By Craig Buckler

Google Release Chrome 5 Beta

By Craig Buckler

Chrome 4 was released — what — 3 minutes ago? It was actually the end of January but, seriously Google, what is it with these rapid version updates? What happened to the decade-long betas?

I’m not convinced anyone cares about browser version numbers, but that hasn’t stopped Google releasing Chrome 5 beta. If you’re not a Windows user, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s also available on Mac and Linux.

The browser’s still lean and mean, but Google has squeezed in a few new features:

Google ChromeExtensions
Browser extensions will be supported on all platforms and the API will receive a number of updates.

Automatic language translation, full screen mode, and real (non-cached) refresh will also be available on Mac and Linux — Windows Chrome 4.1 users already have these features.

Flash plugin
Despite Google being advocates of HTML5, Adobe’s Flash plugin will be provided as standard. Chrome will install version 10.1 and automatically update the plugin without user intervention.

It’s also rumored that a PDF plugin will be available. Please, no!

Bookmarks can already be synchronized across multiple installations, but version 5 will offer passwords, form autofill entries and themes.

Windows 7 integration
Aero Peek and Jump Lists will be supported but, fortunately, you will be able to adjust the behavior if you normally browse with 93 tabs open.

This new HTML5 feature can inform a website of your location (if you permit it). Mobile users with GPS will receive the most accurate location information, but it is possible to obtain an area from your IP address and/or wireless networks.

Native Client and WebGL
Chrome 5 will contain early versions of:

  • NaCl — open-source plugin which allows native 32-bit x86 code to run in a browser, and
  • WebGL — hardware-acclerated 3D graphics

No release date has been announced, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Chrome 5 final appeared very shortly. At this rate, Chrome will be into double-figures before IE9 is released.

Will you use Chrome 5?

  • Mircea

    I’ve been using Chrome 5 beta for over a month :-/

  • I think the rapid version increases are a marketing ploy to (eventually) catch up to IE. If I remember correctly, didn’t Microsoft and/or Netscape do the same thing back during the 90s browser wars?

  • As for the synchronization, I’ve heard that open tabs will be synced as well. Anyone else here that?

    Also, the whole Flash Plugin thing is a great idea, hopefully it cuts down on the amount of exploits being used on old versions of Flash.

    I cant be bothered to care about the whole version number topic. It is an amazing browser and the version number isn’t going to stop me from using the browser and shouldn’t stop anyone else from trying or continuing to use it either.

  • I’ll update to Chrome 5, as I expect all Chrome users will. But, I won’t be updating to the beta version.

    Verion 4.? something does me fine now, and there’re no features you’ve listed that make me want to upgrade. I’ll just wait for the normal update cycle.

  • iAbbas

    The Flash plugin inclusion is a welcomed step to counter Apple’s tries to kill Flash. BTW, why the PDF hatred? :x .. Its a good way to view eBOOKs and forms in, do you have any better alternative to present?

  • Web-JIVE

    Still an ugly ducking in the browser world. The good thing about Chrome is it’s using a core that supports more of the true standards compliant out there. That’s why we switched to WebKit nightlies for our web development work. Chrome was just to ugly to look at on a daily basis ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Enjoy your botnet.

  • I tried giving Chrome a go as my primary browser after Alex wrote about it the other day, but because I work with a lot of CMSs that all have different passwords, I found I kept having to go back to Firefox to be able to login or to copy a password. So unless there’s an easy way of getting those passwords into Chrome, I can’t see me migrating to it permanently at the moment.

  • I got Chrome 5 beta a long while ago via automatic update on my Linux box. I only use it for WebKit testing, though. I can’t see any reason whatsoever to use it for browsing when I’ve got Opera. Now if only Opera 10.5 for Linux could be released, too …

  • @iAbbas

    BTW, why the PDF hatred?

    I’ve nothing against PDF as a format, but opening them in a browser is slow and clunky – especially if it replaces a web page within the same tab.

    I prefer to download and open them within Adobe or any other PDF reader.

  • GoogleFan

    I’ve installed it, it seems great!

  • Chrome is the first browser to incorporate machine translation in the browser itself, without requiring additional plugins or extensions.
    When the language on the web page does not match the language preferences set in the browser, Chrome will automatically ask to translate the web page into your preferred language.

  • da_n

    I think the integration of flash, pdf and advanced sync, as well as being easier and more secure for the end user, will also be key features ported to the Chrome OS project. I have recently switched to Chrome as my primary browser, using Firefox for web development. It is so much faster (on my Mac).

  • davidcroda


    Click Tools >> Options >> Personal Stuff >> Import Data from Another Browser

  • Ah excellent, thanks David. :)

  • JHig310336

    My Beta days are over. I’ll wait until Chrome 5 is out of beta. I’ll continue to use Chrome 4 – which is by far the best browser for Windows 7 (in my opinion).

    When will Google release Chrome for Blackberry? Opera for Blackberry is decent but I’ve beta Opera Mini 5 and it is blotted, graphic intense, and slows my BB down to a crawl. Goog needs to hurry up with a BB version.

  • Actually, I tried that and it didn’t import any passwords so back to square one. :(

  • arcade

    Played with chrome 5, mainly cause I develop browser games and needed to see how webGL behaves – and it’s awesome – but 4 is still my main browser, and I’m still using firefox for web development (no one has managed to actualy provide all the functionality that firebug has).

    About 5, the flash plugin is a nice addition, but since everyone is pushing hard to get HTML5 compilant, it won’t be long till flash won’t be necessary. About the PDF plugin, unless they found a very clever way of loading a pdf into a page, then it’ll probably be a drag on the browser performance.

  • 12

    Chrome 5 offers what? Syncing passwords and form autofill??? Great new features rofl! Version bumbs are really lame.

  • @12

    Your posts are lame, maybe do some research before commenting next time?

    This article doesn’t cover everything. This one covers more:
    The “version bump” is a milestone for Chrome and a great one at that.

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