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Google accelerates 2D and 3D in Chromium web browser

Offers software renderer for Windows XP users
Fri Feb 10 2012, 13:43

SOFTWARE HOUSE Google has enabled GPU acceleration for 2D and 3D content in its latest Chromium web browser beta release.

Google's Chromium web browser is the testing ground for features that eventually end up in the firm's stable Chrome web browser. While Google released Chrome 17 just yesterday, an update of Chromium brings GPU acceleration to both 2D and 3D content.

Google revealed that Windows and Mac OS X Chromium users will have GPU acceleration for 2D Canvas content. This move complements the 3D GPU acceleration that has been present for some time in Chrome.

Google's decision to implement the software rasteriser Swiftshader in Chromium will result in pseudo-acceleration of 3D content on older GPUs and operating systems such as Windows XP. The firm admits Swiftshader's performance will be lower than pure GPU acceleration, but claims it will still be an improvement for many.

In the past year Google, Microsoft and Mozilla have all been promoting GPU acceleration for 3D content in their respective web browsers. The firms claim improvements in performance and, in some cases, battery life.

According to Google, users will be largely unaware when Swiftshader kicks in, though it gives the option of typing "chrome://gpu" to see what is going on under the hood. Depending on the early feedback received by Google, its 2D GPU acceleration and 3D Swiftshader implementations are likely to end up in Chrome sooner or later. µ


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