Although Google dropped the ‘beta’ tag on the Windows version of Chrome a long time ago, a sable version of the browser wasn’t available for Macintosh and Linux users until now. The latest Chrome 5 update brings increased stability, more compatibility, and major performance improvements for all three platforms. According to Google, the new Chrome is faster than ever before, sporting a 213% gain in speed when compared to the initial beta version.
The new Chrome comes with a host of new and convenient features. While Chrome users could synchronize their bookmarks between multiple machines in the past, this update adds support for general browser settings, themes, and start-up actions. In other words, Chrome users will can now set their preferences on a single computer and have instantly reflect on all their other machines. A simple one-time login with a Google Account will even help avoid the customizing processes for new installs. The beta release also better integrates support for innovative HTML5 additions such as drag-and-drop capabilities, Geo-Location APIs, App Cache, and web sockets.
For some unexpected news, Google now says that they are trying to integrate native support for Adobe Flash into the next version of Chrome. Flash is already available to users as a 3rd party plugin, however the update will make it work right out of the box without any necessary action on the user’s part. It’s an important decision since Flash Player is one of the most widely used plugins across the web, more than Java Runtime, Silverlight and others. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with this. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, has said in the past that Flash is a dead technology and that HTML5 is the way of the future. Apple will likely be slowing cutting all ties with the technology moving forwards. On the other hand, Google is doing just the opposite with their partnership with Adobe for Chrome, Android, and more.
While most tech-savvy users are aware of the security vulnerabilities and the resource intensive processes that Flash brings, it’s interesting to see what Chrome will do with it. Google’s browser is the fastest on the market and adding Flash in its current form is only going to degrade performance. Not to mention frequent crashes. By integrating Flash into Chrome, Google hopes to integrate increased security and performance while using automation to keep users updated with the latest version.
When it comes to picking a new browser, the new Chrome 5 looks promising and is definitely worth checking out. I am an age-old Chrome user and like every other Chrome user out there, I will receive the update automatically. For those of you who don’t currently use Chrome, now is a good time to give what seems to be the fastest browser ever a shot. While the increase in speed and performance is great, those are not the only important points. Google now has great support for both HTML5 and Flash technologies, competing technologies, which means it has the best of both parts of the web.