Google Polishes Chrome Browser


Google has high hopes that Chrome’s unique features will make it a suitable competitor to Microsoft Internet Explorer and other browsers on the market

Google announced in a blog posting that tinkering with its Web browser, Chrome, had achieved some success: a new stable version of the program runs JavaScript-heavy Web pages some 30 percent faster than the previous stable iteration.

As part of the announcement, Google suggested that it was working hard to incorporate features requested by the online community, including AutoComplete, Google Toolbar compatibility and proxy settings adjustment.

“Additionally, we’ve added some useful features like form autofill, full screen mode and the ability to remove thumbnails from the New Tab page,” Darin Fisher, a member of the Google Chrome Team, wrote in the blog posting. “If you’re already using Google Chrome, you’ll be automatically updated with these new features soon.”

Although Google Chrome occupies only a small portion of the U.S. browser market, it has been making incremental gains. An April 2009 report by the research firm Forrester found that Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 had 60.2 percent of the market in December 2008, and Internet Explorer 7 had 39 percent, while Chrome had 2 percent, up nearly half a percentage point from its release in September 2008.

In March 2009, Google rolled out a beta release of Chrome that included additional browsing tools, such as basic form autofill and full-page zoom, to better compete against Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and other browsers. Since the initial rollout, it has tried to keep its browser loaded with unique features such as Google Gears, a hybrid search address bar.

Google also claimed that beta version was twice as fast as September 2008’s beta version, thanks to seven months’ worth of design work and 29 updates. Although the “beta” designation had been initially dropped in December, the company re-attached the label to the March release in order to encourage feedback.

Update: Read our review of Chrome 2.0