Web Intents Put on Hold in Chrome

The feature is supposed to make it possible for web apps to "talk" to each other

Chrome 24 landed in the beta channel a couple of weeks ago. Google didn't have that much to brag about, it was the fastest Chrome yet, but that's true of virtually any version ever released.

But more interesting were the things that were missing from it, like the share menu which was removed just as Chrome 24 reached beta and web intents.

The Web Intents API was designed to make it possible for web apps, in any shape, i.e. including Chrome apps or extensions, to "talk" to each other.

The idea is to make it possible for a photo sharing app to call upon a separate photo editing app if the user wants to make some adjustments before publishing the photo.

Users will be able to select any app they prefer and the two apps don't need to know anything about each other, everything is done via the API.

There is a reason why Google didn't say much about these features, they were not permanent. Web intents support was removed before Chrome 24 landed in beta, as Google only wanted to test the feature in real conditions to see what can be improved.

"We shipped experimental support for web intents in Chrome in order to gather data and feedback about the API and help inform its development," Google's Greg Billock explained in the W3C Web Intents mailing list.

"Now that we've gathered enough data, we've disabled the experimental support for web intents as of version 24," he added.

Billock says the removal is temporary, though it does seem like Google is going back to the drawing board, at least in some areas. With web intents gone, the "share menu," which replaced the bookmark star button in the Omnibox, was removed as well.

"After carefully reviewing the feature, we have identified a number of areas for development in both the API and specific user experience in Chrome. We'll use the results of this experiment to help us make sure we're approaching the important problem of inter-webapp communication in the best possible way," Billock added.

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