It's 2020, and browsers can do amazing stuff.
This article contains a non-exhaustive list of less-known features implemented in browsers today.
This list isn't intended for a technical audience; instead, it wants to be a "I didn't know we could do that in a browser!" list.
In many cases, listed features aren't yet part of the standard, and may only be available on certain browsers or configurations.
Many operating systems provide light or dark color theme (notably dark mode on macOS). Websites can detect the preferred color scheme.
Similarly to dark mode, users in their OS can remove/reduce animations, and we can also detect that.
You can process payments delegating the browser. If configured, the UI will be autofilled with your credit card, shipping info and whatnot.
Delegate the share of URLs or files to the OS, providing share options based on the installed apps and user preference.
Browsers can register push notifications. Sent either immediately or later, these notifications can contain images, buttons and inline replies.
Among other features, service workers can enable offline browsing and background tasking.
Display a native banner to encourage users to add the app/website to home or to install a native app.
Check if the native app related to your site is already installed.
Allows you to run VR/AR on the web.
Consent to play a video and detach it from the current page, staying sticky and always visible.
Customize media notifications by providing metadata and actions.
If Chromecast is available, you can stream a video/audio to your TV/Chromecast-enabled device.
Consent to stream a media over AirPlay (like AppleTV).
With some Apple-specific hardware (like iPhone6S+ and Magic Trackpad) you can detect force pressure.
On iOS you can display a .usdz 3D asset using a native AR UI.
Allows you to use a physical gamepad.
Allows you to access and use peripherals connected via USB.
Allows you to access and use bluetooth devices.
Prevent display sleep and enable wake lock.
While in fullscreen, allows to receive keys that are normally handled by the system or the browser like Cmd/Alt-Tab, or Esc.
Allows you to use several sensors like Accelerometer, Gyroscope, AmbientLightSensor, Magnetometer
Enables you to store and retrieve password credentials. It also enables tap-to-sign-in and automatic sign back, password sharing on multiple devices, and many more.
Allows you to read and write text and images into the OS clipboard buffer.
Gives you the ability to access external presentation-type displays and use them for presenting web content.
Read and lock screen orientation.
When using camera/microphone, we can select the input source (example front or back camera). On the Pixel 4XL we can even access the infrared camera (used for face detection).
Gives access to raw mouse movement, locks the target of mouse events to a single element, eliminates limits of how far mouse movement can go in a single direction, and removes the cursor from view. Obvious use cases are for first person or real time strategy games.
On Android, you can customise tab color.
Provides access to the vibration mechanism of the hosting device.
Use covfefe protocol to start coffee machines.
Allows access to see the battery level of the device's battery.
Provides an API to ask whether the current tab is visible or not.
Enables web developers to incorporate speech recognition and speech synthesis.
Allows access to the file system.
Allow the site to read received SMS, for example for OTP and phone number validation.
Provides a native UI to select contacts from your OS and retrieve informations.
Allows you to set badge in OS in places like shelf or homescreen.
Are you looking for in-browser functionality that isn't listed here? You can build your own Chrome extension with Crowdbotics.
This list was originally published in this GitHub repo and has been lightly edited for clarity.
April 7, 2020