Beta version of Chrome supports webgpu and Apple Metal

For quite a number of years, web developers have been able to speed up the drawing of graphics on web pages using the webgl standard, basically a javascript version of opengl.

Opengl is obsolete and on its way away, not least on Apple’s various operating systems where it has not been updated for a long time, but also on Windows where modern graphics frameworks that are closer to the hardware (directx 12 and volcano) more and more take over. The same development is now on its way to the web with a replacement for webgl called webgpu.

The beta version of Chrome 94 that Google has now released has received support for the new technology, and developers can thus start testing graphics card acceleration. In the Mac version, webgpu uses Metal.

With webgpu, web developers will be able to use the computer’s graphics chips not only to draw pictures faster but also to speed up various calculations. It will eventually be able to benefit web apps of various kinds that can thus end up closer to the performance of real desktop applications.

Google expects that webgpu will be included in the standard version of Chrome in 2022 and after that it will probably take some time before many developers have adopted the technology.

Apple has also started experimenting with webgpu in Webkit and has shown a sharp increase in performance.