Google speeds up Chrome

A new beta gives the browser a 30 percent speed improvement, HTML 5 functionality and visual tweaks

Google has released a new beta version of its Chrome browser, adding speed improvements, HTML 5 functionality and other tweaks.

Google introduced Chrome in September, and it has been working on adding standard features found in competing web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera, as well as coming up with its own innovations.

The latest Chrome beta release shows a 30 percent overall speed improvement on benchmarks compared to the current stable release, Google said in a blog post announcing the beta on Wednesday.

JavaScript execution speed has been improved, and Google has made other tweaks to help to make the user experience faster, the company said. When a user opens a new page, for instance, that page gets priority in fetching elements such as text, images and video.

Loading pages has also been made more efficient through the use of DNS caching, more efficient DOM bindings and using the V8 JavaScript engine for proxy auto-configuration, Google said.

In addition, the company said it has started building HTML 5 functionality into the latest release. This includes video tags and web workers, a specification that gives web applications thread-like capabilities.

The beta includes a number of changes to presentation, including the ability to customise the New Tab page, which displays thumbnails of frequently visited sites. Users can now reorganise the thumbnails, pin thumbnails in place and hide parts of the page.

The Omnibox, which suggests web addresses, now includes icons to help distinguish between suggested sites, searches, bookmarks and sites from the browsing history.

Chrome now can be customised with themes, although the Themes Gallery that has been mounted is preliminary, Google said.

"There is still some testing to do — we're only launching some very basic themes and there are still some kinks to work out, but we will add more themes in the future as we roll this out to the stable version," wrote Chrome engineer Glen Murphy in the blog post announcement.

The features are only available in the beta version of Chrome, which receives regular, automatic updates and provides user feedback to Google. The company also offers a stable version of Chrome, but only one version can be used at a time.


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