A Quick Tour of Google Chrome 9: Instant Search, 3D, and Apps

Google has launched version 9 of its Chrome browser, which features Chrome Instant search, a speed enhancer that loads Web pages as you type a URL. Other notable upgrades include WebGL support for hardware-accelerated 3D graphics, as well as access to Google's new Chrome Web Store.

Chrome users don't have to do anything to upgrade to version 9, which downloads and installs automatically. You'll see this message when the upgrade is complete, and Chrome needs to restart:

For most users, Chrome Instant will be the most noticeable change. It's turned off by default, however. To activate it, go to the Basics tab of Chrome's options and check the box in the Search section:

With Instant enabled, most Web pages will load as soon as you type a URL in the search box (or "omnibox" in Google's parlance). In the example below, the PCWorld site appeared as soon as I typed "pc" in the omnibox.

WebGL support brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser--without the need for additional software. Google's Body Browser, for instance, uses WebGL to employ a computer's GPU to speed up rendering of 3D graphics:

Lastly, Chrome users in the United States can now access the Chrome Web Store:

There's a link to the store on the New Tab page, plus two sample apps. If you ignore the sample apps, they'll eventually disappear.

Overall, Chrome 9 adds some compelling upgrades while retaining the speed and simplicity that makes Google's browser so compelling. Do check it out.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci ) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com .

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