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Google Chrome 21 debuts easier HTML5 webcam access; 22 drops OS X 10.5 support

10 July 2012, Mike Williams

Google has announced the release of Chrome 21 to the beta channel for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome Frame. And while the new build won’t revolutionise your life overnight, it does include support for a couple of new APIs which will make for richer web experiences in the future.

The first of these, the WebRTC getuserMedia API, allows users to give web access to their camera and microphone from within the browser, no plugin required. And a few web apps already show some of the creative possibilities: Paul Neave’s “Webcam Toy” uses WebGL fragment shaders to apply real-time special effects to the video, for instance.

It looks mostly the same, but under the hood Chrome 21 has added some genuinely useful new features

Chrome 21 now also includes support for the Gamepad JavaScript API, which allows web apps to access input from any standard gamepad connected to the user’s machine. We’ll be very interested to see where developers go with that.

If you’ve made use of Google Cloud Print then you’ll be pleased to see that Chrome 21‘s Print dialog can now print to your Cloud Ready printer, Google Drive, Chrome on your mobile device, and more.

And of course there’s the usual bundle of less exciting (but still very necessary) bug and security fixes.

Elsewhere, the big news wasn’t so much what Google were adding to Chrome, as what they were taking away: when Google’s Jason Kersey announced the release of Chrome 22 to the Dev Channel, he revealed that from this build Google Chrome will no longer support OS X 10.5, aka Leopard. If that’s an issue for you then you’ll have around 3 months to upgrade (or choose a new browser) before Chrome 22 becomes the stable release.

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