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Chrome gets camera access, removes OS X Leopard support

Google has released a new beta version of Chrome. The update, which brings Chrome up to version 22.0.1201.0, adds Web app access to a device's camera and microphone, as well as richer game play via standard video game controllers.

The company also announced that upcoming versions of Chrome will no longer support older versions of Mac OS X.

With the getUserMedia API, developers can bypass plug-ins and access a device's camera and mic from within the browser utilising WebRTC, a new real-time communications standard.

Combining getUserMedia with features like CSS filters and WebGL allows for various effects as video is captured. "For example, you can rotate the video and add hipstery filters, play a xylophone with motion detection, try on glasses with face detection, and step into a photobooth with crazy effects like 'Snow' and 'Fire,'" Google said.

The second API, Gamepad Javascript, will let Chrome recognise standard game controllers.

The new beta also improves support for Google Cloud Print. "Now your printers in Google Cloud Print are integrated right into Chrome's print dialog, so you can easily print to your Cloud Ready printer, Google Drive, Chrome on your mobile device, or one of over 1,800 FedEx Offices," Google said.

New Chrome features won't be available to everyone, though, since Google announced yesterday that upcoming versions of its Web browser will drop support for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

"Please note, on Mac we now require 10.6 or higher, and this release will not be available if you are on 10.5 or lower," Chrome technical program manager Jason Kersey wrote in a separate blog post about the dev version of Chrome 22.

Leopard users should soak up Google Chrome while they can, though the change could serve as incentive for an upgrade soon. The Golden Master version of Apple's OS X Mountain Lion was recently released to developers, meaning the release of the public version is imminent.