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6/24/2011
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Google Chrome 12 Banishes Flash Cookies: Hands-On Review

The Chrome browser's latest version enhances privacy and security features and supports 3-D CSS.

Samsung Chromebook: Hands-On Visual Tour
Slideshow: Samsung Chromebook: Hands-On Visual Tour
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
With Google on a "new release every six weeks" schedule for its Chrome Web browser, each new version of Chrome is typically light on new features. And this is certainly the case with the newly released Chrome 12.

Still, Chrome 12 does have a couple of interesting new capabilities, especially for those users concerned about keeping their Web activities more private.

For regular users, probably one of the most significant new features in Chrome 12 is the ability to easily remove Flash cookies from the browser when clearing your browser history. While it has always been possible to delete Flash cookies, it has not been easiest process and has usually been done within the Flash player rather than in the browser itself.

In Chrome 12, when a user chooses to Clear Browsing Data, one of the choices is now "Delete cookies and other site and plug-in data." Selecting this will remove Flash cookies along with standard browser cookies. This is a useful privacy feature, as Flash cookies have become a popular option for sites that are less concerned about visitor privacy and work to keep users from deleting their cookies.

Google has also boosted the safe browsing capabilities of their browser in this release. Chrome's safe browsing features warn users when they attempt to go to a site that might contain malware and other malicious code. In Chrome 12, the browser will now also scan downloads (using an online database of malicious apps) and will warn users if their download could be potentially dangerous.

Google Chrome 12 Clear Browsing Data
Users can now remove Flash cookies along with standard browser cookies

Chrome 12 also includes support for 3-D cascading style sheets (CSS), which provide rich graphics capabilities for apps and online games by tapping a system's graphics processor. This also enables more interactive capabilities for gaming or manipulating content within a page. There are a number of demos available on the Web, which showcase 3-D CSS, such as this Google animation demo.

Google Chrome 12 CSS Demo
3-D capabilities in Chrome 12 enable more interactive
capabilities for manipulating content within a page

As is typical, Chrome 12 also includes a number of bug fixes and security enhancements under the hood. If you are a regular Chrome user, your browser has most likely already upgraded to version 12, but if you want to try it out, go here to download the free Google Chrome browser.

InformationWeek contributing editor Jim Rapoza has been using, testing, and writing about the newest technologies in software, enterprise hardware, and the Internet for more than 17 years.

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