Google has released its latest Google Chrome 21 Web browser, keeping with its schedule of new versions about every six weeks to fix bugs and add new features for users.
Chrome 21 was moved to Google’s stable development channel on July 31 and is available for download immediately for Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X and Linux users, according to a Chrome blog post from Karen Grunberg of Google Chrome.
The latest update “contains a number of new features including a new API for high-quality video and audio communication,” according to the blog post.
The bug and security fixes include one critical patch, six high-severity fixes, five medium-severity fixes and three low-severity issues.
A key addition to Chrome 21 is the inclusion of a new getUserMedia API, which allows users to “grant Web apps access to your camera and microphone without a plug-in,” according to a Google Chrome Blog post from Shijing Xian, a Google software engineer and real-time coder. “The getUserMedia API is the first step in WebRTC, a new real-time communications standard which aims to allow high-quality video and audio communication on the Web,” the post reported.
The new API essentially can allow users to enable their Web apps to “see”” and “hear” using innovative new applications if given permission by users, the post reported. One Website that takes advantage of the new capabilities is Sketchbots, according to the post. Sketchbots is an experiment that uses getUserMedia to take a photograph of your face using a Webcam. The photo is then converted into a line drawing and sent to a robot inside the Science Museum in London, where the robot then “draws out” your portrait in a patch of sand, the post reports. Users can watch the proceedings live on YouTube as visitors in the museum watch at their end.
Also included in Chrome 21 is deeper Google Cloud Print integration.
The Google Chrome browser is continuing to enjoy wider use, overtaking Microsoft’s Internet Explorer globally in June for the first time, according to recent figures from StatCounter, an independent Website analytics company.
“StatCounter data from more than 15 billion page views (4 billion from the United States; 850 million from the United Kingdom) for the full month of May shows Chrome took 32.43 percent of the worldwide market, compared with 32.12 percent for IE and 25.55 percent for Firefox,” the company reported. Apples Safari browser placed fourth with 7.09 percent, followed by Opera with 1.77 percent, and all others accounting for 1.04 percent user share.
In the United States, Microsoft still holds a comfortable lead in browser use, according to the report, capturing 38.35 percent of the market in May, while Chrome trailed with 23.66 percent. Firefox followed close behind in third place with 22.41 percent market share, while other browsers (1.41 percent) and Opera (0.67 percent) rounded out the top five.
In July, Google’s Chrome Mobile Browser was the subject of a patent lawsuit when EMG Technology alleged that Google infringed on one of EMG’s device navigation patents. EMG has previously filed similar lawsuits against Apple and Microsoft.