Google released the latest beta version of its Chrome browser today, and if you’re a Windows user on a machine that runs at least Vista, fonts will now look better on your screen. That’s because the Chrome 37 Beta now supports Microsoft’s DirectWrite API, a technology that improves the way fonts look on modern screens.
For the longest time, Google didn’t support this and instead used Windows‘ Graphics Device interface — which is based on technology from the mid-80s, when LED screens were still far off and computers were much slower.
Users have long asked Google to make this switch, but the company says that it “required extensive re-architecting and streamlining of Chrome’s font rendering engine,” so it probably wasn’t the highest priority for the team.
The new version also now supports subpixel font scaling, which enables smooth animations of text between font sizes, and better support for touch events on very high-resolution displays.
Google also thankfully disabled one of the most annoying HTML features: showModalDialog. Very few sites use this, but the ones that do can hold your screen hostage until you actually interact with the dialog.