We can always expect Chrome Beta updates to bring a slew of new and exciting features that most users won’t enjoy until weeks (maybe months) later. Chrome 30 Beta is not the exception. In fact, it is bringing the powerful tools of desktop Chrome to Android.
Mobile browsing continues to be pretty basic compared to desktop versions. Important missing tools like WebGL and certain APIs can make or break the experience for many of us. As usual, Google is hard at work making the web better every day. Today’s update gets mobile browsing closer to desktop browsing by porting some of these tools.
WebGL comes to Chrome for Android
WebGL allows Chrome to render 3D and 2D interactive web apps. It has been used for interactive web apps across the webs and can do wonders. One can even play certain games with it, opening doors we never thought the web could.
WebGL will now be enabled by default with devices that sport high-end mobile GPUs. This includes devices like the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, so odds are many of you have devices that can handle this. You can go ahead and test it with a WebGL app when you have updated Chrome Beta.
Device Motion for web apps
This new feature is taken from the Device Orientation API. It will allow web app developers to use your device’s gyroscope to detect movement and orientation, allowing you to interact with web apps with by moving your Android device. There may not be many web apps that could take advantage of this just yet, but imagine the possibilities! Gaming would be one of the areas that could benefit from this.
Web Speech API
This allows developers to make web apps that can interact with users via voice. It was buried in the “other features” section, but it is definitely a feature that should not go unobserved. Web development continues to evolve to accommodate our senses, making browsing a much more immersive and intuitive experience.
Voice actions are definitely part of the future of Chrome (and browsing, in general). I can’t wait to see some developers taking advantage of this one.
Many cherries on top
The mentioned upgrades happen to be the biggest, but there is much more going on under the hood. Here are some of the improvements Chrome 30 Beta brings:
- Media Source Extension for Android – Improves streaming
- Chrome Apps APIs
- Support for the WebRTC Device Enumeration API – Allows for switching camera or microphone without having to restart WebRTC
- Devtools support for CSS source maps
- Vibration API
It is simply astounding to see all these features coming to Chrome for Android. It’s hard to believe both the web and mobile phones have come this far, and there is much more to come. Soon enough these features will come out of beta and more will be coming! Until then, Chrome Beta users can enjoy all these new Android improvements.
You can check these features out by downloading Chrome Beta for Android from the Google Play Store. Remember that this release is not completely stable, though. You can run into bugs and issues at time. Have at it if you are feeling a little adventurous, though!