One of the key new features in Chrome 21 is the getUserMedia API. That API enables the browser to get access to your webcam and microphone, directly through the browser and not through a third party plugin like Flash. The getUserMedia API is part of a larger effort to enable richer in-browser interactivity, known as WebRTC(Real-Time Communications).
As an example of what the getUserMedia API can potentially enable, Google has set up an experiment in its Chrome Web Lab that shows off the power of the API.
“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,” Shijing Xian, Software Engineer at Google wrote in a blog post. “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.”
Chrome 21 also now will extend the utility of the browser as a viable gaming platform by way of a new API for Gamepads.