New Chrome Beta Proves Seriously Speedy
The new beta of Chrome for Windows is nearly a fifth faster than its more stable sibling, but still lags behind speed leader Opera, benchmark tests show.
On Tuesday, Google said the newest Chrome beta was 35% faster on the SunSpider tests than the beta of its earlier version 4.0 for Windows. Computerworld wasn't able to verify that claim -- Google updates its browser automatically, without user intervention, making it difficult to keep Chrome on a specific version -- but also tested the newest beta against the previous beta, marked as Chrome 5.0.342.8.
The update boosted Chrome's speed by 6% over that beta, which Google released in late March.
Other additions include support for several HTML5 features, such as geo-location and drag-and-drop; synchronization of browser settings to effectively "clone" Chrome on multiple machines; and the ability to use extensions when working in Chrome's "Incognito" private browsing mode.
This beta also introduces the integration of Adobe's Flash Player to Chrome's beta channel.
Google debuted built-in Flash in developer builds at the end of March, when it announced a partnership with Adobe, and said it was packaging Flash with Chrome downloads and would silently update the often-patched media player using the browser's background mechanism.
The move, Adobe said at the time, would keep Chrome users safer since they wouldn't have to remember to update or deal with update notifications.
The new Chrome beta is 17% faster than Google's current "stable" edition. (SunSpider results: Small values are better.)
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld . Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
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