Google has released version 7 of its Chrome web browser; if you're a Chrome user, you have most likely already auto-updated to the new version. However, you may not have noticed the update. That's because there are no new features in the Chrome browser, at least from a user interface perspective.
Of course that doesn't mean that there isn't anything new in Chrome 7. There have been several new capabilities and improvements added under the hood, including more than a hundred bug fixes.
From a user perspective, it's definitely a worthwhile upgrade if only for the improved stability. But, I am still confused how this qualifies as a full new version given that it has fewer new features and fixes than a typical Firefox point release.
Part of this rush to full new versions of Chrome comes from Google's enthusiasm for pushing out new versions of the browser. According to the Chrome blog, the plan is to release "a new stable version of Google Chrome approximately every six weeks to get bug fixes, improvements and new features in the hands of our users".
Well, two out of three ain't bad, I guess.
One of the very few visible improvements in Chrome 7 is its boost in cookie management and controls. By going to the Google Chrome Options window and selecting the Under the Hood tab, users can now edit their content privacy settings and choose to block whole sites from being able to store any data on the browser. This is a welcome feature, especially given some of the privacy problems in recent news.
As has become par for the course for most new browsers, Chrome 7 includes additional support for the burgeoning HTML 5 almost standard. For most users these new features won't mean much until site and web application developers start taking advantage of them but they should serve to improve performance and especially content management within the Chrome browser.
Probably the biggest surprise when it comes to Chrome 7 is in the speed and performance area. One that that we've been able to count on in new releases of the Chrome browser has been big jumps in performance. But with Chrome 7, not so much.
In tests, including several using the Futuremark Peacekeeper benchmark, Chrome 7's performance was essentially identical to Chrome 6. Of course, that still leaves Chrome among the leaders in browser performance.
If you are a Chrome user, you most likely already have version 7. And if you're not and interested in trying it, you can download Google Chrome at chrome.google.com.