Chrome 23 Beta improves HTML5 video support

Google has updated both Beta and Dev pre-release channels of its open-source, cross-platform browser, Google Chrome to versions 23 and 24 respectively.

While Google Chrome 24 Dev is a minor update, Google Chrome 23 Beta introduces support for a number of APIs and HTML5 technologies that, while superficially of most interest to web developers, will improve both web-based video playback and real-time audio/video communications over the internet for end users.

Track support for HTML5 video means that in future developers will be able to add elements such as subtitles, captions, chapters, descriptions and metadata to videos. To see how this might effect how you watch HTML5 video in future, check out this demo, which enhances the video of a bike ride by utilising metadata providing both Google Maps and Google Street View data of the rider’s location at any point during the video.

Another video improvement is support for the MediaSource API, which allows video quality to be adapted in real-time based on both network and computer performance to try and avoid both start-up and buffering delays. Again, the folks at Chrome have provided a demo link.

The PeerConnection API allows developers to create web apps that will be able to support real-time audio and video calling with the need for a separate plug-in. Both PeerConnection and getUserMedia APIs represent the next two steps in developing the WebRTC standard, which aims to allow high quality video, audio and data communications on the web. Those running Chrome Beta can road-test this new support via an online demo. Users should start the demo by opening the web page, then sending the URL at the bottom of the screen to a friend.

With the shift to v23, the Google Chrome Dev channel has been updated to version 24.0.1284.2. Changes are minor – updates to the V8 and WebKit engines, plus a number of fixes, including one that crashed Chrome when launching YouTube in full-screen mode.

Both Google Chrome 23.0.1271.10 Beta and Google Chrome 24.0.1284.2 Dev are available as freeware downloads for Mac, Windows and Linux. Those not wishing to test unstable software can also download Google Chrome 22 FINAL to revert to a stable version.

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