News and developments from the open source browser project
Chrome 32 Beta: Animated WebP images and faster Chrome for Android touch input
Thursday, November 21, 2013
The latest Chrome
channel release includes a slew of new developer features that make the web faster and safer for users. Unless otherwise noted, changes apply to desktop versions of Chrome and Chrome for Android.
image format offers some important
as an alternative to animated GIF, including true alpha channel (8-bit) as compared to a binary (1-bit) alpha in GIFs. Also, each frame can be lossy or lossless as needed. Compare the
version (372 KB) of the picture below to the
version (870 KB). The WebP version is 57% smaller.
300ms tap delay removal on Chrome for Android
Starting this release, responsive mobile websites will get a performance boost in Chrome for Android because
we’ve disabled double-tap zoom
. Previously, to support double-tap zoom, Chrome had to delay every touch event sent to the webpage by 300ms to allow the user to tap a second time. Now mobile-friendly sites that are already formatted to automatically fit in the page width will receive click events instantly and can respond to user input more quickly.
NPAPI plug-ins blocked by default
a few months ago, all but a handful of
Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI)
plug-ins will be blocked by default starting in today’s Beta. Check out the
to learn more.
New in Chrome for Android, the
allows web developers to programmatically provide tactile feedback in the form of vibration. Use cases include improved accessibility and more engaging browser-based games.
Chrome Apps and Extensions APIs
allows you retrieve a list of the user’s signed-in devices.
now supports import of Picasa albums.
such as sign-in and sign-out.
Websites in incognito tab can now
to Apps with user consent.
now optionally provides TLS channel ID to extensions or apps to allow for stronger security.
for a complete overview of Chrome’s developer features, and circle
+Google Chrome Developers
for more frequent updates.
Posted by Urvang Joshi, Software Engineer and Aspiring Animator
Making the web faster with SPDY and HTTP/2
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Four years ago we
, an experimental protocol designed to make the web faster. It has matured quickly since then: it’s been adopted by Chrome,
, dozens of server and middleware vendors, and many large sites. SPDY also became the foundation of the
developed by the IETF, and is continuing to serve as an experimental ground for prototyping and testing new features for HTTP/2.
When we set out on this journey the objective was to make the web faster and we wanted to share our latest results. Of course, as with every aspect of performance, the numbers vary for each site, based on how it is constructed, the number of downloaded assets and dozens of other criteria. That said, we’ve observed significant performance improvements in latency—as measured by time from first request byte to onload event in the browser—across all of Google’s major web applications.
The above results were measured for Chrome version 29 and compare HTTPS vs. SPDY for each application across millions of real user sessions with various connectivity profiles. SPDY delivers significant latency savings for users with fast connections, at the median, and for the long tail users with high round-trip times.
In parallel with our contributions to the HTTP/2 standard, we continue to prototype further SPDY performance improvements through smarter compression, flow control, and prioritization. Our hope is that each of these will deliver better and faster SPDY and HTTP/2 protocols. We aren’t done yet—there are still many opportunities and ideas to explore to make the web faster!
Posted by Hasan Khalil, Roberto Peon, and Ilya Grigorik, SPeeDY Software Engineers
“A Journey through Middle-earth”: A Chrome Experiment for the multi-device web
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
For the past few years, building multimedia web experiences for mobile devices has been difficult. Phones and tablets are less powerful than their counterparts, and mobile browsers have traditionally had limited API support. Despite these challenges, the mobile web is evolving rapidly. In the last few months alone, Chrome for Android gained support for
“A Journey through Middle-Earth”
, our latest
, demonstrates what’s now possible on the mobile web. Developed by
in collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, the experiment uses the latest web technologies to deliver a multimedia experience designed specifically for tablets, phones, and touch-enabled desktops.
Touch Events API
to support multi-touch pinch-to-zoom and the
Full Screen API
to allow users to hide the URL address bar. It looks natural on any screen size thanks to
and feels low-latency because of hardware-accelerated CSS Transitions.
. These environments also use the
Web Audio API
for interactive audio.
The multi-device web is evolving rapidly, and we’re looking forward to more sites like “A Journey Through Middle-earth” that show the potential of the platform’s latest mobile features. For a deeper technical case study, check out North Kingdom’s
new HTML5 Rocks article
about using WebGL in Chrome for Android. We’re also planning to host a Google Developers Live session with the team in early December; circle
+Google Chrome Developers
Posted by Max Heinritz, Product Manager and (Tolkien) Troll Evader
*Update: you can now read North Kingdom's
second HTML5 Rocks case study
on building the rest of the HTML5 front-end for "
A Journey through Middle-earth
Dart 1.0: A stable SDK for structured web apps
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Today we’re releasing the Dart SDK 1.0, a cross-browser, open source toolkit for structured web applications. In the two years since we first
, we’ve been working closely with early adopters to mature the project and grow the community. This release marks Dart's transition to a production-ready option for web developers.
The Dart SDK 1.0 includes everything you need to write structured web applications: a simple yet powerful programming language, robust tools, and comprehensive core libraries. Together, these pieces can help make your development workflow simpler, faster, and more scalable as your projects grow from a few scripts to full-fledged web applications.
On the tools side, the SDK includes
, a lightweight but powerful Dart development environment. We wanted to give developers the tools to manage a growing code base, so we added code completion, refactoring, jump to definition, a debugger, hints and warnings, and lots more. Dart also offers an instant edit/refresh cycle with
, a custom version of Chromium with the native Dart VM. Outside the browser, the Dart VM can also be used for asynchronous server side computation.
For deployment, dart2js is a translator that allows your Dart code to run in
Pop, Pop, Win!
DeltaBlue benchmark results
The Dart SDK also features the
package manager, with more than 500 packages from the community. Fan favorites include
Going forward, the Dart team will focus on improving Dartium, increasing Dart performance, and ensuring the platform remains rock solid. In particular, changes to core technologies will be backward-compatible for the foreseeable future.
Today’s release marks the first time Dart is officially production-ready, and we’re seeing teams like
, Google's internal
, already successfully using Dart in production. In addition, companies like
have started to add Dart support to their products.
To get started, head over to
and join the conversation at our
Dartisans community on Google+
. We’re excited to see what you will build with the new stable
Dart SDK 1.0
Posted by Lars Bak, Software Engineer and Chief Dartisan
Portable Native Client: The "pinnacle" of speed, security, and portability
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
(NaCl) brings the performance and low-level control of native code to modern web browsers, without sacrificing the security benefits and portability of web applications. By helping developers directly leverage the power of the underlying CPU and GPU, NaCl enables web applications from
. Today, we’re launching
Portable Native Client
(PNaCl, pronounced pinnacle), which lets developers compile their code once to run on any hardware platform and embed their PNaCl application in any website.
Under the hood, PNaCl works by compiling native C and C++ code to an intermediate representation, rather than architecture-specific representations as in Native Client. The
-style bytecode is wrapped into a portable executable, which can be hosted on a web server like any other website asset. When the site is accessed, Chrome fetches and translates the portable executable into an architecture-specific machine code optimized directly for the underlying device. This translation approach means developers don’t need to recompile their applications multiple times to run across x86, ARM or MIPS devices.
PNaCl unlocks the power of native performance for applications like
Bullet physics simulators
. For now PNaCl is Chrome only, but developers can make their PNaCl applications compatible with other browsers via
, which allows applications to use the
Portable Native Client provides a natively fast, secure option to meet the demands of a new generation of web applications. As always, we look forward to your questions and feedback on
, and will host a
Google Developers Live
event on Thursday, November 14th to answer your
for tutorials, documentation, and to get the SDK.
Posted by David Sehr, Summiting Engineer and Mountain Man
Introducing the new Chrome Apps Developer Tool
Friday, November 8, 2013
have long been familiar with the developer-mode setting of the chrome://extensions tab in the Chrome browser. This tab provides shortcuts for loading unpacked apps and extensions, launching them, inspecting their pages, and more. Today, we are improving this experience by introducing the new
Chrome Apps Developer Tool
, available now in the
Chrome Web Store
, which adds some great new features and works as a standalone Chrome App itself:
In addition to a much cleaner and easier-to-use layout, the new tool provides all of the same functionality as the chrome://extensions tab while streamlining the developer workflow:
Apps and extensions are now listed in separate tabs, reducing the potential for developer confusion and reinforcing the difference between the two item types. This also reduces the size of each list, making it faster to scroll through.
Unpacked items and installed items are now listed separately, which makes it much easier to quickly see and access your works-in-progress.
You can individually update specific apps and extensions with one click, instead of having to update all items at once like in the old tab.
The common actions for each item, such as reload, launch, view permissions, pack, and uninstall, are located right next to that item for fast access.
The list can now be live-filtered using the Search box at the top right of the page instead of having to use the regular “Find in page” feature of Chrome.
If you’re developing Chrome Apps or extensions and you have at least the latest version of Chrome Beta installed, get the new tool today and send us your feedback on
our G+ Developers page
Posted by Viet Hoa Dinh, Software Engineer and Tooling Taskmaster
Protecting Windows users from malicious extensions
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Extensions are a great way to enhance the browsing experience; whether users want to quickly post to social networks or to stay up to date with their favorite sports teams. Many services
useful companion extensions, which causes Chrome to ask whether you want to install them (or not). However, bad actors have abused this mechanism, bypassing the prompt to silently install malicious extensions that
override browser settings
and alter the user experience in undesired ways, such as replacing the New Tab Page without approval. In fact, this is a leading cause of
from our Windows users.
Since these malicious extensions are not hosted on the Chrome Web Store, it’s difficult to limit the damage they can cause to our users. As part of our
continuing security efforts
, we’re announcing a stronger measure to protect Windows users: starting in January on the Windows stable and
channels, we’ll require all extensions to be hosted in the Chrome Web Store. We’ll continue to support local extension installs during
as well as installs via Enterprise
, and Chrome Apps will also continue to be supported normally.
If your extensions are currently hosted outside the Chrome Web Store you should
them as soon as possible. There will be no impact to your users, who will still be able to use your extension as if nothing changed. You could keep the extensions hidden from the Web Store listings if you like. And if you have a dedicated installation flow from your own website, you can make use of the existing
Protecting our users is a key priority, and we believe this change will help those whose browser has been compromised by unwanted extensions. If you have questions, please get in touch with us on the
Chromium extensions group
Erik Kay, Engineering Director
Announcing Octane 2.0
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
We created the
Octane Benchmark Suite
and updates to existing benchmarks.
We’ve also added two new performance tests that target important use cases. One new test is based on the
benchmark, an asm.js test from the Mozilla
suite. Both new benchmarks help measure an engine’s ability to deal with heavy and complex workloads, which are increasingly common in today's web applications.
Finally, we fixed three existing benchmarks to help ensure that they measure what they were intended to:
: verify that regexp calculations give the correct results.
: code that was supposed to run in strict mode now actually runs in strict mode.
: make sure the code loaded is different on every iteration.
Octane 2.0 represents one more step in our continuing quest to deliver the best possible performance for users. You can run
in your browser or read the
for an in-depth look at the new benchmarks.
Posted by Hannes Payer, Software Engineer and Latency Buster
Introducing Chromium-powered Android WebView
Friday, November 1, 2013
Android 4.4, KitKat
release contains a new WebView implementation built on Chromium open source technology.
The Chromium WebView is a complete overhaul of the Android
Chromium WebView is present on all devices running Android 4.4 and applications using WebView will transition to it automatically, no user intervention required. We’ve aimed to make the transition simple for developers too, while also paving the way to increased open web standards convergence. Most applications will continue to function unaltered, and we've prepared an Android 4.4
WebView migration guide
to walk developers through the important changes.
DevTools remote debugging support for WebView
, developing and analyzing web content inside native Android applications is as easy as debugging a web page on desktop Chrome, offering a productivity boost to developers.
Best of all, it’s entirely open source, and is available in the Android 4.4 KitKat
built on a snapshot of the latest stable Chromium source tree. We're looking forward to working with the broader Chromium community to continue improving WebView. Watch
and the chromium-dev mailing list for future updates on getting involved in the Chromium WebView development. In the meantime, you can check out the
Chromium WebView FAQ
Happy developing from all of the Chromium WebView team!
Posted by Jonathan Dixon and Ben Murdoch, Ambassadors of Chocolate Treats
chrome web store
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