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February 11, 2016

MediaRecorder Makes Recording Debut for Chrome and Firefox

MediaRecorder is the most starred feature in the history of Chrome, current reports note. With interest going as far back as 2012, and 2,877 people starring the issue to implement the tool, the move to make it a part of both Chrome and Firefox is a perfectly rational move in the end. Now users can get access to that easy recording of both video and audio from a Web app with MediaRecorder.

The possibilities for such a tool are fairly extensive; out on Google Developers, a variety of use cases were suggested, and several others are likely to follow as more people get a look at this tool and what it can do. For instance, some envision a recorder for ski runs that can synchronize video and GeoLocation data to produce a richer experience, or an easy voice memo app, all that can be run from a Web browser without the need for plugins.

Regardless of what it's actually used for, it's currently available for Firefox and Chrome users in both Android and desktop flavors, so users will be able to put it into action directly. Using it in either Chrome 47 or 48 requires the activation of “experimental Web Platform features” found in the chrome://flags page, and those interested in audio recording will need either Firefox or Chrome 49. Chromes 47 and 48 will only handle video. Further, those using Chrome on Android can save and download recordings, but recordings in a video element made with window.url.createObjectURL ( ) can't be viewed yet. It's a bug that's already known, and is likely being fixed.

Perhaps most interestingly, Google Developers notes that “the ability to record audio and video without plugins is relatively new to web apps”, so feedback is encouraged for both the application programming interfaces (APIs) and the uses that are most important to the user base so future development priorities can be established.

While it might be easy to dismiss this sort of thing as having already been done, it really hasn't been done as a Web app, accessible from a browser. That can give it some extra versatility, as dedicated apps for this sort of thing require download for use. That may not go over well in some information technology (IT) schemes, and some devices may not do so well with a dedicated app. A Web app accessible from a browser, meanwhile, works well with the devices that are sufficiently equipped to run the browser, and that makes use cases a little more flexible overall.

Flexibility is one of the biggest cases for Web apps, and MediaRecorder demonstrates this first-hand. As the field grows, so too will the use cases, and Web-based tools might ultimately prove an even bigger market than dedicated app stores.  

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