Five hot features coming to Google's Chrome browser

As Mozilla and Microsoft scramble to match its pace, Google adds a raft of new features to its popular contender.

The pace of browser development seems to be reaching breakneck speeds as Mozilla, Google and Microsoft race to keep their contenders ahead in the ongoing battle for supremacy.

After announcing a new, speedier schedule for Firefox, for example, Mozilla on Wednesday launched its "Aurora" channel to enable early testing of upcoming features and innovations in the browser. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9, meanwhile, is barely out of the starting gates, but that hasn't stopped the company from unveiling a preview of its own next version.

And what of Google Chrome? It, indeed, is a big part of the reason for this new sense of haste, with a six-week refresh schedule that has long made its competitors look like the proverbial tortoise by comparison.

Just in the past week or so, in fact, Google has reportedly made several dozen changes to the inner workings and user interface of its Chrome browser, many of them becoming evident in nightly builds over the past few days. It won't be long before they show up in stable releases of the software, so here's a look at some of the highlights of what's coming down the pike.

1. 'SPDY' for Speed

Though it began to show up in Chrome in mid-January, the SPDY protocol (pronounced "speedy") is now fully implemented, according to a report on ConceivablyTech. SPDY is an alternative to HTTP that's designed for transporting content over the Web with minimal latency, and in Google's lab tests, it's created reductions in page load times of up to 64 per cent. Currently, however, those improvements are visible only when using Chrome to visit Google's own sites. All currently downloadable versions of Google Chrome -- nightly build, canary, developer, beta and stable -- now reportedly support SPDY, which will eventually be released as open source, Google says.

2. Beefed-Up Security

Targeting enterprise users, Google has also made some changes to its content security policy, ConceivablyTech notes. Specifically, systems administrators can now use Chrome to block particular types of content, including plug-ins, images, styles, fonts and inline scripts. This, of course, is in addition to the new warnings Google announced earlier this month that alert users to potentially dangerous downloads.3. Touch Tabs

As of the latest Chromium 12 nightly builds, new "touch tabs" allow users to select multiple homepages with app icons much like on a smartphone app screen. Just in the last few days, Google also reportedly added a "Recently Closed" option that lists such pages in a pop-up window.

4. Tab Scrolling

New scroll buttons have now been added to Chrome's side tabs so as to help users access them all. Judging by user comments, tab scrolling has been a frequently requested feature for some time. In addition, tab labels now reportedly feature a fading font in the Windows version of Chrome as well.

5. WebKit Improvements

With the latest WebKit version comes support for Windows 7 gestures as well as for Chrome's Skia backend, which will enable PDF rendering in print preview mode, according to reports.

In January, Chrome surpassed a 10 per cent share of global browser usage for the first time, according to market researcher Net Applications. By March, it claimed 11.57 per cent of the worldwide browser market.

As the browser wars continue, it's exciting to see the ongoing march of innovation. I'm already looking forward to the next round.

Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk .

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags applicationsGoogleMicrosoftbrowserssoftwareinternetmozilla

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?