Audio on the web has been fairly primitive up to this point and until very recently has had to be delivered through plugins such as Flash and QuickTime. The introduction of the audio element in HTML5 is very important, allowing for basic streaming audio playback. But, it is not powerful enough to handle more complex audio applications. For sophisticated web-based games or interactive applications, another solution is required. It is a goal of this specification to include the capabilities found in modern game audio engines as well as some of the mixing, processing, and filtering tasks that are found in modern desktop audio production applications.
The Web Audio API specification, which is a proposal for a standard being discussed in the W3C's Audio Working Group includes a set of example applications, including multi-player games like Quake, musical examples and more.
It's great to see this support in Google Chrome as it can help us continue the move away from proprietary browser plugins to more standards-based solutions - and through that to a more open Internet. Kudos to the Google team for rolling out the support - I'm looking forward to seeing what people build with it!
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