The new version of Google's Chrome browser adds speed, password syncing and a new Options tab.
As Web sites become increasingly complex, streaming media becomes more common, and applications migrate from PC-client-based to Web-based, it becomes increasingly important for browsers to be as fast and responsive as possible. In fact, if you spend most of your life in Web-based apps, a speedy browser has gone from being a nice-to-have to a must-have.
The just-released Chrome 10 comes with speed improvements that make Web sites load faster and Web-based apps run more quickly. It also offers a revamped Options interface, such as improved security and better syncing. Put them all together and you have a winning upgrade.
A need for speed
Results showed that Chrome has caught up to the long-time speed champion, Opera. Chrome 10 averaged 312.23 milliseconds (ms) to complete the tests, while Opera 11.01 averaged 309.97ms -- a virtual dead heat. Safari 5.0.3 came in at 406.933ms, with Firefox 3.6.15 well behind at an average 978.37ms and Internet Explorer 8 lagging at 5,035.07ms.
Keep in mind, however, that Internet Explorer 9 could take the lead once it becomes an official release on March 14. My tests showed Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate proved to be fastest of all the browsers with a 274.6ms average time. In addition, Firefox 4 Beta 12 took 321.3ms to complete the tests, essentially a dead heat with Chrome and Opera.
Feeds and speeds are one thing, but personal experience is another. I can vouch that virtually every Web site I visited was exceptionally fast and responsive, whether it was a simple, straightforward page, one that featured plenty of graphics or a Web-based app.
The upshot: If you want fast browsing and responsive Web-based apps, you want this version of Chrome.
Happy news for tweakers
The most noticeable change in Chrome 10 is the Options settings, and they'll be welcomed by tweakers and anyone who ever changes Chrome options. When you click the gear icon in the upper-right corner and select Options (Preferences on a Mac), the menu now opens in its own tab rather than in a relatively small window, as with previous releases, making it easier to find the options you want to change. (Story continues on next page.)
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