Monday, October 11, 2010

A Preview Of Chrome 8

It was a bit surprising to see Chromium 7 (Chrome 7 nightly build) to be switched to Chromium 8 (Chrome 8 nightly build) early this morning, as we were just told that the switch was scheduled for next week. The launch of Chromium 8 closes the feature set for Chrome 7 and opens a wave of cloud features that is quite obviously planned for Chrome 8.

With the release of Chrome 8 as a nightly build, we now know the final feature set of Chrome 7, which should be released as a final version within the next 4 weeks. Compared to the current stable version of Chrome 6, Google will add

-          Hardware acceleration, which accelerates the browser in complex graphics scenarios by about 225x and closely matches Firefox 4 Beta and IE9 Beta. While Google was late with this feature in a beta browser, it is interesting to note that it will be first to offer this feature in a final version of a browser.

-          Instant Search integration, which brings the website feature to the browser and virtually eliminates the need for you to visit the Google homepage as Google Search is available from at any location from the URL bar.

-          UI Tabs, which moves the content of traditional Windows to browser tabs, including the Options window.

-          Performance improvements. Using our own CT Mark, Chrome 7 will be about 3% faster in JavaScript than Chrome 6, about as fast in general website loading performance, about twice as fast in HTML 5 content rendering, and slightly faster in Flash.

Chrome 8 is very early in its stage, but as it was clear with Chrome 7 that it would focus on hardware acceleration from the very beginning, Google has already built some features into the browser that indicate that Chrome 8 will be much more tailored to the upcoming Chrome OS than any other browser before.  The 8th generation will get a huge array of cloud features that will enhance Chrome OS as an operating system that will mainly operate in the cloud and tie multiple PCs, handheld devices and tablets together.

Among the features are support for background web applications, host remoting, which enables users to centrally control features and settings that are distributed to other computers, as well as Cloud Print, which enables users to access a printer that is connected to a computer via a Google account. These features are already accessible via the Labs feature of Chromium 8 (type about:labs in the URL bar), but they are not functional yet.

We expect Chrome 8 to debut as final version before the end of the year.

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