Google Chrome 94 adds new WebGPU API with Apple Metal support

By

Google Chrome updated for Apple Silicon
Grab the latest release today.
Photo: Apple/Google

Google has rolled out its newest Chrome beta with a new WebGPU API that finally adds support for Apple Metal. The version 94 release should lead to improved rendering performance for websites and web apps.

Google’s new WebGPU API promises big improvements over existing WebGL interfaces, which were originally designed for drawing images and not much else. It packs modern features, such as “GPU compute,” and promises more efficient, more predictable performance.

The WebGPU API supports not only Apple Metal, but also other modern graphics platforms — including Microsoft’s Direct3D and Vulkan — which allow for rendering and computation operations on a GPU. But Google believes it will take a little while to experience the full benefits.

Chrome 94 adds Apple Metal support

With the Chrome 94 beta for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android, Google is rolling out its new WebGPU API in trial form. It hopes to ship the API out to everyone in a public release of Chrome in version 99. It will then rely on website developers to take advantage of the WebGPU improvements.

The WebGPU trial is expected to end in Chrome 97, scheduled for release in January 2022. And Google hopes that websites will have started making the most of the improvements by then. The company notes WebGPU support is also “in progress” in both Safari and Firefox.

Apple allows access to the WebGPU and its Metal API in the latest Safari Technology Preview, but it’s yet to make its way to public Safari releases. It is not yet available in Safari 15, which ships with macOS Monterey. It’s though Apple, like Google, plans to officially roll out support in early 2022.

Apple first introduced its Metal API back in 2014, giving developers low-level access to its graphics hardware inside Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. It allows for greater graphics performance while reducing the impact apps and games have on the central processing unit (CPU).