Chrome browser adds support for NFC tags

Web NFC in action in a demo at Chrome Dev Summit
CHROME 89: Android users will soon be able to read and write NFC tags straight from web apps

Android users will be able to read and write NFC tags straight from web apps with the release of Chrome 89, the upcoming version of Google’s web browser, next month.

Support for Web NFC, an API that governs the exchange of NFC data exchange format (NDEF) messages between web pages and NFC tags, was built into the browser as an ‘origin trial’ in February 2020 but it was a hidden test feature that needed to be enabled by the user. Chrome 89 sees Web NFC support emerging from this trial as a regular feature that is enabled by default on Android devices.

“Web NFC allows a web app to read from and write to NFC tags,” says Google in a post on its Chromium Blog. “This opens new use cases to the web, including providing information about museum exhibits, inventory management, providing information in a conference badge, and many others. In Chrome 89 on Android, Web NFC is enabled by default.”

The company goes on to explain in a useful article packed full of code samples on its Web.dev site that: “Web NFC is limited to NDEF because the security properties of reading and writing NDEF data are more easily quantifiable.

“Low-level I/O operations (eg ISO-DEP, NFC-A/B, NFC-F), peer-to-peer communication mode and host-based card emulation (HCE) are not supported.”

Chrome 89 is now in beta with the stable version expected to ship in early March 2021.

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