No, that's not an IP address. While Microsoft prefers to hide incremental update designations in Internet Explorer to confound hackers, Google wants everyone to know that its engineers are upgrading everything as fast as they can.
At the same time, Google recognizes that some of its users may be confounded by its impenetrable version designations. "We're referring to this as Chrome 2, but that's mainly a metric to help us keep track of changes internally," concedes Google software engineer Darin Fisher in a blog post. "We don't give too much weight to version numbers and will continue to roll out useful updates as often as possible."
Google is wisely avoiding comparisons with other browsers, leaving lawyer-bait claims about having "the world's fastest and most innovative browser" to Apple.
Google made a beta version of this release available in March. It was designated 18.104.22.168. The new version is being called a stable release, to distinguish it from beta or developer releases.
IT administrators and distribution partners prefer to deal with software designated as stable or official so they don't have to explain to management why they allowed beta software to be installed in the event bugs or vulnerabilities are reported.
Beyond its speediness, the new Chrome 2 includes embarrassment mitigation (an improved New Tab page that allows the ability to remove thumbnails of visited sites), a title bar-concealment option for full-screen presentations, and form autofill. It's also more stable, a state arrived at through the termination of more than 300 bugs since Chrome's launch last year.
Google has said it plans to release Chrome for the Mac during the first half of 2009. Likely events where that might occur include Google's developer conference next week or Apple's developer conference during the second week of June.
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