Browsers are becoming more complex and more powerful. It's hardly surprising, since the web itself is becoming more complex and more powerful. Web applications today rival native applications of only a few years ago.
And future web applications promise to be even more advanced. Thankfully, browser makers are doing their part. Google for example is building several technologies into Chrome what will make a whole new breed of web apps possible, using only standard web technologies.
Google is working on adding support for gamepads, webcams and microphones into Chrome. Browsers and hardware haven't really mixed before.
But with applications such as 3D games or video chat moving online, it should come as no surprise that your browser and apps running in it will soon be able to tap into peripherals that only native applications have been able to access so far.
Google developer advocate Paul Kinlan, speaking at the Develop conference in Liverpool, talked about some of the advanced functionality Chrome will soon sport.
Of course, for those keeping up with Chrome development, the new capabilities come as little surprise. The team has been working on adding gamepad support for quite a while now.
Another thing that Kinlan talked about at the conference was WebRTC, Google's upcoming web communications technology. Similar in principle to the WebM, for online video, and WebP, for online images, formats, WebRTC is a series of technologies, protocols and codecs that will enable real time audio and video communications over the web.
And since Google is working on making it a standard, the functionality will be built into the browser, apps will simply tap into the built-in components to offer video chat and calls.
It's important to remember though that most standard HTML5 features are only now being supported by most browsers. And even when they are, performance is an issue.
Same goes for WebGL for example, which works in Chrome, Firefox and soon in Opera, but for which performance is an issue, for any application actually making good use of the technology.