Google Unveils 4.0 Beta of Chrome Browser

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Google has released the 4.0 beta of its Chrome browser. The main new feature is a way to synch your bookmarks across multiple computers. The synch technology is based on the same XMPP-based servers that power Google Talk.

Google claims that the browser is also 30% faster than the current release, as measured by Mozilla's Dromeao DOM Core Tests, which, mind you, measures the speed of navigation and of running Javascripts, it does not measure rendering speed. (Google notes that 4.0 runs Dromeao 400% faster than the very first production version of Chrome.) Firefox does pretty well on these tests as well.

For the moment, the 4.0 version that includes bookmark synch is only available in the beta version of Chrome, for which Google makes no guarantees of stability. Albeit, in Google's development hierarchy, beta releases are more proven then developer releases.

The new beta also fixes a bunch of bugs, which range from issues that cause Chrome to crash to issues in which the browser has trouble rendering Web pages.

I have and use Google Chrome, but have yet to find a reason to make it my primary browser over Firefox. Bookmark synch is a nice touch but the world already has numerous cloud bookmarking sites such as my personal favorite,, but also the popular Firefox add-on Xmarks. Delicious not only offers a cloud service for keeping your bookmarks, but also allows you to search and find other bookmarks, which is probably why Google wants to get into the cloud bookmarking gig. On Delicious, sites are ranked, not just by some mysterious relevance algorithm, but by how many others have bookmarked the page.

But then again, about two weeks ago, Delicious announced that it was teaming with Google's rival Yahoo to support Yahoo!ID as a login option for Delicious. I can't imagine this would tick off Google, since Google itself supports this. (Delicious is also supporting Twitter OAuth, so you'll be able to add bookmarks to Delicious from Twitter, too.)

All of this does not mean that Chrome shouldn't offer synched bookmarks. It's just that Firefox users have been doing this for years now.

If I'm going to ditch Firefox, I think I would go with SeaMonkey. This is the reincarnation of the Netscape app suite and offers a great, stable, reliable browser (based on Mozilla's open source code) but also other apps including a freebie HTML editor (plus e-mail & newsgroup client, IRC chat and other web development tools).

So, can someone tell me a reason to ditch Firefox -- or even Internet Explorer or SeaMonkey -- for Chrome?

This story, "Google Unveils 4.0 Beta of Chrome Browser" was originally published by Network World.

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