Google answers Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate with new Chrome 10 beta

Late yesterday, Google released the latest beta of Chrome, version 10, celebrating the move to double figures with some very interesting new features. Google has kept Chrome development at breakneck pace since the first beta released in September 2008. Chrome revved from v4 to v8 in 2010. The v10 beta release comes days after Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate 1 topped 2 million downloads.

According to a Google blog post, Chrome 10's new Crankshaft version of its V8 JavaScript engine now runs scripts some 66 percent faster than previous versions, as measured by the V8 benchmark suite. The new beta build also includes hardware-accelerated video, which Google says may cut CPU usage by as much as 80 percent when running full-screen, assisting performance generally and extending your battery life.

Google also revamped the settings interface, which now appears in a tab as opposed to a dialog box, an approach that reminds of Chrome OS running on Google's unbranded Cr-48 notebook.  This also includes a search box, so if you're not sure where to find a particular option, just enter a related keyword, like "language," and Chrome will display anything related: font customizations, language and spell-checker settings, the Translate option, and more.

These aren't links to the settings, either;  they're the same buttons, lists and checkboxes that users may have found when searching through the options themselves, making the options needing tweaks more immediately available. Clearly improving convenience and ease of use are priorities for this release.

Elsewhere, security improvements include a new mechanism for disabling outdated plugins -- that is by default. Should users choose to enable Chrome Sync then, by default, they now also get password synchronization across all their Chrome installations.

There's plenty to offer, then, and despite the beta tag the browser seemed fast and reliable in our initial tests. If you'd like to try it for yourself then the download is available now.

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