updated 11:00 am EST, Fri February 10, 2012
Chrome 18 widens GPU usage
Google in the same breath as the Chrome 17 final release has also posted a beta release of Chrome 18. The new version swings attention to graphics and now hardware accelerates 2D elements using HTML5's Canvas spec, a common part of more advanced websites. Animations and action-sensitive websites should see the most benefit.
Those with older systems that can't support the WebGL standard are getting a partial help through the addition of a software renderer, SwiftShader. Although not as fast as native support, the TransGaming-built converter is potentially faster than the regular renderer for those using older graphics hardware or operating systems.
The release is available immediately for Linux, the Mac, and Windows. In keeping with Google's fast-track releases, the finished version of Chrome 18 is likely to be available within the next few weeks.