside the browser, and calling on Keyboard Cat to help demo it. The new toy relies on various HTML5 features to allow four players in different locations to jam together on the same track, choosing from 19 different instruments including drums, electric and acoustic guitars, and synths.

There are two modes for play, with "easy" being - unsurprisingly - the simplest to get started. Set by default, it supports autoplay or users can click on the various strings, drum pads, and other instrument controls for manual play. A "pro" mode, however, turns the keyboard into a controller.

Under the hood its a cavalcade of fancy web tech, including the Web Audio API, Websockets, Canvas, and CSS3.  It all runs on Google's App Engine, dynamically scaling the more bands join in, and while the graphics may look relatively simplistic, Google is actually using the Canvas graphics engine to accurately model things like how individual strings vibrate in response to band harmonics and how they're strummed.

For Google, of course, it's an opportunity to demonstrate how native apps aren't necessarily required for complex functionality, something the company is counting on for adoption of its Chrome OS. Although off to a slow start, Chromebooks like the Samsung Series 3 we reviewed recently are now impressively capable, even if you don't have a persistent internet connection.

You can try out JAM with Chrome by heading over to jamwithchrome.com, or alternatively you can watch cartoons of Keyboard Cat and a ram-version of Skrillex getting more than a little excited with some friends in the video below.


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