Google Chrome Web Browser to get a makeover

Google's Chrome Web browser's interface is getting a modest, but significant, makeover to make it more usable.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Chrome 14 is great, but the forthcoming Chrome 15 looks like it will be even better. This release, which is now in beta, boasts three new tab pages. These will make it easier to get to your Chrome apps, most visited sites, and bookmarks.

The new Chrome 15 tab pages appear in three different sections on the bottom of all Web pages. You can flip between these different sections by clicking the section labels at the bottom of the page or by using the arrows at the side of the page. When you open a new tab, Chrome will default to opening the last tab page you had on.

It's a simple change, but it's one I'm already finding very useful. In particular, I appreciate having one click access to my bookmarks. The one change Chrome made to the traditional Web browser that I hadn't liked was the way it placed bookmarks under the wrench. This made going to a bookmarked site, if it wasn't one of my top sites, a three-step operation. Now, even without a bookmark bar, I just have to make one click and I'm able to browse my bookmarks. For me, this is a real change for the better.

Chrome 14: Pretty and Fast. (Gallery)

Not everyone likes this change. A lot of people want a floating bookmark bar, but I don't see it myself. Google 15 still lets you have a fixed bookmark bar, so I don't get what all the fuss is about. That said, I think Google needs to improve the bookmark tab's looks. Still, I've no doubt that Google will clean this up. This looks exactly like the kind of cosmetic problem that you expect to see in a beta release.

The new tab pages also let you re-arrange apps on a page by dragging and dropping them. An even better feature, if you have a lot of Chrome apps, is that you can now create a new apps section by dragging an app to the bottom of the page until a new apps section appears. You can then name the section to something that works for you--Games for Chrome Games; Work for Google Docs and Google Mail; Entertainment for Google Music and YouTube and so on.

In addition, the JavaScript Fullscreen application programming interface (API) is now enabled by default. This means just what it says. You'll be able to run some JavaScript applications as full-screen applications.

Finally, the Omnibox History, a history of everything entered into the Address/Search bar, can now be synced between Chrome browser instances with Google Sync This will let you sync your Chrome search history across multiple PCs and other devices.

The bottom-line is that the Chrome Web browser is continuing, ala Chrome OS, to become an easy-to-user interface for anything that you might want to do on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. I'm going to be watching it closely to see where it goes from here.

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