There's been some confusion lately about a new Microsoft technology called Chrome, but the company is readying a public beta and attempting to educate developers on its merits. At its most basic level, the Chrome technology marries DirectX with Dynamic HTML so that Web developers can use the many advanced effects possible in DirectX with their Web sites.

"Chrome provides a framework for enabling developers to easily incorporate and combine multiple types of media into an integrated application," said Leslie Evans, Microsoft's product manager for Chrome and DirectX. "To date, building compelling \[Web\] content has required specialized, high-end tools. Chrome brings 3-D authoring capabilities to the HTML author."

Originally, Chrome was thought to be a component of Internet Explorer 5.0, but the technology isn't tied to that browser. In fact, Chrome will work fine in IE 4.0, though it does have some stiff hardware requirements: At least a 350 MHz Pentium II system with AGP graphics and 64 MB RAM. A final name and marketing plan for Chrome hasn't been finalized, but the technology will likely be included in future releases of Windows 98 and in Windows NT 5.0.

The public beta of Chrome will begin in July, according to Microsoft