Chrome, Opera pass Epic Citadel demo's Web graphics test

Chrome and Opera have become the first browsers to match Mozilla Firefox's support for Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 and the Web-based Epic Citadel demo that's built on the 3D graphics technology. The demo's computing challenges include 3D graphics covered with 2D textures, rustling leaves, flowing water, reflective stone floors, lens flare, and shadows and other lighting effects.

Mozilla and Epic Games demonstrated the advanced Web programming in March using a combination of Mozilla technologies: Emscripten that converts C or C++ software into JavaScript, and asm.js that can run a specialized subset of JavaScript much faster. … Read more

Waze finally shows up in desktop Google Maps

New features that began arriving in Google Maps on Wednesday show that the company has begun to cross-pollinate Maps features throughout the service.

Traffic incident and road condition reports from real-time traffic app Waze, which Google bought in June for $966 million and began showing up in Google Maps' mobile apps in August, will now appear in desktop Web browsers.

Google also has tweaked the interface of Maps a bit, pushing its Pegman character to the lower right corner, and making roads with Street View appear in blue when you click on Pegman. New blue and orange circles will indicate … Read more

OpenCL 2.0 brings new graphics-chip power to software

The Khronos Group announced OpenCL 2.0 on Monday, an update designed to give graphics chips more independence and therefore power when running general-purpose software.

OpenCL provides a standard mechanism for software to tap into the computational power of graphics chips, and the Khronos Group standardizes it. It announced a provisional 2.0 specification the Siggraph 2013 conference this week, planning to make it final after a six-month feedback period.

Graphics processing units (GPUs) are geared for graphics chores, of course, but they're also becoming steadily more capable of handling jobs ordinarily assigned to the general-purpose central processing unit (… Read more

Leak confirms WebGL, SPDY for IE11

If Internet Explorer 10 impressed you, you're going to love what we now expect from IE11 at Microsoft's Build conference on Wednesday.

Information leaked by a Microsoft Developer Network subscriber appears to confirm long-rumored details on what's going to be included in Internet Explorer 11.

The next major version of the browser, expected to arrive with Windows 8.1 later this year, will include support for many under-the-hood features that Firefox and Chrome already offer, and some that they don't.

According to Microsoft-News.com, IE11 will include WebGL support, a standard originally from Mozilla that makes … Read more

Pics.io to bring Lightroom-like software to browsers

At startup Pics.io, a Ukrainian trio thinks it's time for the Web browser to take on a computing task that thus far has resisted the inexorable shift toward cloud computing: raw photo editing.

Eager for higher quality and flexibility, photography enthusiasts and pros have gravitated toward raw photos formats, which record cameras' image data directly without processing into a more convenient but limited JPEG. But handling raw photos is a processor-intensive task -- the kind of thing that Web-based software historically hasn't been good at and the kind of thing that people buy specialized software such as … Read more

Change of heart? IE11 might speed Web graphics with WebGL

Microsoft's next version of Internet Explorer might just support WebGL, a standard for accelerated 3D graphics on the Web that the company previously has attacked as a security risk.

A leaked version of the next version of Windows, code-named Blue, came with a version of IE11, and developer's scrutiny of the browser shows evidence of WebGL.

"It seems like WebGL interfaces are defined but not functional at this time," said Web developer and author Francois Remy in a blog post this week. That means that the IE11 build has some infrastructure in place to support WebGL, … Read more

Chrome for Android gets adventurous with WebGL

Google has released a new beta of its Chrome browser for Android that gives people the option to try new features such as WebGL and CSS graphics features.

The update, the third since the inaugural version of the Chrome beta for Android, shows not only more of the browser team's ambition but also a faster pace of change.

The unbranded stock browser that shipped with Android for years moved comparatively glacially, but in particular with the new Chrome beta releases for Android, Google is pushing for a broader feature set. And the code base is evidently an offshoot of … Read more

Zoom around the vast Milky Way in a browser

In the grand scheme of things, it's fair to say our solar system is very tiny.

You might especially agree with that statement after viewing 100,000 Stars, a Google Chrome Experiment Web page that gives anyone the chance surf around the our slice of the universe from the comfort of their Internet browser. Spacesuit and oxygen supply optional. … Read more

Web standards vet marches Microsoft to the front lines (Q&A)

You might think developing technology standards is plodding, bureaucratic tedium compared to something like the frenzy of smartphone innovation.

But you'd be wrong, at least in the case of Paul Cotton, who leads Microsoft's involvement in the important and often fractious world of Web standards. Web standards are hot -- and hotly contested.

Cotton, an even-keeled Canadian, discovered a passion for standards more than 20 years ago when figuring out how to digitize airplane maintenance manuals. He's comfortable with the contradictory motives of standards groups: fierce competition one moment and gentlemanly cooperation the next.

It's a … Read more

Google and Lego launch brick building for your browser

Find yourself a little bored at work, or maybe want to embark on a half-hour adventure away from the norm?

Wander over to Build, a virtual Lego play set placed upon a Google Maps view of the land Down Under. The interactive Web site, perfect for amateur architects, uses 3D graphics powered by WebGL -- supported by most modern browsers such as Chrome and Firefox (Internet Explorer 9, however, provided a nonfunctional experience).

To start, each user picks a plot of land in Australia or New Zealand. Builders choose from 12 different basic brick styles, as well as a door and window. The opportunities seem slightly limited with such a small selection of bricks, but at least you can choose from a range of prismatic hues. … Read more