All posts tagged ‘chrome’

File Under: Browsers, CSS

Google Chrome, Now With Cinema-Style 3-D Effects

CSS custom filters in action. Image: Screenshot/Webmonkey

Google has released an update for its Chrome web browser. Chrome 24 boasts some speed improvements and support for the still-experimental CSS custom filters, which give web developers a way to apply 3-D effects to any HTML element.

You can grab Chrome 24 — now tied with emacs in the great version number race — from Google. Current users should be updated the next time Chrome restarts.

The best news for web developers in this release is support for the draft CSS custom filters specification. First developed by Adobe, custom filters allow web developers to easily apply cinema-style filter effects to any HTML content. Think grayscale-to-color transitions, animated shadows, photo-realistic warping and other mainstays of the 3-D animation world.

Previously you needed Adobe’s special build of WebKit to work with custom filters, but now support is baked into Chrome. However, it’s still disabled by default so you’ll need to head to about:flags and search for “Enable CSS Shaders”. Click “Enable” and then relaunch Chrome. Once you’ve enabled custom filter support, head on over to Adobe’s demo page for some examples of what’s possible with custom filters.

Chrome 24 also offers a nominal speed bump thanks to some improvements in Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine and, according to an earlier blog post, Chrome’s Cloud Printing feature is faster thanks to some server-side tweaks.

File Under: Browsers

Google Chrome Adds ‘Do Not Track’ Privacy Tools

Chrome 23′s new cookie and permissions menu. Image: Screenshot/Webmonkey

Google has updated its Chrome web browser to version 23, which adds support for GPU-accelerated video and a new, easier way to manage a website’s cookies and permissions. Chrome 23 also brings, at long last, Google’s promised support for the Do Not Track header.

For existing users Chrome 23 will arrive via auto-update. Anyone wanting to take the latest stable release for a spin can grab a copy from Google.

Chrome 23′s new GPU-accelerated video decoding promises to use less power than previous releases — which tap your PC’s CPU to display web video — but is thus far only available with the Windows release. According to the Chrome blog, Google’s test showed that a laptop’s battery lasts 25 percent longer when watching GPU-accelerated video. So far there’s no word on when GPU video acceleration will be coming to either the Mac or Linux versions of Chrome.

Anyone who likes to micromanage their cookies will like Chrome 23′s new interface for controlling a site’s permissions. While it was always possible to manage cookies on a per-site basis, the controls for doing so were buried three levels deep in Chrome’s preferences. Now you can just click the page icon (next to the URL) and a new drop-down menu will reveal how many cookies a page has set and how many (if any) Chrome has blocked. There’s also a link to change the cookie settings, delete existing cookies and block any domains you don’t want tracking you.

The new drop-down menu also has options to control a website’s permissions for features like geolocation, pop-ups, plugins, fullscreen mode, camera/microphone access and more. There’s technically nothing new about these permissions — they’ve all been available through Chrome’s preferences page for some time — but the new user interface for accessing them is the best I’ve seen in any browser (and one I hope other browsers copy).

The new cookie control UI arrives alongside Google’s first official support for the nascent (and possibly very flawed) Do Not Track privacy header. Chrome is the last browser to add support for Do Not Track and, like every other browser except IE 10, Chrome’s Do Not Track support is disabled by default. To turn it on just head to Chrome’s preferences page, click the “Advanced” link and check the box next to the new option to “Send a ‘Do Not Track’ request with your browsing traffic.”

File Under: Browsers

Latest Version of Chrome Steps Up its Gaming Game

Google’s Chrome web browser has been

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updated to version 22.

Chrome will automatically update for current users. If you’d like to give the latest version a try, head over to the Chrome download page.

It’ll be another three months before Chrome can match the venerable Emacs in version numbers, but in the mean time Chrome 22 has other goals in mind — like some JavaScript improvements and a new mouse API that should help make online games more fun.

Chrome 22 supports the Pointer Lock JavaScript API, often referred to as “mouse lock”. As Chromium Engineer Vincent Scheib writes on the Chromium blog, “now 3D applications such as first-person games can allow users to control their perspective naturally with the mouse, without moving outside the window or bumping into the edge of their screen.”

If you’d like to see the Pointer Lock API in action, point the latest version of Chrome at Banana Bread, Mozilla’s 3D first-person shooter demo over on the Mozilla Developer Network.

Chrome 22 also packs in numerous bug fixes, some polish for the Windows 8 version of Chrome and some more improvements for those using Chrome on Apple’s new Retina screen laptops.

File Under: Browsers

Internet Explorer 10 Tops New ‘Robohornet’ Speed Test

Robohornet is a new set of browser benchmarks that attempts to measure how browsers do with not just JavaScript, but HTML rendering, CSS animations, DOM manipulation and JavaScript.

Want to stress-test your browser of choice? Head on over the Robohornet site, but be forewarned its a long test and there’s a good chance your browser is going to fall on its face — unless of course you’re using Internet Explorer 10.

Robohornet was created by Google’s Alex Komoroske, but it’s an open source project with “stewardship committee members” that extend well beyond Google. There are representatives from Facebook, SmugMug and Sencha participating, as well as individuals like Tom Robinson, creator of the Cappuccino framework.

Robohornet is somewhat novel in that it’s trying to be a community-driven benchmark. The tests that comprise the benchmark can be created by anyone. What’s more, even web developers not interested in writing tests can still participate by voting on which tests to include. See the Robohornet GitHub page for details on participating.

Of course, while Robohornet sounds really good up until right here, we have some bad news for you — right now most of the tests are what’s known as microbenchmarks, very small, highly abstracted tests that often have very little bearing on real-world performance.

As Mark Twain once said, there are lies, damn lies and browser benchmarks (or words to that effect) and in its current state Robohornet may well be doing more harm than good.

Microsoft has already come out dismissing Robohornet as not “representative of the performance users might encounter on real-world sites.” What’s most interesting about Microsoft’s reaction is that Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 actually tops the Robohornet tests, besting Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera according to some early tests by Tom’s Hardware.

Not happy with the Robohornet tests, Microsoft has created its own Robohornet-derived benchmark suite it calls Robohornet Pro, which the company claims better represents “real world” sites.

Mozilla’s Justin Lebar and Nicholas Nethercote have also both been critical of Robohornet, filing a bug entitled “eliminate and outlaw microbenchmarks.” “If you guys want us (in my case, Mozilla) to take Robohornet seriously,” writes Lebar, “I strongly recommend you write some macrobenchmarks and eliminate the microbenchmarks from your test suite.”

Lebar goes on to say that he really likes “the idea of a community-driven benchmark. I hope that aspect of this project, rather than the microbenchmarks, becomes the hallmark of Robohornet.” Would that it were so.

File Under: Browsers, privacy

Google Chrome Finally Jumps on the ‘Do Not Track’ Bandwagon

The most recent developer release of Google’s Chrome web browser adds support for the proposed Do Not Track (DNT) header, which allows users to tell advertisers to stop tracking their movements around the web.

If you’d like to test Do Not Track in Chrome you’ll need to download the “canary” channel release. The DNT header will likely be available in the stable version of Chrome some time around the end of 2012.

Unlike Microsoft, which recently caused a web standards hoopla by announcing it would enable Do Not Track by default in Internet Explorer 10, Google is leaving Chrome’s version off by default. To turn on Chrome’s new DNT feature yourself head to Settings >> Show advanced settings >> Privacy and check the Do Not Track option.

The Do Not Track feature, which will soon be available in every web browser, allows users to broadcast a simple message to advertisers — roughly, don’t track me. Advertisers honoring the header won’t set tracking cookies in your browser, nor will they show any ads targeted at you.

Chrome is the last major browser to add support for Do Not Track, which began life in Mozilla’s Firefox before moving to the W3C where it’s in the process of becoming a web standard.

Some have speculated that Google was dragging its feet with Do Not Track because it may hurt the company’s bottom line — Google’s well-targeted ads are made possible by tracking what you do online. The changelog message that introduces DNT is terse, but a Google spokesperson tells AllThingsD that the company is honoring “an agreement on DNT that the industry reached with the White House early this year.”