Google Chrome has become a popular browser over the last few years. The beta version of the browser has now reached version 21 and there’s a bunch of new features being added. One of the biggest new features that the new version boasts of is the ability for apps to use the web camera and the microphone without the need of any third party software or plugins. This is being made possible using the getUserMedia API that was introduced for the browser. The official Chrome blog has some more details on the new additions being made to the browser.

Some of the other new features being introduced with the new beta build is an improved Google Cloud Print service. This feature  lets users print directly to a number of places including Google Drive, any Cloud-ready printer, and even one of the 1,800 FedEx stores around the US. The beta is available for download on Google’s Chrome Beta Channel page.

The magic xylophone

Use of the in-built webcam feature

Google Chrome OS 19 has been one of the most prominent updates to the operating system of late. It comes with a clear taskbar and allows users to re-size windows in the OS. Google calls its new window manager Aura. The user interface is now more like Windows or any other major OS. Users can now move their windows around and they will be able to use this update on their Samsung Series 5 and Acer AC700 Chromebooks. There is a whole bunch of other updates, too. Users can access all their Chrome apps using a single icon. The most commonly used apps and websites also show in the taskbar. More file formats are supported – .tar, .gz and .gzip2. The note-taking app, ScratchPad, has also been better integrated into the OS now and the audio/video players have been updated. The display support has been improved as well. Mirroring of displays and switching of primary displays is also enabled.

New print dialogs

New web printing facility

The OS' version 11 had a few new features too. The coolest of the features is speech-to-text recognition, which allows users to now speak search keywords to their browsers. This is just a small example of what the new feature is capable of. Future versions and plugins might allow far advanced tasks like the ones you find on Android. Head over to the Chrome Web Store and check out the Speechify plugin. You'll need the latest beta for it to work. 3D GPU-accelerated CSS is also supported now; this  allows 3D objects to be placed in a browser using CSS.

Google recently added support for advertisements within extensions for the Chrome browser. This doesn’t mean that Google will be adding ads to the browser, but an extension, for example, can choose to place ads within it. Of course, some rules have been set in place to make sure that the feature isn’t exploited by developers of extensions. For instance, the user needs to be informed that the ads are being placed within the extension and that the ad doesn’t tamper with the functionality of the site being viewed. The developer also cannot force users to click the ad or submit personal information to it in order to access the extension.

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