Google has released Google Chrome 28 for Windows, Mac and Linux. The latest version of its open-source, cross-platform web browser sees Google implement the latest revision of its web rendering engine -- Blink -- and also give apps and extensions a better platform for interacting with users outside of the main browser window.
As part of the switch to a "richer" notification system, Chrome introduces a new Notification Center, which works independently of the browser via the taskbar or menubar. Already present in Chrome OS, the center currently only appears on Windows builds with this stable release, but will be extended to Mac and Linux shortly.
The Notification Center will sit outside Chrome and still be functional even when the browser isn’t running, allowing apps and extensions to alert the user to updates. The Notification area icon remains invisible until a notification is sent by a compatible app -- such as Google Music -- has desktop notifications switched on.
Users may also need to check their settings under chrome://flags if nothing continues to appear -- try setting Enable Rich Notifications and Enable Synced Notifications to Enable and also click to enable Google Now notifications support. Restart your PC for the changes to take effect.
The feature is in its infancy, and will rely on developers to provide apps and extensions to take advantage of the feature, which Google suggests could be used to provide a list of unread emails in a mail app or offer thumbnail previews. Interested developers should take a look at the sample Rich Notifications app that Google has provided.
The other notable update in Chrome 28 is the switch to Google’s new Blink rendering engine, a fork of the older WebKit engine previously used by Google, which -- the company claims -- makes it easier for it to add features and security fixes without having to ensure backwards compatibility with WebKit. The Blink rendering engine can also be found in the recently released Opera 15.0 FINAL.
Google Chrome 28 FINAL is available now as a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux. Like all updates, it also contains a number of security fixes including one that resolves confusion when setting up the sign-in and sync tool.