The headline new feature of Google Chrome 21 is that – with your permission – web apps can now directly access your webcam and microphone without requiring a plug-in.
Version 21 also includes deeper Google Cloud Print integration, expanded support for gamepads and support for the new Mac retina screens.
Those lucky enough to own the MacBook Pro with retina display will be pleased to learn the new release fully supports the higher resolution display, providing smoother fonts and graphics when web browsing.
Just one of the many effects shown off by Chrome 21's support for a new webcam API.
Chrome 21 also expands its Google Cloud Print functionality, which allows users to print over the web to any connected printer, Google Drive account (the page is printed as a PDF) or mobile device. The options are now directly embedded into Chrome’s Print dialog box – click Change… under the Destination printer to choose a device to print to.
The new release also adds a new API – getUserMedia – which allows web apps to directly access the user’s webcam or microphone without requiring a separate plug-in. The API is permissions-based, so the user remains in control of which apps are granted access. Google describes the API as “the first step in WebRTC, a new real-time communications standard which aims to allow high-quality video and audio communication on the web.”
Users wishing to try out the new features are directed towards a number of Chrome Web Lab tools, including Webcam Toy and Sketchbots.
The latest release also fixes 15 security vulnerabilities across Linux, Mac and Windows platforms, one of which is describe as critical, making the update an essential one for all existing Chrome users.
Google Chrome 21 Stable is a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux.
This article originally appeared at softwarecrew.co.uk