Google Reveal Chrome 3 Beta

By Craig Buckler
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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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  • Stephen Hill

    Well, for anyone using the nightly build. These features are hardly “new”.

    However, they are welcome, if only small.

    I hope in V4 they release plugin and RSS support.

  • I’ve been using the Chrome 3 beta for a few days. No crashes or other problems, just as snappy as Chrome 2 was. It’s my “every day” browser; the one that makes me most productive.

    I tried to use one of the new themes but all I got was an error message about pixel color values.

  • StolenBit

    I’ll still stick with Firefox as my main browser unless Chrome has got something like Firebug :)

  • I use Chrome at home for my day to day browsing and am excited about chrome 3! However, until there’s a firebug implementation for chrome, all of my dev work gets dome in FF

  • LFA

    I really like this browser for its speed. But I can’t seem to manage without Firefox’s extentions (e.g. the Web Developer toolbar). I can see myself switching though for the sake of html 5 support. I’m very keen on Bespin, witch is built mainly on html 5 if I understand things correctly. Firefox tends to have some problems with this.

  • palgrave

    Firefox 3.5 kept crashing on me, so I reverted to 3 and use it when I need extensions. Chrome 3 for browsing.

  • Oscar

    Does it support ogg Theora codec?

  • The developer tools in Chrome (and other WebKit browsers such as Safari) are very good and are heavily influenced by Firebug. Firefox and a few key extensions is better, but the margin is shrinking.

    Try uninstalling Fx3.0 and deleting your profile before installing Fx3.5. I had similar issues when moving from v2 to v3. I also found that installing multiple extensions before restarting Firefox could make it unstable (although I suspect it was a quirk).

  • I’m using it more and more, to be honest. Firefox just about still wins because of a couple of extensions I use a lot (I find Firebug better than Chrome’s inspector and the Picnik extension is very useful for my work).

    Adblock’s a big one, and obviously Chrome won’t be blocking any ads at any time.

    But it’s *so* fast and snappy and well designed.

  • Sachin Shinde

    Good work Google, but Flash Switcher plug-in and XML support what keeps me with Firefox

  • 1

    The browser is going too fast with version numbers but the features are not so much. Maybe it’s better to do +.5 instead +1 every few months. Probably they want to catch up with Firefox and Safari versions which if is true is very stupid, major releases of Chrome are with so little notable features…
    Anyway I like the speed competition.

  • I’m also using Chrome for my everyday use, whilst keeping Firefox for development work.

    Although FF can be a little slow to start up (due to having a fair few extensions installed), it’s excellent for development work, especially the Web Developer, CodeBurner, ColorZilla and MeasureIt extensions.

    Look forward to trying out Chrome 3.

  • Matt

    I use Chrome on my Netbook (NC10 2GB RAM) as it fires up quick.. I’m forever waiting for Firefox to wake up!

    When is Chrome going to make an appearance on OSX?

  • Artur Martins

    Does it work in linux? Does it work in macosx? Does it have interesting plug-ins or functionalities like firebug, scribefire, delicious, greasemonkey, foxyproxy, downthemall, downloadhelper, etc ?

    No? Ok… Firefox then…

  • Chrome is already my default browser at home and I even installed it for use at work. I love the speed and simplicity.

    However, I ordered a Macbook that’s expected on Monday. I’m making the transfer from a PC to Mac, so once I get a feel for Safari 4 I don’t know what could happen.

    Is Chrome available for Macs yet?

  • still seriously

    I don’t mind that Chrome has been eschewing addons. Addons is one of the things that makes Firefox slower. Chrome is playing the performance game and doing well. The themes feature is pretty cool.

    Is there are word on Chrome compatibility with the new Windows 7 window control features?

  • ramnath

    The Omnibar improvements are user friendly.

    However, I like the Safari4.0 ‘top sites’ drag n drop much better than this one in Chrome 3 beta.

    Well, themes available at present are not very pleasing as text is harder to read text on photographic backgrounds. Hope there would be some carefully done themes getting released soon!

  • Brandon

    Chrome already is my default browser.

    Firefox has always had issues for me. Rendering, speed, memory… everything but extensions pretty much. And I don’t usually use extensions, so they aren’t a make it or break it deal.

    If only FireFox used WebKit… :)


  • Chrome doesn’t really support extensions. You have ONE interface hook (the status bar), and you can script for that, but that’s it. It’s basically glorified bookmarklets.

  • OtengiM

    If Chrome becomes enough customizable as Firefox So I can have Firebug and other plug-ins I will switch right away.Doh the speed and nice looking UI of Chrome is pretty nice.

  • Chrome is my default browser.

  • Jason Huck

    Relatively stable nightlies of Chrome are available for Mac OS X and Linux:

    I _would_ like to know how the version numbers compare across platforms — I hope the Mac and Linux versions aren’t truly lagging that far behind. I think it’s downright shameful, not to mention irresponsible, that Google is pushing towards a “version 3.0” release of Chrome on Windows when they haven’t officially shipped a “version 1.0” for Mac or Linux.

  • leelong

    once chrome adds support for addon/plugin extensions, the same old memory hogging & performance issue will surely appear, as with my somehow slow firing up of FF.

  • joezim

    I have always loved and always will love Firefox, but lately it’s been feeling bulky (especially initially waiting for the browser to open), even on my Windows 7 RC PC which has very few extensions. I’ve started using Chrome a bit more and for some reason I feel refreshed when I use it. I still miss some of my Firefox extensions though and I’ve been using FF so long it’s hard to stay away from it too long, but it’s nice to have a browser load up quickly once in a while to get something done quickly. Maybe once Chrome gets some nice extensions I’ll make the switch for good.

  • This looks promising, I can’t wait to see what themes will be available.

  • robotwink

    Google Chrome is the best. It’s totally customized for Web apps.

  • @robotwink
    That’s a good point. As far as Google’s concerned, web apps are the future – if anything, browser facilities just get in the way. I’m still surprised Google are bothering with extensions (even if the implementation is fairly poor).

  • Mark Ford

    It still doesn’t work on Windows 2000, which is what I use (faster than XP etc).

  • Achshar

    hmmm iread this article opend the download link and started download i was ready with installed chrome 3 beta before i reached the middle of article … liked chrome 2 alot nd dieing to use 3….lol

  • Some pretty good improvements, but unfortunately they removed ‘Recent Bookmarks’, apparently intentionally, :(

    If you used that feature, comment here:

    Best Wishes,

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