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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Home » , » Google Chrome 7 Beta Released

Google Chrome 7 Beta Released

Google has released an update to the Chrome dev channel, the third in the 7.0 line. The differences are minor from the previous release and it seems like Google is focusing on bug-fixing, resolving minor bug fixes or crashes.

The new beta, Chrome 7.0.517.24, matches that of Tuesday's developer-channel release (28 September 2010). That doesn't include too much directly visible to users--the about:labs feature for experimental options is one item--but it paves the way for major changes.

For a preview of those coming attractions, browser users should check the new developer version that's been cooking for weeks, version 7.0.536.2. The new features include the activation by default of the WebGL 3D graphics technology, an option for built-in Google Instant search results, and some hardware acceleration for some CSS transformations, a way of handling dynamic changes using the Cascading Style Sheets formatting standard.

The first feature enabled through about:labs is a new ability to show all tabs through an Expose-like feature on Mac OS X and to show tabs vertically on the left side of the browser on Windows. Those who wanted a three-finger downward swipe on a Mac trackpad to jump to the bottom of a Web page, as Firefox does, will be disappointed to find that gesture activates the tab Expose view.

Also through about:labs, Windows gets an upgrade to the omnibox, the dual-purpose address and search bar, so it shows the search-as-you-type behavior of Google Instant. It's awkward at this stage--the omnibox drop-down covers the top searchresults--but oubtless it'll improve.

A lot more hardware acceleration is on the way, but don't necessarily expect it to arrive for Chrome 7. Mozilla and Microsoft, the top two browser makers, have been racing to build hardware acceleration into their browsers as well.

The about:labs mechanism, which parallels Firefox's about:config option as an easier way to change under-the-hood browser settings, will be getting more exercise in the future. One item coming to about:labs is 2D Graphics acceleration, for example. For now, about:labs changes require a browser restart.

The last time the beta version passed a major milestone was August 11 with Chrome 6. Google is aiming to release new versions every six weeks, roughly double the earlier pace.

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