Google Chrome to add gamepad support

EDIT: Our original story suggested that Google is working on an OnLive-like cloud gaming service – this is not the case. It is working on technology that could support such a service, but not the service itself.

Google's Chrome browser will soon have greatly enhanced gaming capabilities, with plug-and-play support for gamepads on the way.

The news was revealed by Google developer advocate Paul Kinlan during a talk earler today at Develop Liverpool. Due in the first quarter of next year, the update  will also see Chrome support cameras and microphones without the need for plug-ins, with Kinlan hinting at the possibilities for augmented reality games and player tracking.

Also planned is support for WebRTC, an open-source video chat application that will run directly in-browser with no plug-in required. It's technology that could support an OnLive-style cloud gaming service, though Google is not working on creating one at present.

It all goes to show the growing potential of Chrome for games. With HTML5 widely accepted to replace Flash in the fullness of time, Chrome's support for accelerated graphics with WebGL, and an unrivalled update cycle – Google releases a new version every six weeks, no matter what – it's certainly got the technology. With over 200 million users – it's expected to replace Mozilla Firefox as the second most popular browser on the planet before the year is out – it also has the audience.