What’s New in Google Chrome 11

It must have been at least 3 days since the previous Chrome update so now we find ourselves at version 11. Unlike the fanfare which signaled the IE9 and Firefox 4 releases, barely a whisper was heard from Google. The company has decided that version numbering is unimportant. What really matters is regular updates and easy installation so users always have the most up-to-date browser. I concur. Mozilla is adopting a similar policy so let’s hope Microsoft follow suit.

If you’re using Chrome, it’s possible version 11 is already installed. To check, click the Tool icon followed by “About Google Chrome”. The browser will silently download and install the update.

The most noticeable change is the new logo. The old shiny 3D logo has morphed into a simpler 2D alternative:

Chrome 11

I suppose it’s more recognizable at lower resolutions but it’s difficult to muster enthusiasm for the new logo. Do you like it? Do you care? Although it’s a fairly subtle change, I find it strange Google has updated their brand having spent so much money featuring the old logo on Chrome advertising.

GPU acceleration should make your browsing experience a little faster. Chrome hasn’t overtaken IE9, but the browser is no slouch and few people could complain about its speed. Hardware-accelerated 3D CSS effects are enabled by default so we’re likely to see a few more whizzy Chrome Experiments which show off the technology.

Touchscreen users also receive a new Tab Page designed for their devices. However, you might need to enable it in the about:flags settings.

Finally, there’s a new speech input API and, for me, this is the most exciting development. Chrome can interpret your speech and convert it to text in any input field. This has obvious assistive benefits, but I can see it being used in any environment where a keyboard or mouse would be impractical. I’ve been playing with the technology so watch out for a full tutorial on SitePoint soon (assuming I can get it working!)

Please let us know your opinions about Chrome 11…