Google Accelerates Chrome 5 Beta

Latest Chrome beta integrates Flash directly and boosts Javascript performance.

Since the very first release of Google's Chrome browser, JavaScript performance has been a key metric used to highlight its speed compared to the competition. This week, with the release of Google Chrome 5.0.375.29 Beta channel edition for Linux, Mac, and Windows, Google is boosting JavaScript performance yet again.

Chrome's JavaScript delivery is powered by Google's V8 technology, now improved with what the search giant described as double-digit gains over the previous Chrome beta release, which came out in March. According to Google, Chrome 5.0.375.29 Beta is between 30 and 35 percent faster than its predecessor, depending on the JavaScript benchmark used.

Overall, Google is reporting that JavaScript benchmark performance has improved by 305 percent on the SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks since the first Chrome beta release in 2008.

Browser vendors including Opera, Apple and Mozilla have all been actively competing over the last several years in the area of JavaScript performance. At various points, each respective vendor has claimed a lead over their rivals.

Google currently splits its Chrome releases into three "channels," the stable, beta and developer channels, each with its own version of the browser. The developer channel first hit the Chrome 5 mark in February, while the latest stable channel release is the Chrome 4 release.

In addition to the V8 improvements, Chrome 5.0.375.29 Beta is the first Chrome beta to directly integrate the Adobe Flash Player Plugin as part of the browser. With every other browser vendor, Flash is a plugin that users need to load on their own, but Google is taking a different route.

"You’ll automatically receive security and feature updates for Flash Player with Chrome's auto-update mechanism," Mads Ager, a software engineer at Google, wrote in a blog post.

Security researchers have reported in the past that Flash represents a risk to Web users, who are rarely diligent about regularly updating the software to avoid the latest security vulnerabilities. That issue could potentially be resolved by Google's auto-update, which operates in the background to update the version of Chrome on a user's desktop. A Google-sponsored study in 2009, found that Chrome users were more likely to have a fully updated browser ahead of users with Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari or Mozilla Firefox.

Google is also expanding the synchronization capabilities of Chrome in the new beta release. Chrome has had bookmark-syncing capabilities since August 2009. Starting with Chrome 5.0.375.29 Beta, users can now also synchronize browser preferences, such as startup settings and themes as well.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.




Tags: Flash, browsers, JavaScript, Google, Chrome


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