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Chrome is emerging as third major player in the browser market

At its peak in 2003, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) controlled over 94 percent of the browser market.  Inspired to "free" the world's internet access from the control of one single company, the Mozilla Foundation launched the open source browser Firefox in 2004, a browser which would offer Microsoft its first serious challenge since Netscape Navigator.  And in 2008, Google Inc. (GOOG), makers of the world's most popular search engine, released a second serious open source -- "Chrome".

Today Chrome has an estimated 18.9 percent of the market [source] and is the world's fastest growing browser (Firefox has 20.9 percent, Microsoft's Internet Explorer owns 52.8 percent).

Google this week announced the release of the 18th edition of its popular browser.  Available on every major personal computer platform -- Windows, Linux, and even Macs -- the new version brings fancier graphics and a number of bug fixes.

Google continues to pay top dollar to security researchers for finding flaws in its browser.  It awarded miaubiz, Chamal de Silva, Atte Kettunen of OUSPG, Aki Helin of OUSPG and Arthur Gerkis personal thanks and a bounty of $8,000 USD for helping it fix its flaws.

Serious flaws in OpenType and Skia handling were fixed.  Five "medium" priority handling errors were also patched.

Bugfixes aside, the new release brings GPU acceleration to Canvas2D, a key emerging web standard, which allows for beautiful 2D animations without proprietary standards.  The new releases also adds TransGaming's SwiftShader engine, which allows 3D web graphics based on the WebGL standard.

SwiftShader
SwiftShader is is seen here running 3D Mark '03.  The engine allows for 3D graphics on the web, and has been added exclusively to Google's popular Chrome browser.
[Image Source: TransGaming]

For those looking to get their 3D web gaming on, Google does caution, "Keep in mind that a software-backed WebGL implementation is never going to perform as well as one running on a real GPU, but now more users will have access to basic 3D content on the web."

Sounds like GPU acceleration of WebGL is still a work in progress.

The upgrade also includes a new version of Adobe Systems Inc.'s (ADBE) Flash multimedia platform, which contains bug fixes and performance upgrades of its own.

Sources: Google [1], [2], TransGaming





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