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:
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.
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?
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.
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