Google's '30% faster' Chrome is just the 2.0 beta released as RTM

Up until today, Google had been distinguishing between development tracks 1 and 2 of its Chrome Web browser. Track 1 (last known build version 1.0.154.65) was the company's production edition, though a link on the same page where you could download 1.0 could take you to the "test" version instead, version 2.0.177.1. Google's always had interesting variations on the "beta" theme.

Anyway, today the company stated on its blog that it's "updating to a faster version" of Chrome, quoting an internal benchmark score giving its JavaScript processing 32.1% better speed in the new version over the old version. Well, that new version -- as Betanews verified today -- is actually 2.0.177.1, which is the same "new version" it's been for a few weeks now. Users of version 2 -- which other services had been distributing as the "most recent release" -- will notice no difference in performance.

The difference that some users will see is that there's no test version choice anymore; Google's download page takes the user straight to 2.0.177.1 for the first time. Gone are the links to the 1.0 editions, and users with 1.0 builds may (or may not) notice their browsers are being updated as we speak. In fact, in Betanews tests Thursday afternoon, Google's server download speed was nothing anyone would want to shout from the rooftops about.

"Making the Web faster continues to be our main area of focus," reads a post on the Chrome blog by Chrome engineer Darin Fisher this afternoon. "Thanks to a new version of WebKit and an update to our JavaScript engine, V8, interactive web pages will run even faster. We've also made sure that JavaScript keeps running fast even when you have lots of tabs open. Try opening a bunch of Web applications and then running your favorite benchmark."

As for anyone who's been confused by the version numbers, Fisher added, "We're referring to this as Chrome 2, but that's mainly a metric to help us keep track of changes internally. We don't give too much weight to version numbers and will continue to roll out useful updates as often as possible."

Betanews tests (which do not use Google's own V8 benchmark algorithm, preferring to use independently developed or derived tests instead) show the latest build of Google Chrome 2 to be about 16.3% faster than Chrome 1 on an identically configured test virtual system. Prompted by reader requests, Betanews is building a new physical test platform that will enable us to gauge performance under different versions of Windows on the same hardware.

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