What if web apps could see? What if they could hear? In today’s Chrome Stable release, when you give them permission, they can.

Chrome now includes the getUserMedia API, which lets you grant web apps access to your camera and microphone without a plug-in. The getUserMedia API is the first step in WebRTC, a new real-time communications standard which aims to allow high-quality video and audio communication on the web.

The getUserMedia API also allows web apps to create awesome new experiences like Webcam Toy and Magic Xylophone. In Chrome Web Lab, if you're on the latest version of Chrome, the Sketchbots experiment uses getUserMedia to let you take a picture of your face, which is then converted to a line drawing and sent to a robot in the Science Museum in London. The robot then draws out your portrait in a patch of sand, which you can watch live on YouTube and visitors can watch in person at the museum. It’s just about as crazy as it sounds, and twice as cool.

Once you've taken your picture, it's transformed into a line drawing a robot can understand using HTML5 canvas.

Your portrait is then drawn by one of the eight Sketchbots in London. You can choose to be sent a video of the whole process.

In addition, today’s Stable channel release includes deeper Google Cloud Print integration, expanded support for gamepads, and support for high-resolution Mac Retina screens. To check it all out, just download Google Chrome.

Inspiration comes in many forms and can influence you in unexpected ways. I can trace my own interest in programming to Babbage’s Analytical Engine, which fascinated me on my childhood visits to the Science Museum in London.

This idea that science and technology can inspire people is one that we hold close to our hearts. It’s also the thought behind a new exhibition we’re launching today online and at the Science Museum in London. We hope to inspire people around the world by showcasing the magic that the Internet makes possible.

Launching in beta, Web Lab is a set of five physical installations housed in the Science Museum in London. You can interact with them in person at the museum, or from anywhere in the world at By opening up the museum experience to the world online, Web Lab doesn’t play by the usual rules—a visitor’s location and museum opening hours no longer matter.

Each of the five experiments—Universal Orchestra, Data Tracer, Sketchbots, Teleporter and Lab Tag Explorer—showcases a modern web technology found in Chrome to explore a particular theme in computer science. For example, the Universal Orchestra experiment uses WebSockets to demonstrate real time collaboration as people from around the world make music together on custom-built robotic instruments housed in the Science Museum.

Please join us online or at the Science Museum in London (entry is free), and let us know what you think. True to its name, the year-long exhibition is a working lab, and we’ll continue to tinker with it based on your feedback.

Here’s to the next wave of Internet invention!

Every day, millions of people around the world are able to see the faces and hear the voices of loved ones thousands of miles away, thanks to online video chat services. These services have revolutionized the way we work, play, and hang out with friends.

In today’s Chrome Beta release, it’s now possible for you to grant web apps access to your camera and microphone right within the browser, without a plug-in. This is thanks to the getUserMedia API, which is the first big step for WebRTC, a new real-time communications standard that aims to allow high-quality video and audio communication on the web.

The getUserMedia API also allows sites to create cool new experiences that weren’t previously possible in the browser. For example, Romuald Quantin and Magnus Dahlstrand at Stinkdigital have created a Magic Xylophone that you can play just by waving your hands in front of the camera.

Paul Neave has also made a beautiful photo booth app called Webcam Toy. It has dozens of crazy effects to explore--my favorites are “Snow” and “Fire.” Check out the Chromium blog to learn more about getUserMedia and follow WebRTC on Google+ for new discussions and demos.

Today’s Beta release also brings a new and improved printing experience for Google Cloud Print. Now your printers in Google Cloud Print are integrated right into Chrome’s print dialog, so you can easily print to your Cloud Ready printer, Google Drive, Chrome on your mobile device, or one of over 1,800 FedEx Offices.

To play with these new toys, just download Chrome Beta.

Since I started working on the Chrome Web Store, all my friends have been asking me which apps to try out. Between checking with colleagues for their suggestions and creating shared lists on Google spreadsheets, I thought there must be an easier way to share my favorite apps with the rest of the world.

Starting today, the Chrome Web Store helps you do just that. You can now share all of your favorite Chrome Web Store items with people in your Google+ circles by finding them in the Chrome Web Store and clicking the +1 button located in their store detail page.

You can also review app, extension and theme recommendations from anyone in your Google+ circles simply by clicking on the “From your circles” link, located in the left category menu in the Chrome Web Store. And for those of you who are relatively new to Google+, we’ve also included suggestions from some of us in the Chrome team.

To make finding the right app even easier, all apps that have been +1’d by someone in your circles will be indicated as such throughout the Chrome Web Store, helping you decide which apps to install.

We hope that this new feature will help you share the best that the store has to offer and discover great new content from your friends. If you don’t have a Google+ account, you can easily sign up; go here to get started.