Google Chrome released a new beta version today that takes the insurgent browser‘s instant and predictive features even further. The Instant Pages feature that pre-loads Web pages in the background as you search has been expanded to the omnibox, Chrome’s combination address and search bar. If you’re typing in a site you visit all the time, and the address auto-completes, Chrome will begin pre-rendering the page, reducing load time.

The new beta also improves Chrome’s security against malware attacks. The Chrome team reports that malware attacks exploiting user-initiated processes are on the rise. The browser can now analyze executable files – such as “.exe” and “.msi” files – that you downloaded yourself. Chrome will warn users to delete suspicious files.

A Blistering Pace

Chrome’s blistering pace of powerful, new features made it our best consumer Web product of 2011. The most recent version added support for multiple user profiles that sync, so users can access their browser data from any copy of Chrome using their Google ID. That update was more about convenience than security, but the upcoming release will bring that focus back.

Chrome is now the #2 browser in the world after Internet Explorer, but it’s not just the features that make Chrome worth watching. Chrome developers, with the support of the open-source community, are pushing the Web ahead. Chrome is building upon new text-to-speech APIs and advanced audio features. It’s pushing a new image format to challenge JPEG and PNG by reducing image file sizes, making the Web load faster.

A Browser For A Better Web

Chrome and Firefox developers are working together on Web Intents, standard protocols for Web apps to communicate, even if they don’t know each other. As Chrome developer Peter Kasting wrote on Christmas Eve, the teams see each other as partners, not competitors. By improving their browsers together, they’re making the Web better. A better Web means more eyeballs on Google services. That explains why Google was willing to drop a billion dollars to remain Firefox’s default search provider.

It also explains why the Chrome team works so relentlessly to make browsing faster. In this instance, consumers’ and Google’s interests are aligned, and that makes for one heck of a Web browser.

You can try out the new Chrome beta today.

And no, this post was not sponsored by Google. We wrote it ourselves. 😉

Which Web browser(s) do you use, and why?