Google Chrome 18 has just landed as a stable release, and while it has the usual mix of minor tweaks and security fixes, the real news is its graphics improvements.
Part of this comes from the browser enabling GPU-accelerated rendering for 2D Canvas content, which could bring a real performance boost to canvas-based animations and games. (Or that’s the plan, anyway. If you have any issues, or just want to find out what’s happening on your system, then entering chrome://gpu will give you more information on the browser’s current GPU acceleration usage.)
And if you’re running Chrome on an older system then you’ve probably already noticed that it can’t display rich 3D content via technologies such as WebGL. But that all changes with Chrome 18, thanks to the inclusion of SwiftShader, a software rasterizer which automatically activates for users who can’t run content on the GPU.
While this kind of software solution is never going to compete with a real GPU, SwiftShader is fast enough to be genuinely useful. As the authors point out, the system can be 100 times faster than basic implementations, like Microsoft’s Direct3D Reference Rasterizer, and is even quicker than some integrated graphics hardware. So although you’re not going to want to play Call of Duty with it, for 3D web content the technology makes a great deal of sense.
Other changes are less newsworthy, though still important, as they include a lengthy list of bug fixes and resolutions for some notable security issues. A post on the Google Chrome Releases blog tells you more, if you’re interested, or you can simply download Google Chrome 18 now.
Google announced today on its Chrome Releases blog that Chrome for Android Beta has been updated to version 0.16.4301.233 (that’s Chrome 16.0.912.77 for anyone counting).
The update primarily brings bug fixes, specifically addressing “issues in the compatibility check which prevented Chrome from starting up on some versions of Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.” In other words, whatever it is that broke compatibility with custom ROMs in Chrome’s previous update seems to have been eliminated this time around.
While there’s no official change log available for the update just yet, Google does list remaining known bugs:
Google also urges users to report new issues by filing a bug report. For more information, and to stay on top of future Chrome updates, just hit the source link below.
Source: Google Chrome Releases
Google Chrome for Android Beta
The Stable channel update fixes a total of five “high-risk” bugs: a heap overflow in the Ogg Vorbis decoder, a double free issue in the Theora decoder and a memory corruption regression in VP8 decoding, as well as a use-after-free error and a buffer overflow in shader variable mapping. Two medium-risk out of bounds reads in MKV and Ogg vorbis media handlers, and a low-risk issue that caused JRE7 to fail to ask for permission to run applets have also been fixed. Further details of the vulnerabilities are being withheld until “a majority of users are up-to-date with the fix”.
More information about the update can be found in a post on the Google Chrome Releases blog. Chrome 15.0.874.120 for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Chrome Frame is available to download from google.com/chrome. Users who currently have Chrome installed can use the built-in update function.