Google on Thursday promoted Chrome 34 to the beta channel for Windows, Mac and Linux, introducing a handful of big new features for users. The latest beta from earlier this month brought Google Now, the company’s excellent predictive intelligence service, to the desktop via a persistent bell icon, which shows you your different cards, such as traffic, weather, etc. Chrome 34 introduces a hands-free Google Voice Search and a ton of under the hood changes, Google said.
Previously, users have been able to use the Voice Search function by downloading a separate extension, but it appears the search giant wants to bake the functionality right into the experience. In addition, the newest Chrome beta also added a new HTML attribute for more responsive images, allowing Web developers to “provide multiple resources in varying resolutions for a single images.” That basically means your browsing experience will be faster on image-heavy sites.
Chrome beta is typically pretty stable, but always tread with caution when trying out unfinished software. It took Google a long time in beta to get the audio feature out to the stable channel, but hopefully Google Now and Google Voice appear in an official release sooner rather than later. Below is Google’s full list of features in Chrome 34 beta.
- Responsive Images and Unprefixed Web Audio
- Hands-free Google Voice Search in Chrome
- Import supervised users onto new computers
- A number of new apps/extension APIs
- Lots of under the hood changes for stability and performance