Google has released its latest version of its Chrome browser, version 18, which features better hardware-accelerated graphics and nine security fixes.

Chrome became the number two browser by worldwide market share this past December, surpassing Firefox but still behind Internet Explorer. Each release adds new features and ways to improve security, in hopes of retaining and attracting users. On the security front, Google offered up to $1 million to hackers who would publicly find security cracks in the Chrome browser, with the goal of implementing changes to fix the flaws.

Those welcome security fixes are implemented in this release, including ways to address one low-severity, five medium-severity, and three high-severity issues. Specifics about the vulnerabilities will be withheld from the public until the majority of Chrome users have updated their browsers. The release also includes the new Adobe Flash Player 11.2.

Futhermore, Chrome 18 adds better graphical capabilities to the browser, and which will even make graphics better on older PCs. Specifically, this updates includes hardware-accelerated rendering for HTML5 Canvas for both Windows and Mac computers. The releases also adds TransGaming’s SwiftShader engine, which makes it possible to render 3D web graphics based on the WebGL standard, even on older machines.

“Today’s web brings beautiful, rich experiences right into your browser,” Googler Vangelis Kokkevis wrote on a company blog. “With Chrome’s most recent Stable channel release, we’ve sped up graphics and drawing performance for users on capable hardware, and enabled fancier 3D content for other users on older computers.”

Google Chrome Japan ad: Junya Ogura/Flickr

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