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Chrome OS 21 Redesigned Apps List Experience, Performance Updates and More; Introducing Octane JavaScript Benchmark Suite

The stable release of Chrome OS 21.0.1183.0, Platform version: 2465.127.0, released this week, for Chromebooks (Acer AC700, Samsung Series 5 550, Samsung Series 5, and Cr-48) and Samsung Chromebox Series 3 comes with “redesigned apps list experience” making it easier to access favorite apps and websites.

Google says, “the apps list is now much more compact, so you can access your apps without interrupting your browsing experience.” Also a new search box added at the top of the apps list, let you use it like an omnibox to search the web, specific websites, or the apps on your computer.

Also included in this released is “visual improvements such as a redesigned Cloud Print dialog and the ability to add custom wallpaper (for example, a picture of your cute little morkie).”

You can now also save files directly to Google Drive, so you can access files later from any device, including Drive on iOS or Android.

Under the hood, “audio support is now added for USB and HDMI, additional sandboxing security features.”

Here is a full list of updates in version 21:

  • “Re-designed the App list to work alongside your browser and apps
  • New Print UI
  • Now, select your own custom wallpaper
  • New, offline-capable Google Docs app
  • Update Adobe Flash to version
  • Flash Access Support
  • Seccomp Flash sandbox
  • New Shill connection manager
  • WiMax support in Shill
  • LTE Support for modem manager
  • Support Standard USB audio devices
  • Support wireless (bluetooth and others) Gamepads
  • Update GTalk Plug-In to version 3.3.3
  • Update Netflix Plug-in to version 2.0.5
  • Kernel rebased to 3.4
  • Gestures: support 3-finger tap/click as middle button
  • Resolved issues Samsung users were experiencing with Verizon Wireless activation,” informs Xiyuan Xia, Software Engineer and Apps Connoisseur.

Chrome OS version 21 : Redesigned App Lists

Google also released today a “Octane,” a JavaScript benchmark suite to help measure a browser’s performance when running the complex and demanding web applications that users interact with daily.

“Octane extends the former V8 Benchmark Suite with 5 new benchmarks created from full, unaltered, well-known web applications and libraries. A high score in the new benchmarks directly translates to better and smoother performance in similar web applications,” Google said.

Octane also has an interface that makes it easier to read and that adapts automatically to tablet and mobile screens. Here is an overview of the new extended tests:

  • Box2DWeb runs a JavaScript port of a popular 2D physics engine that is behind many well-known simulations and web games.
  • Mandreel puts a JavaScript port of the 3D Bullet Engine to the test with a twist: The original C++ source code for the engine is translated to JavaScript by Onan Games’ Mandreel compiler, which is also used in countless web-based games.
  • Pdf.js is based on Mozilla’s PDF reader and shows how Javascript applications can replace complex native browser plug-ins. It measures how fast the browser decodes a sample PDF document.
  • GB Emulator is derived from an open source emulator of a famous game console running a 3D demo.
  • CodeLoad measures how quickly a JavaScript engine can bootstrap commonly used JavaScript libraries and start executing code in them. The source for this test is derived from open source libraries (Closure, jQuery),” Stefano Cazzulani, Product Manager, informed.

To try out Octane, visit this page, or browse the source code here. Check out Octane’s site for more about each benchmark, and this FAQ.

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