Google Reveal Chrome 3 Beta

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Google ChromeEven though Chrome 2 was only released in May, Google has already issued version 3 as a downloadable beta. So what has Google been working on during the past few months…New Tab Page CustomizationThe “New Tab” page displays thumbnails of your most recently and frequently-visited websites. A number of customization options are now provided, so it’s possible to rearrange, remove, or make links ‘sticky’.

Omnibox ImprovementsThe oddly-named “Omnibox” is just another name for the smart address bar (or whatever other browser manufacturers call it these days). The drop-down list now provides icons to help distinguish between searches or sites that have been suggested, bookmarked, or viewed recently.

Custom ThemesChrome’s chrome can now be changed! Around 30 themes are already available, although most look very similar and only the background graphics are changed. I tried a few but ultimately returned to the clean unobtrusive default blue theme.

SpeedChrome still focuses on browser speed and Google are reporting a 30% improvement in JavaScript performance. Chrome still feels quick, but JavaScript improvements will not necessarily make the browser 30% faster. Performance gains are fairly imperceivable in the beta.HTML5 SupportGoogle are backing HTML5 regardless of it’s minimal support in certain other browsers. Chrome 3 implements further features such as the video tag and web workers (thread-like JavaScript code that can be loaded and executed in the background without hogging the browser).Interestingly, the Google press releases do not mention extensions. They are supported in Chrome 3 but you need to enable them with a command-line switch. I suspect the full extension system may not appear until Chrome 4.Overall, Chrome 3 beta is a fast, stable, and competent browser. Existing Chrome users will almost certainly upgrade, but there are few compelling new features that would drag me away from Firefox. Would you give up your default browser for Chrome?Chrome links:

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Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
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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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