Study Break: Jam with Friends on Chrome
I cannot play a musical instrument. Like most people who can’t seem to commit to learning how to play I’ve owned at least three separate kinds of instruments in my life, one of which has been sitting on a chair some five feet away from me for the past 3 months, completely untouched. One thing I excel at, however, is pressing buttons on my computer keyboard. And with the launch of Google’s new web app, Jam with Chrome, it’s clear that I’m not alone in my desire to rock out from the comfort of my desk chair.
Jam with Chrome is designed to let users play music on an assortment of 19 different instruments, and even collaborate with up to three friends at a time by inviting them to jam along on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. In the default “easy” mode, users can select one of four pre-selected autoplay beats while dragging your cursor across individual strings, keys and beats. On certain instruments, like the hip-hop drum machines, you can even toy with features like stereo delay, bit crusher, and tempo to create a wide array of possible tunes.
And if you’re musically inept, like myself, you can turn on a metronome to help make sure that you’ll stay at least somewhat within a beat. More advanced users, however, can opt to leave the autoplay beats out entirely and may instead simply play their instruments entirely on their keyboard using keys familiar to any PC gamer, making the amount of experimentation almost limitless. It’s also entirely too addictive to play around with. Really, it’s hard to stop.
The webapp itself comes hot-off-the-heels of Chromes latest update, and like the newest iteration of the browser itself, it utilizes cutting edge HTML5 features like Web Audio API, Websockets, Canvas and CSS3, and shows the promise of what an HTML5 internet can mean. With Mozilla and Microsoft investigating new ways of using HTML5 to create games and first-person shooters played entirely in the browser, this fun little web app is likely to be the first of many similar toys coming out in the near future.