Google Chrome: Version 8 released, Flash sandbox to dev release

New features, more on the way: Google Chrome ups the ante again.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor on

With no fanfare whatsoever, Google released the stable Version 8 of its Chrome browser to all platforms on Thursday. It also released sandbox support on its development build in cooperation with Adobe to protect systems from rogue Flash applications. Other enhancements to the stable release include at least theoretical support for Google's new Web Store and a sandboxed PDF viewer.

Most news outlets are more excited about the Flash sandbox than Version 8 of Chrome. Unfortunately, the sandbox feature is only available in the development and canary builds of Chrome for Windows at the moment (and yes, that's canary, as in canary in the coal mine; the release is definitely not for mainstream users). The Register, tongue firmly planted in its cheek as always, called the technology "Like airbags for Corvairs." Google and Adobe partnered to mitigate some of the vulnerabilities that tend to plague the ubiquitous Flash platform; an Adobe blog post on the development can be found here.

Version 8 of Chrome now includes a native, sandboxed PDF viewer across all platforms. Not only do users no longer need additional software to read PDFs, but the same sort of sandboxing technology will hopefully prevent some of the frequent malicious PDF attacks that their way around the Web.

Perhaps most interesting to developers, though, is the inclusion of a support framework for Google's upcoming Web Store. Neither the support nor the store itself are live yet, but should be available soon. As Electronista describes, the Web Store will be a solid value for developers of web-based applications that are sold there:

The search giant is attempting to lure developers with its generous financial terms, as listing on the Chrome portal will only require a 5 percent processing fee. In contrast, the App Store and Android Market both fetch 30 percent of all revenue.

Unfortunately, Chrome 8 still seems to be able to eat up tall buildings of RAM in a single bound when users (like me) start opening up lots of windows and lots of tabs. This happens on Firefox, Safari, and IE as well, but I keep hoping that a browser as natively speedy as Chrome will come up with good way to manage memory and performance for Web power users.

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