WebGPU API now available in Chrome 113 Beta
Google announces the first pre-release Chrome browser supports the new WebGPU API.
WebGPU is a new graphics API which has been under development since 2017. This API takes advantage of an advanced computation operations on a GPU, providing more low-level access for developers. This way, they can take the advantage of the GPU processing power that would otherwise not be available with other GPU like WebGL. What is important to note is that WebGPU is not directly related to WebGL and does not target OpenGL ES in any particular way. However, Google Dev team did name it a ‘successor to WebGL/2 API.
The WebGPU API has direct access to the hardware through GPUAdapter function, where it can access each device and queue commands through advanced render pipelines that can execute shaders. With access to the GPU devices directly, the API can perform high-performance computations and draw complex images, all of which are rendered in the browser.
Initial #WebGPU support lands in PlayCanvas Engine 1.62! 🚀
— PlayCanvas (@playcanvas) March 31, 2023
The development of WebGPU API is not just to provide more functions and performance, it was a necessity. The popular WebGL library based on OpenGL will no longer see any updates (OpenGL is no longer developed). On the other hand, WebGPU will be actively developed based on the input from developers, the plan is to add new features going forwards.
In case one is wondering about the support for WebGPU, there is a very long way ahead before support is deployed by most popular browsers. Chrome 113 is not a stable version and neither Firefox nor Safari support it yet, those are still a work-in-progress. However, developers now have an option to download standalone packages to start testing the new API.