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Google Chrome 10 Beta Released

The race to build the fastest browser continues.

Google Chrome 9 Advances The 3D Graphical Web
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Slideshow: Google Chrome 9 Advances The 3D Graphical Web

Google on Thursday launched the first beta version of Chrome 10, touting JavaScript speed advancements, synchronization improvements, and a shift from a window-based Preferences menu to a tab-based menu.

Chrome 10.0.648.82 is available as a beta channel release for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows. Google claims its browser delivers 66% faster JavaScript performance than the current Chrome 9 stable channel version. The company attributes the acceleration to a new version of its V8 - Crankshaft JavaScript engine.

Chrome 10 Beta also includes a preliminary implementation of GPU acceleration for video, which allows more efficient processor utilization and better battery life. In addition, it adds support for password synchronization across multiple computers and its Preferences menu interface will now open in a separate tab, just like any other Web page, rather than as distinct interface window.

At its recent introduction of Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate, Microsoft made much of the fact that its browser comes with full hardware acceleration while Chrome only includes partial hardware acceleration. Tests Microsoft designed to demonstrate this feature made Chrome 9 look significantly slower than IE9.

However, other tests suggest the opposite. Life Hacker, for example, tested the recent crop of browsers and found Chrome 10 to be faster than IE9 in other areas, like JavaScript performance. Firefox and Opera prevailed in a different set of speed tests.

While speed matters, it doesn't come into play if your browser doesn't work with the Web page you're trying to load. And in terms of compatibility with Web standards, Chrome supports more HTML5 elements than IE9. Mozilla evangelist Paul Rouget goes so far as to claim that IE9 doesn't even qualify as a modern browser due to its uneven HTML5 support. Using this HTML5 test, Chrome 10 Beta scores 288, Firefox 4 Beta 11 scores 255, and IE9 scores 130.

Chrome's appeal goes beyond speed. There are a variety of reasons Google's browser now has a global market share of over 10%, one of which is certainly Google's promotion of Chrome on its highly popular search home page. Then there's the fact that Google is developing an operating system around its browser, a vote of confidence by the company that begs further investigation.

Other reasons include Chrome's value to those participating in Google's broader eco-system. The Chrome Web Store, for example, is only open to Chrome users. Google's recently released Personal Blocklist extension allows Chrome users to remove unwanted Web sites from the Google search results lists while signaling Google that the blocked site is deemed to be spam by the user. And Chrome users can count on being able to experiment with cutting edge Google projects like Native Client -- a plus for the influential developer audience.

Chrome's ascendancy is not assured. Microsoft is expected to release IE9 officially next month and Firefox 4 should soon shed its beta status. But Google, with its relentless release schedule and its efforts to push Web technology to match desktop applications, is making sure that there's no rest for browser developers. And in the end, that helps users, no matter which browser they choose.

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