Google and Mozilla both seem to content to chase higher version numbers, but we don’t mind looking the other way as long as they bring useful features along for the ride. Google today released the latest version of Chrome. For those who are counting, we’re up to version 18 now. Features include new hardware acceleration for HTML5 elements as well as bug fixes.
Chrome 18 brings hardware acceleration for the HTML5 Canvas element, used for 2D rendering. If you remember (and we’re sure you do), that’s the same feature used in Mozilla’s BrowserQuest HTML5 game to render the world map. Acceleration will work on PCs and Macs, although Linux users have been left out in the cold for now.
Google is also now using TransGaming's SwiftShader code in Chrome, allowing WebGL 3D applications to run on older graphical hardware. Integrated Intel chips, and those still running Windows XP, will be able to take advantage of the change. Performance may take a hit since it’s heavily CPU dependant, but it will allow those users to see content that they wouldn’t have been able to previously. The feature will be disabled for everyone else.
Google has already pushed out Chrome 18, so make sure to hit up the About button and let the browser update itself.