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Chrome accelerates AI applications using WebGPU

The Chrome browser makes local processing of AI algorithms more efficient
(photo: CC0 Public Domain)

Google announced officially support for WebGPU technology in Chrome – it provides hardware acceleration for some web applications through direct access of the browser to the resources of the graphics processor. This will help computers locally process not only 3D graphics, but also artificial intelligence algorithms.

“With WebGPU, the web is ready for AI,” said Matt Waddle, head of developer and user development at the Chrome project, in an interview with CNET ahead of the Google I/O conference. At the event, the company will demonstrate the work of the web application Stability AI – this is an AI algorithm that generates images based on a text description.

Google’s move reflects the development of AI technologies that have long been behind the scenes but have become more visible with the emergence of next-generation generative platforms such as OpenAI ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing, Google Bard and Adobe Firefly.

The hardware resources of phones and laptops are much more modest than the computing power of the data center, but the ability to run AI applications locally, rather than in the cloud, can hardly be underestimated – problems related to network failures, as well as the transfer of personal data will be a thing of the past.

WebGPU technology dates back to projects by Google, Apple and other companies that planned to give web applications access to GPUs, a privilege that only games had. However, it soon became clear that GPUs are also effective as accelerators of AI algorithms.

Meanwhile, Google announced the start of a partnership project with the Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Microsoft Edge teams that will allow developers to ensure compatibility of their applications with different browsers.

At Google I/O, the Internet giant will also demonstrate new features of WebAssembly (Wasm) technology, which allows application software such as Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk AutoCAD to run in the browser. Now support for the Kotlin language has appeared in Wasm – it is often used when creating Android applications, which means that developers of professional software will be able to attract new users from other platforms.

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