Chrome 9 brings WebGL support, Chrome Instant

Google has officially updated its Chrome browser to version 9, making it the current stable branch and bringing some technologies previously only available in the developer channel along for the ride - including WebGL support.

Google Chrome 9.0.597.84, to give it its full title, was released late last night for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux - and while its feature list won't come as a surprise to anyone who's been trying the unstable builds from the developer channel, it adds some nice features over the previous Chrome 8 stable series.

Chief among these is support for the Khronos Group's WebGL standard, which allows web developers to access 3D acceleration hardware to create impressive high-performance visuals without the need to install plugins in the browser.

Although WebGL isn't exactly widespread at the moment, as more browsers add in support for the technology, an increasing number of web developers will start to create content that can take advantage of it. While Chrome remains a bit-player in the browser market, its support for WebGL is nevertheless another big step along that path.

Chrome 9 also brings along Chrome Instant, a speed-enhancing feature designed to make your browsing experience a bit quicker. When you start typing a URL or search query into the address bar, the characters are compared to common search queries and your history. When a match is found, it starts loading that page in the background while you continue to type - meaning by the time you've finished typing, the page has already loaded - unless it was pre-loading the wrong one, of course

The latest build also brings stability and speed improvements, along with access to the Chrome Web Store for US users. If you want to upgrade, you can either wait for Google to release the update to the automatic download service built in to Chrome, or snag the latest build yourself from the official website.