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Google Chrome Turns Seven, Advances with Security and Performance Gains

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After seven years of development, Google continues its rapid pace of release and enhancement for its Chrome browser. On the seventh anniversary of the first Chrome public release on September 2, Google released Chrome stable version 45 and Chrome beta 46.

Google Chrome debuted on September 2, 2008 after months of speculation about Google’s intentions regarding entering the browser market. The first Chrome browser entered the market at a time when Microsoft’s IE still dominated, though Firefox was making a dent in that market share. Today, according to multiple sets of stats, including Statcounter, Google Chrome stands as the world’s most popular web browser.

With Chrome 45, much of the focus is on security fixes which are patched in the browser. In total, Google says it patched 29 security flaws with Chrome 45, of which at least nine were reported by external third party researchers.

For the nine externally reported flaws, Google is paying researchers a total of $40,500 in bug bounty awards. Google first began to pay security researchers for responsibly disclosing flaws in Chrome in 2010 with the Chrome stable release. Back then, Google’s top payout was only $1,337. Since then Google has paid out millions in awards, and has also increased the amounts it pays researchers.

For Chrome 45, the top bug bounty payout is $7,500 which was awarded to two individual researchers for three different flaws. Security researcher Mariusz Mlynski was awarded $7,500 for CVE-2015-1292, which is a Cross-Origin bypass security issue in Service Worker. Mlynski was awarded an additional $7,500 for a Cross-Origin bypass security issue in DOM (Document Object Model) as well, identified as CVE-2015-1293. Google also awarded $7,500 to an anonymous researcher for another Cross-Origin bypass security issue in DOM, identified as CVE-2015-1291.

Looking forward, the new Chrome 46 Beta release takes performance another step forward for Google’s seven year old browser. One of the biggest performance bottlenecks for any browser is loading times for a page, which can be the result of images or autoloading of video. Both of those issues are being addressed in Chrome 46.

Chrome 46 introduces new capabilities that enable website developers to help the browser to load the best image size for a given client. Additionally there is now a preconnect feature, which is also intended to improve performance.

“By initiating early “preconnects”, the browser can set up the necessary sockets ahead of time and eliminate the costly DNS, TCP, and TLS roundtrips from the critical path of the actual request,” Google web performance engineer Ilya Grigorik wrote in a blog post.

Going a step further With Chrome 46, audio and video content will not automatically play unless the tab on which the content exists is in the foreground.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Datamation and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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