Chrome 18 Released to Stable Channelby Andrew Cunningham on March 30, 2012 4:45 PM EST
Google Chrome 18 is working its way out to users' computers today after its release to the stable channel. As usual, the update brings a number of small feature and security enhancements to all users running the browser.
The new features both relate to graphics acceleration in the browser: it enables GPU-accelerated Canvas 2D to Windows and OS X users with supported GPUs. Canvas 2D is primarily used in games and had previously been implemented in software, but GPU acceleration for the feature had only been enabled in the beta channel. The other change takes a GPU accelerated feature, WebGL, and implements a software version for older computers via a product called Swiftshader. Software rendering is slower than GPU-accelerated rendering, naturally, but this at least extends basic functionality to users of unsupported and older configurations.
On the security side, there were nine bugs patched. While the specific exploits used against Chrome in this year's Pwnium competition had been fixed shortly after they were discovered, the new patches are the first of Google's efforts to harden the browser against similar exploits in the future.
Google Chrome can be downloaded here, and is compatible with Windows XP and higher, OS X 10.5 (Intel) and higher, and many Linux distributions.