Chrome Browser 33, Now in Beta, Includes Many New Developer Features

Chrome 33 beta includes Web speech synthesis and improved WebFont downloading, providing developers with more cool tools to add additional features for users.

Google's Chrome Web browser stable Version 32 was just released to users last week, which means that the Chrome beta Version 33 is now in the development pipeline for eventual promotion and release to users.

The Chrome 33 beta version has a host of intriguing new features that will help developers extend the browser and its capabilities even more for Chrome enthusiasts. The nascent new capabilities were unveiled by Dominic Cooney, a Chrome software engineer, in a Jan. 16 post on The Chromium Blog.

"[The] Chrome Beta channel release kicks off the new year with a slew of new features for developers ranging from Custom Elements, to web speech synthesis and improved WebFont downloading," wrote Cooney.

Most of the changes apply to desktop versions of Chrome and Chrome for Android, he wrote.

A key new feature is what Google calls Custom Elements, which allows Web developers to define new types of HTML elements to use in their Web applications, according to Cooney. "The spec is one of several new API primitives landing under the Web Components umbrella."

Custom Elements will allow developers to define new HTML/DOM elements, create elements that extend from other elements, logically bundle together custom functionality into a single tag and extend the API of existing DOM elements, he wrote. Custom Elements will also allow developers to architect their apps and code in much cleaner ways, he added.

Another key new feature is a Web Speech API, which enables Web developers to add speech recognition and synthesis to their Web pages, according to Cooney. "We added the recognition part last year, and today's release is the first to include speech synthesis. For example, your dictations could be synthesized to play back in a different language."

The new beta Version 34 of Chrome also has moved away from supporting the old Netscape-era NPAPI plug-ins, as previously announced by Google in September 2013. That move was made starting this month because NPAPI isn't used or supported on mobile devices.

NPAPI support on Macintosh and Windows will be completely phased out by the end of the year, and on Linux, Chromium will no longer support NPAPI plug-ins starting as early as April, wrote Cooney.