New Google Chrome Beta - New Features Guide

If you haven't checked the Google Chrome page (as such an update won't show in the About Google Chrome section of the browser), a new beta version of Google's internet browser is now out for download -- version

Quoting Chrome Blog:

There's a brand new beta for you to try out today. As always, we continue to focus on speed, and this beta release shows over 30% improvement on both the V8 and SunSpider benchmarks over our current stable channel release. We've also improved two of the most loved and most used features of Google Chrome: the New Tab page and the Omnibox. Plus, we decided to add a little bit of style by allowing you to deck out your browser with colors, patterns, and images.

On the outside, here are some of the most noticeable new features of the new Chrome Beta:

Improved New Tab / Main Navigation Page:

Here are the main changes vs. the older version --

1. Widescreen Preview Thumbnails of Favorite Pages
2. Drag and Drop feature for Previews Thumbnails

Embarrassed that checking out lolcats is showing up as your most popular browser pastime? Now you can bump up something dignified and refined into that top Most Visited slot with a simple click and drag of your mouse. You can pin website thumbnails to a particular spot so they don't disappear even if your browsing habits change. Last but not least, you can hide parts of the page if you don't want to see them using the layout buttons on the top right of the New Tab page.

3. One-click to Remove Preview Thumbnail (x)
4. Choice between List View and Thumbnail View for Favorite Pages (buttons on upper right corner)
5. Option to hide or show main navigation page contents (drop down menu on upper right corner)
6. New "Even More" tab -- in development

Improved Omnibar / Omnibox

The Omnibox is indisputably an important part of Google Chrome -- it helps you get to the sites you're looking for with just a few keystrokes. With this release, we've optimized the presentation of the drop-down menu and added little icons to help you distinguish between suggested sites, searches, bookmarks, and sites from your browsing history.

Presenting new icons:

1. Globe - representing the website related to the query
2. Magnifying lens - representing search
3. Star - bookmarked items related to the query

Also, you may now search a specific site right on the Omnibox. No need to visit the site itself:

Just press tab after typing in the website name:

Cool feature, really.

And finally, we have themes:

Now we're adding a little bit of style by allowing you to add a theme to your browser. So, if you've been dying for a browser that reminds you of the Friendly Confines, or if you just want the comfort of your favorite blanket when you're browsing the web, now you can have it. Of course, if baseball or quilting isn't your thing, you can change the theme of your browser by visiting the Themes Gallery. There is still some testing to do -- we're only launching some very basic themes and there are still some kinks to work out, but we will add more themes in the future as we roll this out to the stable version.

To apply your theme, all you have to do is to:

1. Click on the Tool button (wrench)
2. Click on "Options"
3. On the pop up window, click on Personal Stuff
4. On the bottom of the page click on "Get Themes" button
5. Choose your theme

I chose Baseball. Looks cool, right?

But the most important improvement is that Google Chrome Beta is now FASTER THAN EVER! And it does this by being a smart browser. How so?

Google Chrome is now smarter about prioritizing the requests for the new page -- for instance, fetching text, images, and video for your new page -- ahead of the requests from the older pages.

As a conclusion, while Google Chrome is not perfect...still (and I should know, since I've been using the browser ever since it was launched), this new beta version is proving to be a step forward for the whole Google browser venture. It's just getting better with every new release and I bet that the best is truly yet to come.


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