Chrome 10: Lean and mean

Google releases beta version of Chrome 10 with big changes

February 23, 2011
Chrome 10: Lean and mean

Google released a stable version of Chrome 9 earlier this month but now the company has also pushed out a beta version of Chrome 10. As usual, there are many speed enhancements as well as changes in synchronisation and some of the dialog boxes.

The biggest, or at least the most noticeable of the changes in Chrome 10 is the completely revamped settings interface. Google has completely redone the settings options which are now presented as a tab rather than a dialogue box.

One of the main benefits of the new settings interface is that it makes it easier to find the right settings option for what you want to achieve. This is increasingly important as Google adds more capabilities to the browser. The new settings interface has a search bar which accepts keywords to find the appropriate settings option.

Less obvious in Chrome 10 are the under-the-hood changes. The most important of these are the speed enhancements in the V8 Javascript engine. According to Google the speed improvements in Chrome 10 are as much as 66% faster than previous versions.

Aside from Javascript performance enhancements, Chrome 10 also includes the start of GPU (graphics processing unit) assisted video viewing. This means that the browser hands off the task of processing video streams to the computer’s GPU, freeing up the browser for other tasks. According to Google this means that “users with capable graphics hardware should see a significant decrease in CPU usage. In full screen mode, CPU usage may decrease by as much as 80%.”

Chrome 10 also includes better password synchronisation which allows users to save passwords along with bookmarks, extensions, apps and themes. These are stored into a Google Account so that they are available to the user no matter which computer they use to access the web. The synchronisation options can be used across multiple machines and across operating systems.

Changes afoot

While Chrome 10 mostly looks similar to its predecessors this could all change as developers consider interface changes for future releases. In a recent discussion forum, Chrome developers considered options for transforming the Chrome interface.

One of the major changes being looked at is aimed at removing the address bar from the browser (or rather, hiding it) in an even more aggressive attempt to maximise screen space. The suggestion is that the URL be hidden from the user and only visible when a tab is clicked or a page is loading.

None of the current suggestions have been formally adopted but Chrome 11 could see the start of a new interface design.

The beta version of Chrome 10 can be downloaded now.

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