Chrome 18 Beta offers speedier browsing, graphics boost for Windows XP

Google has recently released a new beta version of the company's popular Chrome browser and it isn't just any minor beta release. Chrome 18 Beta now offers speedier browsing as well as a graphics boost for older GPUs as well as an improvement for those on Windows XP.

"Every day the web becomes more powerful, allowing developers to create the next generation of beautiful, immersive experiences online. In our latest Chrome Beta release, we’ve made a few enhancements to ensure users have a smooth ride in these graphics-intensive applications," Google stated in an official blog post.

Chrome 18 Beta now has GPU-accelerated rendering of 2D Canvas content, which means that canvas-based games and animations run faster and feel smoother compared to previous versions of Chrome. Chrome 18 Beta allows you to see what features are being accelerated by visiting "chrome://gpu" in the browser's address bar. "This is a tricky area to optimize, due to the wide variety of hardware and operating system configurations found in the wild. We've made a series of small improvements to the way this acceleration works in the latest release, and we're seeking feedback on it from our Beta users," Google adds.

Chrome 18 Beta also offers a boost in graphics for those still running Windows XP. Since older operating systems and older graphics cards limit what can be rendered, Chrome 18 Beta works around those limits by displaying 3D content via a software rasterizer called SwiftShader. This new technology allows viewing of 3D content for those who can't run content on the old graphics card. "At the same time, we recognize that many people with older GPUs and graphics drivers have not been able to experience the rich content provided by technologies such as WebGL. Chrome is now able to display 3D content via SwiftShader, a software rasterizer we licensed from TransGaming, Inc. Although SwiftShader won’t perform as well as a real GPU, it will be an improvement for many of our users on older operating systems such as Windows XP," Google adds.

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