Chrome 23 entered the beta channel this week, bringing with it a number of improvements and new features. The latest beta build of Google’s flagship browser, according to Google software engineer Justin Uberti, has everything developers need “to take video engagement to the next level.”
This build includes the PeerConnection API, making it possible for developers to include real-time audio and video calling capabilities in their web apps without relying on browser plugins. In a blog post announcing the release of the latest Chrome beta, Google’s Justin Uberti hailed the inclusion of PeerConnection API as a significant step in the overall progress of WebRTC, an open-source real-time communications initiative backed by Google.
Also included in this Chrome beta update is support for the HTML5 <track> element, which is meant to “provide an easy, standard way to add subtitles, captions, descriptions, chapters, and metadata to videos.”
Support for the track element is all fine and dandy, but there are times when online video streaming can be a pain in the rear; a recent study found that nearly one in five US Internet users find it difficult to reliably stream HD video over their existing connections. To this end, this release packs the MediaSource API: “It provides a video playback solution that adapts video quality based on changing computer and network conditions to prevent excessive buffering and startup delays for videos -- in other words, your video will play silky smooth for users with no annoying stutters. Watch how smooth this demo video plays despite fluctuations in your network speed.”