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10 February 2012, 12:16

Chrome 18 Beta brings graphics improvements

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Google Chrome logo Support for GPU-accelerated rendering of 2D Canvas content on Windows and Mac OS X systems is the highlight of Google's latest beta release of Chrome. Version 18 (18.0.1025.11) of the Chrome browser is available from the Beta channel which is aimed at early adopters and testers.

The developers say that the GPU acceleration should improve the performance of graphics-intensive web applications, making "canvas-based games and animations run faster and feel smoother". Users running the new beta can see which features are being accelerated by entering chrome://gpu into the Omnibox address bar. On older systems that can't make use of GPU, the beta can display 3D content using the SwiftShader software rasteriser, which the company has licensed from TransGaming, Inc. While it "won't perform as well as a real GPU", the developers say that it should still be an improvement for those running older operating systems such as Windows XP. As it is licensed technology, it is unlikely that SwiftShader will appear in Chromium, the open source basis for Chrome.

More details about the beta channel release can be found in a post on the Chromium Blog. Version 18.0.1025.11 of Chrome for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, as well as Chrome Frame, is available to download from; existing beta channel users can upgrade using the built-in update function. Users testing the release are asked to report any issues they find, specifically problems related to 2D Canvas graphics content. The current stable release of Chrome is Chrome 17 which was released on 8 February.

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