Google Chrome 21 comes with native communication and cloud print support (without Flash)

In a move which most of the critics of rapid update cycle call to be one of those rare moments when major changes that really affect users get incorporated in an upgrade, Google Chrome has added native support for communication services such as webcam and microphone in its latest version 21.

Google Chrome 21 now includes the getUserMedia API, an API which enables websites to access the webcam and mic of users without the need of any third-party plug-ins. The Google Chrome Blog notes that this is one of the first steps towards implementing WebRTC, and this API implementation allows developers to do some cool sh!t:

The getUserMedia API also allows sites to create cool new experiences that weren’t previously possible in the browser. For example, Romuald Quantin and Magnus Dahlstrand at Stinkdigital have created a Magic Xylophone that you can play just by waving your hands in front of the camera.

Opera 12 already supports WebRTC, which allows for real-time communication; and, as we reported earlier, Microsoft is working on providing WebRTC support for Skype. At the same time, Mozilla is also working behind the scenes to get friendly with getUserMedia and WebRTC.

Chrome 21 update also brings with it many other new features including integration to Google Cloud Print, which is now available within the print dialog box of Google Chrome, making it easier to print to a variety of your services or devices without having to be physically connected.

At the time of this writing, Chrome 21 is still in Beta. So to test out all these new cool features, step on over the Beta release channel of Google Chrome, if you aren’t there already.

[via Google Chrome Blog]

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