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Chrome beta disses plug-ins, speeds tapping on Android

The new beta of Google's browser also adds support for animated WebP images and an interface that lets Web apps vibrate the phone.

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Google released a beta of Chrome 32 on Thursday, fulfilling a promise to block many plug-ins and speeding up some tap operations on Android.

And Imgur fans will be eager to know that the new release also brings support for animated WebP images, a feature already added to Google's image format but that had to overcome hurdles before finding a place in Chrome, too. Some advocated for a shift to plain old video, but animated GIFs have attained newfound popularity. Google promises smaller file sizes with animated WebP as an alternative, said Urvang Joshi, the Google programmer who championed animated WebP support for Chrome, in a blog post Thursday.

In September, Google announced that it will ban plug-ins that use the NPAPI technology for interfacing with the browser and giving it extra abilities. The ban doesn't affect Adobe Systems' Flash Player, by far the most widely used plug-in, and will only affect several other widely used plug-ins after a more graceful phase-out period.

On Android, the Chrome 32 beta ditches a 0.3-second delay that bogged down the process of tapping on a link. The delay was necessary to make sure people weren't double-tapping to reformat a Web page for a mobile device. The delay is disabled for Web pages that Chrome judges to be designed specifically for mobile screens -- another incentive for Web developers to adjust to the mobile market.

The new browser also supports the Vibration interface, which lets Web apps buzz your phone the way native apps already can. That's one small step of the laborious process of trying to bring Web apps up to parity with those written directly for Android and iOS apps.