Chrome 19: The Best Web browser just keeps getting better

Chrome 19: The Best Web browser just keeps getting better

Summary: A new edition of Chrome appears, and, yes, once again, it's better than the last version and it's much better than the competition.

TOPICS: Browser, Apps, Google

With Chrome 19 you can sync tabs between PCs and Android smartphones.

With Chrome 19 you can sync tabs between PCs and Android smartphones.

The Google Chrome Web browser just keeps getting better and better. The just released Chrome 19 is a perfect example of this.

Besides fixing a slew of security problems, Chrome 19's niftiest new feature is tab syncing. Chrome has long given you the power to sync your bookmarks, apps, extensions, history, themes, and other settings. Now, you can sync your open tabs as well between computers, and if you're lucky enough to have an Android smartphone with Ice Cream Sandwich, which supports the beta Chrome for Android, you can sync them with your phone as well.

Here's how it works. When you're signed in to Google, your open tabs are automatically synced across all your devices. To get to them, simply open a new tab on your browser and on the bottom left there's an "Other devices" menu on the center-left of the bottom of the page. From it, you can see all your other Chrome sessions and their open tabs. Want to open one on tabs from say your work computer? Just click on it and you're on way.

This is neat. This makes it easier than ever to never lose track of what you were doing in your various browsers.

It's also just a wee-bit creepy. If you share your Google log-in with other people on other PCs, you'll be able to see what they're looking at on their Chrome sessions. Mind you, for security reasons you shouldn't be doing that anyway, but it is something to keep in mind. Or, to flip it around, if you're in the habit of leaving your work computer on and you left Chrome running while you were logged in, someone could come by your office desk and see what tabs you have open on Chrome on your home PC. In short, don't be careless when you're using this feature.

On the other hand, Chrome gives you many privacy-tweaking settings. To get to those, go to the Options menu, and from there, head to the Under the Hood tab. Once there, you can control what happens with cookies, including Flash cookies now; image displays; JavaScript; plug-ins; pop-ups, and location information. You can also turn on Chrome's built-in Adobe Flash plug-in and PDF reader. Both of these are turned off by default.

If like me, you're a little tired of the endless flood of Adobe security problems, you'll welcome Chrome's version of them. Even if they go wrong in Chrome, at least they'll be stuck inside Chrome's sandbox where they won't be able to do mischief in the rest of your computer.

Some people have been having trouble with Chrome 18 on Windows 7 64-bits. Their problems seemed to show up most often when they were running lots of tabs at once with a heavy Adobe Flash use. So, I decided to see if I could duplicate their problems on my test PC.

My Web browser testing system is a Gateway DX4710 running Windows 7 SP1. This PC is powered by a 2.5-GHz Intel Core 2 Quad processor and has 6GBs of RAM and an Intel GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) 3100 for graphics. It's hooked to the Internet via a Netgear Gigabit Ethernet switch, which, in turn, is hooked up to a 100Mbps (Megabit per second) cable Internet connection.

On it, I opened 40 plus tabs at once multiple times in the last 24-hours. Half of them, like YouTube, included a lot of active Flash content. I couldn't get a single lock-up or crash from it. I then left them running for six hours, thinking perhaps a memory leak problem was to blame. Again, everything went fine afterwards.

I can't say that you won't have problems with this new version of Chrome. All I can say is that on my Windows 7 box, and on my various Linux and Mac boxes as well, Chrome 19 never faltered no matter how heavy a load I put on it.

As for the basics, Chrome 19 remains as easy to install and use on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows as ever. You simply download it from the site, run the program and in less than two minutes you'll be up and running it.

Chrome's interface is also as clean as ever. The Omnibox, the combined search and location box is still on top. Underneath it, you'll find the tabs, on the right top you'll find the bookmark icon and that's about it. There are only a handful of control buttons. If you want to adjust the browser's looks and behavior you'll need to go to the wrench icon and look at the menus it hides.

Once there, you'll discover there's not a lot you can do with Chrome's looks. If you want to give your Web browser a make-over to get it looking and working just they way you want Firefox is still the browser for you.

Chrome on the Benchmark Rank

Moving on to the benchmarks, Chrome gets a perfect score on the Acid 3 compatibility test, which checks how well a browser complies with various Web standards such as CSS, JavaScript, and Extensible Markup Language (XML). But, then all modern browsers score perfectly on this test these days. If your browser doesn't get a perfect score-update it. Now.

On the HTML5 Test, which checks to see how compliant the Web browser is with the HTML5 Web page standard, Chrome 19 scored 402 out of a possible 500. The new Firefox 12 was way behind with 345 points. Internet Explorer 9? It scored a dismal 138 points.

For my first benchmark I used Google'sJavaScript V8 Benchmark Suite, where higher scores are better. As you might expect, Chrome crushed Firefox and IE with a score of 9,091. Firefox took a distant second with 5,505. IE was way behind the open-source browsers with a score of 2,112.

On the old, SunSpider 0.9.1, JavaScript test where lower results are better, Chrome did OK with a score of 256.9ms. IE nosed ahead though with a score of 252.7ms to take first place. Firefox came in last with 296.5ms.

On the Peacekeeper Web browser test suite, which looks at JavaScript performance and looks in on HTML5 compatibility, video codec support and other Web browser features, higher scores are better. On Peacekeeper, Chrome won once more. On this benchmark, where higher is better and Chrome took first with a score of 2,241. Firefox followed with a far slower 1,557 and IE was back in the rear with 1,347.

The bottom line is that Chrome is simply the fastest Web browser out there. It's also, from where I sit, one of the most secure browsers and I really like its clean interface and its features. As far as I'm concerned, Chrome is still easily the best browser out there. As always, you don't have to take my word for it. Try Chrome yourself. I think you'll find, as hundreds of millions of other Chrome users have, that Chrome will become your first choice in Web browsers.

Related Stories:

Google Chrome 19 is out

Will the Google Chrome Web browser come to Apple's iPads and iPhones?

Is Microsoft blocking Chrome and Firefox from native Windows RT a big deal?

Google joins Windows 8 browser war with plans for Metro Chrome

Do I have to leave Google Chrome behind?

Topics: Browser, Apps, Google

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  • Wish list

    Would love to love Chrome but can't get used to the idea of having to dig down a level for my hundreds of saved bookmarks instead of having them readily accessible in the sidebar.

    Why must techies be jealous of those who invent the best way of doing things before them. Shades of MS Word (jealous of WordPerfect) and the CUI (crappy user interface) keyboard (Gates jealous of WordPerfect). Say, WP must've been doing something right. But I digress.
  • That's your opinion

    In my opinion, nothing justifies replacing IE on Windows systems in your apparently endless search for a reinvented wheel.

    Just another opinion ;-)
    • No Tony and Johnny, it isn't

      [i]In my opinion, nothing justifies replacing IE on Windows systems in your apparently endless search for a reinvented wheel.[/i]

      @Johnny Vegas
      [i]No need to wait. IE has the best real world performance on the actual web sites people use most.[/i]

      Really, try another guys, even if it's Firefox or Opera -- just for the pleasant surprise. IE will get you by... but little else. Internet Explorer had its day in the sun, but that apex came and went many a release ago.
      • Lol Tony, most people dont agree with you

        Just look at the Browser market share provided by Statcounter or most any other metric company except NetApplications.

        You will see that Chrome holds about as many users as IE does, anywhere between 25-30% both. While Chrome increases IE decreases. You can look it up in wikipedia. Actually sometime this month or next Chrome will have more users than IE Worldwide!

        Now if you look at W3Schools stats (developers site), Chrome and Firefox outdo IE by over a 2 to 1 margin (Chrome 38%, FF 36%, IE 18%). So, in other words, those that know computers have stopped using IE a long time ago!

        On a side note, you may come back with NetApplications figures. Its a company I dont trust, as its figures are always misleading and are way off with what you see on your own webpages and other metric companies!
      • So what do you do...

        When a website refuses to run on anything but IE? Not one of these alternative browsers has full functionality, especially with web-based applications. Running multiple browsers at once introduces additional overhead that saps the computer of any performance improvement those alternate browser might offer.

        This is less a problem at home than at work, but as long as it's an issue anywhere, an alternative browser has to beat IE by several country miles to justify the hassle and overhead of running multiple browsers.
    • IE is good, Chrome is faster.

      IE is good and I use it every day at work. However, Chrome seems much faster and more useable, so I've been using it at home. Security is more of an issue with Chrome, but I'm accepting the risk for now.
    • I use Chrome most of the time, but

      when I want video that works reliably, back to IE. IE has its issues, Chrome has its issues, FF is just trash, locks up on me all the time.

      Between the three, I can get by.
  • No reason to compare to IE9

    IE9 is a couple of years old. Talk to me when IE10 is out!
    • Wait, What Are You Saying?

      You're going to suspend your internet use until IE 10 is out? Suspend it again until IE11 if something else is still outperforming?

      Or are you going to look at the results and not do the obvious thing: which is get Chrome! It costs nothing and if you still prefer IE9, use that. No one cares.

      But for those of us who are willing to look at benchmarks of what is available today, maybe the correct response I should make here is, who, exactly, was talking to you?
      • No need to wait. IE has the best real world performance on the actual

        web sites people use most. The silly js benchmarks that measure a single digit fraction of the overall page load performance are virtually meaningless. Also meaningless to use acid 3 for true css compliance.
        Johnny Vegas
      • Laugh of the day

        [i]Talk to me when IE10 is out![/i]

        No, that doesn't work my friend. Nice try though. :D

        [i]Wait, what are you saying? You're going to suspend your internet use until IE 10 is out?[/i]

        ROTFL :p
  • tab syncing?

    I don't think I've ever wished for Tab syncing across devices. Bookmark syncing for sure but not Tab syncing.
    • the sad thing...

      is that he's so excited about it when Firefox has had it for years.
      • Except Chrome isn't a massive memory hog

        Firefox you can have one tab open and suck up 200MB of memory.

      • One tab comparison? Really?

        It's multi-tab where Chrome becomes the real hog.
        Michael Alan Goff
  • Chrome 19: The Best Web browser just keeps getting better

    Does better mean taking your data and claiming ownership of it?
    Loverock Davidson-
    • I see your point and raise you

      Be honest Loverock, do you also steer clear of Google for the same reason, only to take the pain of Bing? Remember, the truth will set you free.
      • Yes I do

        At least with Microsoft I know my data is safe and they aren't trying to claim it as their own.
        Loverock Davidson-
      • It's a shame Google got into the data mining game

        And so deeply and unashamedly, as it has raised many a rankle (including my own). That said, I still feel they have the cleanest search portal and best search engine -- in fact by far. I've also used Google search from its earliest days on the web, and have yet to find anything superior -- not then, and not now.

        Alas, except the privacy intrusion factor that became manifest in more recent years.
    • Debating leaving Chrome because of that

      Ever since I found out about Chrome over a year ago, I've put it on every computer I touch. With everything in the news over the last few months and realizing how scary it is to see ads based on what is in the email I'm reading, I'm seriously thinking about switching back to IE9 as my main browser.

      I guess if/when I get a WindowsRT tablet as my primary web-surfing device, I won't have to worry about Chrome since they can't possibly make a web browser based off the RT APIs (sarcasm).