Google Releases Chrome 6

Despite being just 2 years old, Chrome has reached version 6. On average, Google release a new version every 4 months and version 5 appeared at the end of May 2010.

Call me a cynic, but I’m convinced the rapid release schedule is pure marketing hype. By the time Internet Explorer 9.0 finally arrives, Chrome will be at version 8 and will quickly overtake Microsoft’s browser. Although few people care about the numbers, it doesn’t stop journalists and bloggers like me reporting that a new version is available. How many news stories appeared about Firefox 3.6 or Opera 10.6? They had more new features, but the version numbers didn’t seem so important and they received far less press coverage.

Enough about the marketing conspiracies — what can Chrome users expect from the update?

New default theme
Chrome’s always been clean, but the new theme is subtler and more minimalistic than before. The window is transparent gray on Windows 7 and there are even fewer distractions.

Chrome 6 screenshot

Some of the menus have been combined, for example, Cut, Copy and Paste are on a single line. There’s also a new “Create application shortcuts” option which allows you to add web links to your OS desktop or menus.

Form Autofill
It’s taken some time for autofill to arrive on Chrome, but Google has an interesting implementation. Rather than simply associating strings with similarly-named input fields, Chrome remembers sets of addresses and credit card numbers. It works well and form details can be entered with a single click.

Synchronized extensions
If you’re using Chrome on more than one PC, you’re probably syncing bookmarks, passwords and possibly themes. The new version adds automatic synchronization for autofill and extensions. It makes Chrome quicker and easier to install when you upgrade your OS or switch platforms — there’s less reason for you to shop around for another browser.

Improved address bar
Google may call it the “Omnibar” but I never will! The most significant change is the removal of “http://” from the start of web addresses. It’s a sensible move since few users know or care what it means. Secure addresses are still shown with the full https:// highlighted in green.

The bookmarks star has moved to the right and the “Go” arrow has been removed (good riddance!) You might notice a few other icons appear, such as a cookie indicator.

WebM
Google’s own open source royalty-free video format, WebM, makes an appearance in Chrome for the first time. Whether it has a chance against H.264 remains to be seen.

Standards and speed
Needless to say, Chrome 6 has better support for web standards and is faster than its predecessor. It was already good in those respects, so the improvements are barely noticeable to most users.

The Developer Tools have also received an update. I suspect many will still prefer Firebug, but it’s an impressive set of tools that come with the standard browser.

There’s little to dislike about Chrome. You may not appreciate Google’s version numbering or ambitions, but they’ve produced a great browser which has attracted a significant following in a relatively short period.

Chrome can be downloaded from www.google.com/chrome. If you’re already version 5, click the Tool icon, About Google Chrome, and follow the update instructions.

Will Chrome 6 become your default browser?

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  • Moe Tavern

    I’m having a serious crisis – Up to now, I’ve used Chrome as a standby browser. Now I’m actually entertaining the idea of switching over to Chrome….would feel really bad about ditching Firefox though…anyone else out there in a similar situation?

    • http://galengidman.com/ GalenGidman

      Do it!

    • hello44

      just been through it. bought a new PC yesterday and the first change to the system was installing Chrome as default browser.

      I feel fine.

      I really do miss firefox’s awesome bar though…

    • Khoa

      I’m not thinking of ditching ff for chrome yet and dont think i will do so anytime soon. But i understand what you mean. Using a browser or technically anything for too long and you sort of fall in love with it.

      But if you love ff, why switch to chrome then? Do you just want to experiment, learn to know a new browser or is there sth in chrome that really attracts you more than ff does?

      • Moe Tavern

        Hi Khoa,
        It boils down to 2 things.
        1. I’m a firm believer in ‘less is more’ – this is where chrome scores highly; it also appears to be quicker than FF and is less of a drain on resources.
        2. While Chrome has a good number of developer extensions, they just aren’t as good as the Firefox ones. I couldn’t get by without Firebug and Web Developer – they are simply unbeatable.
        So I guess the compromise is: FF for work, Chrome for leisure.

    • Enso

      I was in the same boat. When Chrome first came out I was not completely sold on it. However, 5 (now 6) revisions later I have finally learned to like Chrome and now use it as my default browser. Firefox is just around for those times when I need…well…I suppose I don’t use it much anymore at all :P

    • davidcroda

      I unconsciously made the switch about 6 months ago. It really came down to one thing. When I click the firefox icon I need to wait ~6 seconds to enter an address and go to a webpage. When I click chrome the browser is loaded and ready for my website before I can even move my mouse to the address bar.

      Why feel bad? Maybe 3 or 4 years ago Firefox was a young innocent group fighting for the freedom of the web, but now they have so many offshoots and the mozilla framework has gotten so bloated that I don’t feel an ounce of guilt

    • iSpaces

      Yes, same situation, although I use them both especially for development as they have complimentary developer tools.

      Another amazing browser, I am finding is Opera, with a surprisingly rich set of developer tools. It is way up there with support for CSS3 too.

    • Elena

      I was so terrified by the way FF looks and barely moves that chrome became an only option

    • A K Narendranath

      I’ve been using Chrome since 3rd september 2008, after kicking out Firefox. Forget about regrets, I feel I did the right thing.

      • Saad J

        Same here, mate! Since Sep, 09. No regrets!

  • CWSites

    I don’t know about anyone else out there but Google Chrome 6 isn’t available for Mac yet. I went to the site to download and it’s the same version I already have (which isn’t version 6)

    • Albert

      I’m on a Mac and my version of Chrome has updated automatically to 6.0.

    • Elena

      updated automatically ))
      finally google links talk to google browser ))

  • Anxious in Amarillo

    Anyone know if the Form Autofill actually triggers the onchange event for the form fields when it changes their content?

    Other autofill tools, such as Google Toolbar’s, don’t trigger the onchange event, which causes a huge headache when trying to design applications that take action based on field content, such as real-time email address verification or calculating shipping options.

  • Francis

    Nope. Still sticking with Opera for now. Chrome never runs on my system for more than five minutes. I open it up and it feels like I can’t do much with it, so I close it and return to Opera (90% of the time).

  • Dec

    @Moe Tavern

    I just moved straight over to Chrome, but still keep FF installed.

  • http://codefisher.org/ codefisher

    I will no be switching over till they have Firefox like extensions, and the ones I need exist. There are just a few things I expect/want from a browser that they don’t have yet.

  • PulSe

    “Will Chrome 6 become your default browser?”

    Has been since day 1 : fast, minimalist, powerful. Easy choice.

  • Nick

    Have been using chrome for a long while now…and now updated!

  • http://www.thefinancekid.com thefinancekid

    yes its surely a marketing hype to kill the leak of internet explorer 9. But major improvements arent visible yet with chrome 6.

  • astrotim

    A new YouTube video for each new version? Now that would really be impressive.

  • http://www.tpdevelopment.com.au ricktu

    Chrome is great but has a small flaw that unfortunately drives me spare. Having to have a whole bar open just to access your bookmarks whenever you want is a terrible waste of space. There was an addition you could add to the shortcut that made a button on the toolbar but that no longer seems to work in version 6.

  • Declan

    Running Chrome for Mac 6.0.4 with these updates. Works so fast and flawlessly.

  • what?

    Couple points:
    - Version 6 has been out for a while and I’m using it on a Mac right now.
    - Just because their have been 8 releases doesn’t mean that “will quickly overtake Microsoft’s browser”. Isn’t that a matter of features? On that basis (features) you could say Chrome has already overtaken IE.

  • http://www.tyssendesign.com.au Tyssen

    Try again CWSites, I’ve just updated to v6 on my Mac.

  • http://www.rwtconsultants.com israelisassi

    I’ve been using Chrome as my default browser for quite a while now. My number one beef is the bookmark manager which feels like an afterthought. With that aside, it’s so much faster, cleaner, and more efficient than any other browser.

    The only use I have for Firefox is Firebug, which has been around long enough that other developers have had time to get a handle on what features are the most used. This will open the doors for equally desirable plugins.

  • http://inspirationsunlimited.co.in radiant_luv

    I do use chrome time to time but not as much FireFox. The reason is I have perfect tools/plugins installed in FireFox which helps me design/development/debugging of websites (or may be i’m more habituated using FireFox). However I love the response time for chrome, FireFox seems to take longer time to load.

  • (Paul McKeown)

    I think for most non-technical users the need for an alternate browser will diminish with IE9. As for developers, within a year or eighteen months from now IE8 will be the baseline to develop; things will be a lot easier than now. Some people will still have to support IE6, IE7, FF2, Safari 3.1, etc. for accessibility reasons, but generally developers will be targeting and testing IE8 and IE9 and the latest versions only of FF, Chrome, Safari and Opera, with the usual does it do something useful with Lynx test, as well.

    Frankly, it will soon come to the point when I won’t be bothered following the browser updates, the changes are just starting to blur into each other, without adding anything of real note. I look forward to the FF4 release, but have to say that the value added from Safari 4 to Safari 5 or Chrome 4 to 5 to 6 is utterly underwhelming.

    Frankly, I’m starting to suffer from upgrade fatigue as far as Chrome is concerned. Is there any improvement from Chrome 5 to 6 that I should actually get enthusiastic about? Frankly each of the changes from Opera 10.10 to 10.50 to 10.60 were more significant than some of these Chrome big number releases and it looks as if 10.70 will be, too.

    Weary of over-marketed Chrome updates….

  • http://www.rwtconsultants.com israelisassi

    I do have a complaint about Chrome 6. I used to be able to drag the “Bookmark this page” star icon to the bookmarks bar. This let me place the bookmark where I wanted it. The latest release doesn’t let me do that as of version 6.0.472.53.

    • http://www.rwtconsultants.com israelisassi

      I must correct myself. It wasn’t the star that I was dragging to the bookmarks bar, but the favicon.

      • notreally

        The favicon is gone from the address bar, and now always is a generic icon :( It still shows next to the tabtitle though.
        The favicon in the tabtitle changes when the page is loading, the icon in the address bar doesn’t.

  • http://www.iraqtimeline.com/maxdesign Black Max

    It’s a lovely browser — fast, minimalistic, sleek — but the damn thing crashes my XP machine (and apparently every other XP user out there). Google seems uninterested in working to suit the needs of XP users, though I’ll admit to not being anything approaching knowledgeable on the subject. Any news on that front?

    Until Chrome works smoothly on XP, I’m sticking with Opera.

    • AndraK

      Regarding Chrome on XP my computer works fine.

      I keep my Firefox for work and Chrome for leisure and am very happy with both of them.

    • Saad J

      Mate, I am using Chrome everyday on XP since it came out in September 2008. NO problems AT ALL with it. It’s All SMOOTH, baby!

  • http://www.DrewryNewsNetwork.com DrewryMedia

    I like Chrome, because if the style they use to save passwords, and how quickly the webpages load. And, it also loads flash and shockwave movie files pretty fast too. I wish they would add certain features to the browser, such as auto tweeting, auto post to Facebook from the Google chrome browser and much more…

    http://www.DrewryNewsNetwork.com

  • Matt

    Chrome still not supporting multi tabs preview feature for Win 7 task bar like IE 8.

  • Wardrop

    I’m still waiting on a multi-threaded download manager for Chrome. I rarely get near the maximum speed of my ADSL2 connection unless I multi-thread my downloads over 5 – 10 http connections. Google could easily add such functionality as a default feature, and just leave multi-threading off by default as to not cause a great up set among web hosts.

  • Jayde

    My biggest (and only) problem with Chrome is that their bookmarks reordering by title is not recursive. I just went and upgraded to 6 in the hopes that they’ve fixed this but nope!

    Chrome’s been my default browser for quite awhile now and with every upgrade I keep hoping they’re going to fix that.

  • Timothy (TRiG)

    I stick to Firefox and Opera because I use the search keyword functionality extensively: “yt”: Search YouTube. “h2g2″: Search h2g2. “ws”: Input to Web-Sniffer.

    This doesn’t work in any other browser that I know of.

    TRiG.

    • James

      Can you not just start typing “youtube” and press tab?

  • 2MHost.com

    I switched to Chrome since months, I never looked back, chrome is simple and FAST, and its developer tools is enough for me.

  • W3bnewbie

    FireFox 4 wait till comes out it will be brilliant or just check out beta looks better than chrome & has brilliant features.
    but chrome’s speed is great just not one for all the wasted space…..
    Extensions FF leads the way…chrome will catch soon enough I suppose.
    Each to there own. & FF might be slower but really 6 secs is not long time 2 wait……

  • Michel Merlin

    Hiding “http://” from the Omnibar is NOT an improvement

    You write « The most significant change is the removal of “http://” from the start of web addresses. It’s a sensible move since few users know or care what it means ».

    1st, REAL users DO know what they are doing. Only the VIRTUAL ones, mostly invented by some bad developers in need to feel better than ordinary people, are stupid.

    2nd, making something displayed different from what it is and what it will be when copied, will NOT help users, neither the most stupid or ignorant, nor the most powerful or knowledgeable. It will only help the superficial and casual surfers and workers, IOW Fast Posters, politicians and journalists. If Google REALLY wants to improve the way URLs are displayed, there is a lot to be done, no need to randomly change things that work.

    3rd, Chr6 brings some changes more important than that, either bad (as some pointed, a number of things are more difficult to find in Chrome 6 than in 5 because the browser now doesn’t respond the expected way) or good (Inspect Element, that already was beating Firebug hands down, has been more deeply changed, mostly in good, but also with some little regressions).

    Versailles, Wed 08 Sep 2010 16:31:25 +0200

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      Are you saying that you absolutely need to see the http?

      You can still type it and other protocols appear. If the protocol’s missing, you know it’s http. The http is even added when you copy and paste the URL.

      You state that real users know what they’re doing. You then contradict it by saying users will be confused by a missing http? Do you know anyone who finds it confusing?

      • Michel Merlin

        Tiny burden, tinier benefit

        The length saved by hiding “http://” is just 7 characters. This is NOT worth IMO the (tiny I admit) burden of endless discussions with people who don’t admit or understand that others can think or act differently.

        For instance, when editing a web page source in Chrome, their URL shortening, while inconsistent (done on “SCRIPT”, on “LINK” only when targeting a .CSS, not always on “A”, and not at all on “IMG”), is welcome because the space saved is bigger (whole target home page address, typically 21 char), and its occurrence is expected and appropriate in the context (watching a source). It’s all a matter of weighing and judgment: the problem is the same, the quantities are different, 7-char unexpected for everyone in daily use, 21-char expected just when watching a source.

        Personally as soon as I saw the shortened URL, I doubted if the copied value would be entire (as in Ctrl-U) or not (and I still doubt sometimes when I need to copy A PART OF an URL), and while tiny (maybe a one-time 20-ms), the time it took is, for me, NOT worth it; and I am now one step more aware that anything can be changed by Google underneath without telling – just like Microsoft, e.g. in Windows Explorer.

        Google would better IMO spend their time and effort on, 1st make their own so-called “URLs” more Universally Locate the Resource they target (try e.g. the so-called “URL” http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/maps/thread?fid=24f446d4cc24d07a00048f364338a347&hl=en given by Google to “link” my post dated Wed 01 Sep 2010 19:45:25 +0200), 2nd accordingly make those URLs shorter (same example), 3rd release to public use their Short URL, so far limited to Google URLs (in same example: http://goo.gl/maps/vdte “Versailles château”, see http://maps.google.com/maps?ftr=0 Google Maps Beta).

        Versailles, Thu 09 Sep 2010 09:15:20 +0200

  • Daquan Wright

    What type of hardware specs does chrome require? I have a low end laptop, and I have two friends with low end machines (single core cpu). Do multiple cores significantly speed up this browser?
    I compare it to Opera on my laptop and Opera is flawless. Chrome starts up fast, then after a few minutes, loading web pages becomes tedious because I hate waiting for Chrome to render the pages. I’ve never had a good Chrome experience because of this issue.

  • Rogerthat

    I’m all for updates and running on the latest releases and although I am satisfied with Chrome 6 for the most part (easy access to viewing history at the corner and improved user interface), there are some things that seriously make me consider going back to Chrome 5 or set Opera 10.61 as my default web browser. The new tab page now takes longer to load which is an issue. Not adding a bookmarks sidebar also does not help Chrome enthusiasts. Finally, the biggest problem that I am having with version 6 is having to close Chrome before I put my computer in hibernate mode as if I do not do this, Chrome crashes! I hope hope HOPE Google’s next release (coming soon?) will address these important concerns and issues.

    • Michel Merlin

      Hibernating does NOT crash Chrome 6 on my system (at least didn’t when I tried, right now).

      Windows XP Pro Multilingual, Chrome 6, IE6, Pentium M760, 915gm chipset with gma900 graphics. Something particular: I have little Flash objects running (I kill them as soon as they take too much CPU).

      Versailles, Fri 10 Sep 2010 16:38:00 +0200

  • Sphamandla

    No I still stick with fire-fox at the moment I trust the browser, very interesting topic would be the comparison between webM vs H.264 but all in all very impressive from Google their products seem to be very impressive they obviously prefer quality even though they have quantity

  • Karl

    Chrome is my #1 browser. I still have to have IE around for a few sites but never use FF anymore. Like all Google products, Chrome is minimalist which I absolutely love. Less is more when in comes to programming for me. To the person who commented about about the extensions in FF, Chrome has all the extensions I need now so perhaps you may want to check out the selection if you haven’t done so in a while.

  • angusgrant

    Seriously impressed with Chromes inbuilt developer tools (admittedly though blatantly copied straight from Firebug’s interface) now out of the box looks to me to be on a level with Firebug’s functionality (while I have not had a huge chance to test them). Please can anyone else comment on this?