Google has announced some new hardware advancements for its Chrome browser on the desktop that should help browsers handle inputs from more exotic devices, such as gamepads.
The WebHID specification allows websites to retrieve information about locally connected Human Interface Device (HID) devices, which includes everything from a mouse to keyboards, as well as joysticks and gamepads like the Microsoft Xbox controller.
"The inability to access uncommon or unusual HID devices is particularly painful, for example, when it comes to gamepad support. Gamepad inputs and outputs are not well standardized and web browsers often require custom logic for specific devices. This is unsustainable and results in poor support for the long tail of older and uncommon devices," Google explains.
WebHID is enabled by default in Chrome 89, which is due for stable release at the beginning of March, 2021.
Devices with near field communications (NFC) chips are also getting a boost in Chrome 89 by being enabled by default on Android.
The new Web NFC standard was added to Chrome version 81 and allows websites to interact with NFC tags. That means people can use the phones and tablets in combination with a website or web app to, for example, get information from an NFC tag at a museum or conference. Those applications likely won't be used much until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.