Google just released a new beta version of Chrome, Google’s first web browser, which addresses a number of issues we had noticed in earlier releases. Besides improving the performance and stability of a number of plugins, including Flash, Sliverlight, and Quicktime, as well as fixing some security issues, Google also finally added the ability to add words to the built-in spell checker.
Other updates include fixes to scrolling with laptop touchpads and better reliability for those users who access the web through a proxy server.
If you are using Chrome, your browser will update itself in the next few days, or, if you are impatient, you can also just download the new version directly or go to “About Google Chrome” and see if the update is already available for you.
Earlier this month, we also wondered if Google was positioning Chrome as a Trojan horse for indexing password protected sites. Earlier versions of Chrome would take a snapshot of every site you visited, whether it was password protected or not, which gave rise to some speculations about Google’s motivations beyond creating a searchable index of those sites on a user’s desktop. Now, Google explicitly states that Chrome no longer stores data from secure sites that use https: and show a lock in the address bar.
Google also addressed a serious security flaw that was discovered just after the first release of Chrome in September. This flaw had the potential to trick users into opening potentially malevolent files, but now, Google will ask users for permission to open these files. Chrome now also saves every executable file with a .download extension and only converts them to their real file names after you confirm that you want to save them.
We also tested this new version of Chrome with the SunSpider and Dromaeo benchmarks. In both cases, Chrome showed a clear improvement in performance over the first beta version, even though Google did not mention any performance improvements in the release notes.