Google Chrome crowned world's fastest browser as new beta is launched

Google launches new super-speedy Chrome beta. Image: Google.

Having initially drawn praise from Internet users for its clean lines and efficiency, the public beta testing of Google's Chrome Web browser is this week being updated via the release of Chrome beta 0.4.154.25. And, adding to the browser's appeal, experts at technology site ExtremeTech have labelled Chrome as the fastest way to surf the Net.

The new beta update ushers in a selection of performance-related enhancements, including new bookmark manager and Web privacy features, along with an improved pop-up blocker and a stability fix that addresses an issue that saw Chrome susceptible to the download of malicious HTML files.

According to Mark Larson, the program manager for Google Chrome, all Chrome users will automatically receive the new beta update in the coming few days.

While Larson notes that the addition of a bookmark manager will enable users to search bookmarks, create folders, and drag and drop bookmarks to new locations, the Web privacy improvement – accessed through the 'under the hood' tab – groups together all of the browser's configuration options related to features capable of dispatching data to other services.

The tweaked pop-up blocker will now show users how many pop-ups have been blocked and also allow them to select and open specific pop-ups if they so desire.

Continuing the feedback-based evolution of its browser, which will ultimately be competing against Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox platforms, Google's Chrome is expected to shift through its beta phase and hit full release in the early part of 2009.

The new update arrives only a matter of days since Google VP Sundar Pichai told The Times that Google plans to boost its browser's market traction by entering distribution deals to deliver Chrome pre-installed on retail computer running on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

While Internet Explorer holds a massive usage lead over the competition with some 71 percent of the market, and Chrome pulls in less than one percent, an ExtremeTech performance test has revealed that Chrome is already the fastest browser available.

Outclassing Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3, Safari and Opera, ExtremeTech's selection of tests resulted in Chrome emerging with faster page loads than its market competitors.

For example, while Chrome required only nine seconds to fully load the BBC Web site, leading players Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 3 needed 15 seconds; also, Chrome only took five seconds to load video-sharing service YouTube, while Firefox needed six seconds and Internet Explorer 7 needed seven seconds.

Based on our arbitrary score assignments, Google Chrome is the speed king,” said the ExtremeTech article. “It's also clear from our testing that Microsoft really needs to get IE 8 out the door – Internet Explorer 7 not only has compatibility issues, but is substantially slower in many ways.”

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