Google is getting rid of Chrome apps, and that means the browser is becoming more powerful. Experimental support for Web Bluetooth is available in Chrome 53 today, allowing websites to connect directly to nearby Bluetooth devices without any apps required.
Experimental Web Bluetooth is already here
“It is prime time for Web Bluetooth,” writes Google Developer Expert Uri Shaked on Medium. The recently released Chrome 53 contains an “origin trial” for Web Bluetooth. Website developers can register their sites with Google in order to use this experimental feature today.
As Google’s documentation explains, Web Bluetooth will allow you to control smart light bulbs and various other devices from just a browser, no need for an app, by pairing a given with website with nearby Bluetooth devices.
Support is limited at the moment. Web Bluetooth currently only works on Android 6.0 and newer, Chrome OS, and Mac OS X. The developers are working on Windows support, but there will be no iPhone or iPad support unless Apple adds Web Bluetooth to Safari. Web Bluetooth also only supports Bluetooth Low Energy devices, though it may support other devices in the future.
Ideally, other browsers will take up the standard. It’s intended to be cross-platform, which is better than the old Bluetooth API, which was only intended for Chrome apps.