Google Chrome Beta

Google yesterday announced a new beta release of Chrome browser. Following Firefox 3.5 tremendous success, this version of Chrome is expected to be somewhat a hit amoung geeks (atleast). The Chrome blog claims that this release is 30% more faster than the older release on both V8 and SunSpider.

The key distinguishing features that can be noted in this release are (other than the speed)

  • Ability to customize the new tab page - Its all yours now and you can drag-drop your favs, organize your most visited sites, remove some if you dont want that to popup and lot more.
  • Improved Omnibox - For me, Omnibox is the key feature of chrome (firefox and IE, both lag this feature). This helps you get into the site you are looking for with just few key strokes and with this release, google has optimized the presentation of the drop down menu and added little icons to distingush between suggested sites, searches, bookmarks and sites from browsing history
  • Tweaking the chrome - You now have the ability to change the way your browser looks - By changing the themes and this can be done simply by visiting the Themes Gallery
  • HTML 5 capabilities - Looks like most of the browsers (of course excluding IE) will hence forth support HTML5 features.Video tag functionality and web workers are included in this release of Chrome. This is inline with Firefox 3.5 support of these features.
  • Better speed - Beyond the improvements in JavaScript execution in this latest beta, there are a host of other improvements that should help Google Chrome make the most of your network connection. For example, when you open a new web page while other web pages are still loading, Google Chrome is now smarter about prioritizing the requests for the new page -- for instance, fetching text, images, and video for your new page -- ahead of the requests from the older pages. Loading pages on this beta release should also be faster than ever with DNS caching, more efficient DOM bindings, and using V8 for proxy auto-config.

Ever since the release of the Chrome, I have been using it for my non-work related stuff - For mail checking, browsing etc. The main reason behind this is speed and efficiency. Undoubtedly Firefox 3.5 is quite faster, but one thing that irritates me is the memory usage.Usually for me, if I keep my firefox window open for the whole day, the memory usage goes upto 500mb (depending on usage) and I am forced to restart the browser. Chrome does not eat so much memory and the other good feature I like is each tab in Chrome is treated a separate process (in a windows environment) and if I think a particular site is taking much memory, I can simply just close that tab (I have heard that even Firefox is going to implement this feature in their future releases)

In another post in the official Google blog, google announced the acquisition of On2 Technologies, a leading creator of high quality video compression technology. This is in tandem of Chrome's support of HTML5 video tag. I had earlier posted how different browser makers differ in the usage of video compression technology and this is probably an effort from google to ease out that so that the video functionality gets included into html specification sooner.

Google chrome beta can be downloaded here.

Author: pradeep