by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

What is new in Google Chrome 24

The 2nd stable browser release took place today India time, with the release of Google Chrome 24 in the stable channel.  In case you do wonder, the 1st stable browser release was that of Firefox 18, three days back.

Is it coincidence or is it intended is not known, but both the browsers claim an almost identical 26% speed improvement in their handling of JavaScript and hence, browser speed.

Well, Google and Mozilla can split their (or each others’) hairs over it; for normal users a millisecond here or there isn’t going to do much for browsing experience.  On the contrary, if speed increases are real, we can surely expect web designers to add a little more script to the webpages - in the name of making them more attractive, thus pegging our experienced speed at old level.

What interests us are the new features.  Google Chrome 24 for the first time supports MathML, HTML5 datalists, Automatic Password Generation and CSS Custom Filters, called ‘CSS Shaders’. 

I haven’t yet tested HTML5 datalists, but Google Chrome has excellent support for CSS Shaders.  It is off by default and has to be toggled ON in the chrome://flags page (Enable CSS Shaders option).  Once enabled, designers will be able to effect visual effects like curling corners or cinematic transitions with simple CSS codes.  To my mind, along with WebRTC introduced in Chrome 22, the CSS shader support has the potential to change the way we interact with the web and others.

Don’t for a minute think that CSS Shader effect is like the old curled page shadings we used to have.  It is much more.  Here is a screen grab of what what can be done with CSS custom filters (demo page @  Watch a flat earth morph into a sphere.

CSS Custom Filter in Google Chrome 24

Sadly, the other 2 features will have to be grouped under ‘experimental’. 

After struggling for over 2 hours, I can’t get the Automatic Password Generation to work.  Once again, it is off by default and has to be toggled ON in the chrome://flags page.  Once we toggle the Enable password generation option, a new checkbox Enable automatic password generation appears in chrome://settings page under Advanced Settings -> Passwords and forms.


This option, once enabled is supposed to make Chrome 24 create and suggest passwords on sites which (Chrome senses) require new passwords.  But I can’t get it to work as yet.

The MathML native support is better and it works, sort of.  It is not as good as that of Firefox, though.

Here is a snapshot of 3 browsers (IE 9, FF 18 & Chrome 24) on the test / demo page @


IE 9 without MathML plugin is horrible.  Firefox 18 is superb.  Google Chrome 24 still has some problems displaying Trigonometry and Calculus, though it doesn’t mangle it like IE 9.

All above apart, what should interest us more is the number of security fixes - incidentally ~24 including 11 of which are rated High.

All of which makes a case for us to immediately upgrade to Google Chrome 24, if automatic updates aren’t on.

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