August 2, 2012

Google Updates Chrome Browser, Adds Retina Support

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Google quietly released their 21st version of their popular web browser this week, bringing some much needed changes, as well as a few experimental, “wouldn´t-it-be-cool-if” ideas Google is so well known for.

Included in this update is a deeper Cloud Print integration, a further expanded gamepad support and, finally, support for Apple´s new Retina Display MacBook Pro.

This new version of Chrome also introduces the getUserMedia API which was unveiled at their Google I/O developers conference.

Ever since the Retina Display MacBook Pros became available in June, these earlier adopters have had to wait for apps, such as Chrome, to be updated in order to take full advantage of that beautiful Retina display. As it turns out, the Retina display can either produce wonderfully brilliant images or shameful, blurry images, depending on the source.

Google´s new Chrome update also improves their Cloud-based printing service. Google announced the news in their Chrome blog, saying: “Now your printers in Google Cloud Print are integrated right into Chrome´s print dialog, so you can easily print to your Cloud Ready printer, Google Drive, Chrome on your mobile device, or one of over 1,800 FedEx Offices.”

The new Chrome also ads Gamepad support, allowing any standard game controller to be used when playing games on the web. According to the July Google blog post, this gamepad support creates a “richer gameplay experience.”

Google´s new Chrome also packs in the getUserMedia API, which gives web developers access to your computer´s camera and microphone without a plug-in. According to Google, this is the first step in WebRTC, a new real-time communication standard.

Eventually, this new standard could be used to further some existing Google products, such as Google+ Hangouts. Currently, users have to install a plug-in to enable the social network´s video chatting service.

Google first mentioned this upcoming feature in July, saying they´ll be able to combine the getUserMedia API with CSS filters and WebGL to enable various effects on any pictures or video captured. Imagine Instagram on your computer“¦

“For example, you can rotate the video and add hipstery filters, play a xylophone with motion detection, try on glasses with face detection, and step into a photobooth with crazy effects like “Snow” and “Fire,” said Google on their blog when the API was first announced.

Google also makes sure to point out straight away that the getUserMedia API will require the user´s permission before their cameras or microphones start capturing any data.

In order to show off their new API, Google is suggesting the Sketchbots experiment. In the experiment, the getUserMedia API is used to access your camera to take a picture of your face. This picture is then sent to England, converted into a line drawing, and transferred to a robot in the Science Museum in London.

"The robot then draws out your portrait in a patch of sand, which you can watch live on YouTube and visitors can watch in person at the museum. It's just about as crazy as it sounds, and twice as cool."

Google´s latest version of Chrome is available now through their website.