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Google Chrome Is Out of Beta 444

Posted by timothy
from the could-be-a-contender dept.
BitZtream writes "This morning Google announced that Chrome is out of Beta, and showing improvements for plugin support, most notably video speed improvements. It also contains an updated javascript engine, claiming that it operates 1.4 times faster than the beta version, and work has begun on an extensions platform to allow easier integration with the browser by third parties."
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Google Chrome Is Out of Beta

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai ... m minus language> on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:34PM (#26081681) Homepage Journal

    I have to give the Chrome team credit. Chrome has been improving in stability and usability almost like magic. From day to day, it seems like problems I had previously just disappear. As it turns out, Chrome has an automatic updater that runs in the background. The browser is constantly and silently upgrading itself as the Chrome team push out new updates. The results are quite impressive.

    If you'd reading this in chrome and want to force the most recent update, just go to the "About" screen. Chrome will tell you if an update is available and allow you to manually run the updater. There's a good chance that most users are already updated, but it doesn't hurt to check.

    The killer feature that I still think is missing is the ability to exit and save tabs. Chrome can Restore after a crash (most of the time), but you can't manually restart the browser without loosing the history you have open. Another issue I wish they'd fix is remembering the last save directory when doing a "Save As...". I realize that keeping a single Downloads directory is userfriendly, but using it as the default location when the user is overriding the download location is annoying. If I need to download 10 files, I need to navigate to the same directory 10 times. That's just ridiculous.

    Otherwise my gripes are mostly minor and have no real bearing on its use in day to day activities. (e.g. I hate that I can't view the properties of an image. Sometimes I need to verify that its under a certain size. Or that there's no easy method of tracking page errors.) Thankfully, most of my gripes are developer-related and are better served by keeping a copy of FireFox around.

    Kudos to Google for working on another alternative to Internet Explorer! If Chrome and Firefox can each grab a significant marketshare, Internet Explorer's hold over the Internet will disappear. Firefox's popularity has already caused it to wane. I look forward to the day when using IE will net you nothing but pages telling you to upgrade your web browser. :-)

    • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:42PM (#26081841) Homepage Journal

      We are also developing an extensions platform along with support for Mac and Linux.

      Bingo. When it reaches the functionality of Firefox I'll be the first to get it. It will give FireFox a run for its money.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Stopgap measure: Make a symlink/shortcut from Downloads directory to the desired location. Repeated navigation is less daunting.

    • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:54PM (#26082041) Homepage Journal

      The WebKit team and anyone who ever contributed to it should also get praise. Without it Chrome would never have seen the light of day. Google Chrome is essentially Google's chrome around the rendering engine and any tweaks they provided to WebKit.

    • by Arionhawk (1115559) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:57PM (#26082091) Homepage

      The killer feature that I still think is missing is the ability to exit and save tabs. Chrome can Restore after a crash (most of the time), but you can't manually restart the browser without loosing the history you have open. Another issue I wish they'd fix is remembering the last save directory when doing a "Save As...". I realize that keeping a single Downloads directory is userfriendly, but using it as the default location when the user is overriding the download location is annoying. If I need to download 10 files, I need to navigate to the same directory 10 times. That's just ridiculous.

      That "killer feature" is in there, you just have to turn it on in the options, in the "on start-up" section. You just select the option that says restore the pages that were open last. I agree with you on the saving files thing, that is rather annoying.

    • by Homr Zodyssey (905161) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:30PM (#26082631) Journal
      The "Updater" killed it for me. I downloaded/installed Chrome, browsed a little and thought 'ooh isn't this neat.' Then, I killed it and fired up a video game. It was slower. I looked in my Task Manager and there's GoogleUpdater running. I uninstalled Chrome and never looked back.

      I really don't care if they want to run an updater when I'm using Chrome. But I don't want software installing stupid stuff to run in the background when the software isn't being used. Its why I hate iTunes and Tivo Desktop. I'm even a little annoyed at Sun (Java Updater).

      My machine is over 5 years old. I don't have the resources to allow every new piece of software to run some updater in the background, nor do I have the resources to go out and by a new machine right now.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by More_Cowbell (957742) *

        Then, I killed it and fired up a video game. It was slower.

        I know it would be a hell of a coincidence if it was something else causing you problems, but... are you sure it was Chrome?
        I just tried the same thing; fired it up (and updated, as I haven't run it since it came out - back then it did not have smooth scrolling).
        When I killed it, the updater is sure there, but it is using 516K.
        Of the 73 processes I have running, it takes third from last in memory use. Seriously, RAM for older computers is very cheap these days; if you notice when you are short 516K, pick

    • by daver00 (1336845) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:52PM (#26082983)

      (e.g. I hate that I can't view the properties of an image. Sometimes I need to verify that its under a certain size. Or that there's no easy method of tracking page errors.)

      This I don't understand it, but this is the biggest misconception about chrome there is! Chrome has the best and most comprehensive page debugger I have seen, for Javascript, html and css. Right click on your image, and select "inspect element" from the menu. You will get all of your image properties plus all of its surrounding code. Page errors, same deal just right click and select "inspect element" and you can get an extremely good, verbose output of any javascript errors, or track your way through the dom as it highlights elements firebug style.

      Chrome rules, it is the best browser bar none, especially when it comes to development!

    • by Paul Slocum (598127) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @06:04PM (#26083197) Homepage Journal
      Another issue I wish they'd fix is remembering the last save directory when doing a "Save As..."...

      If you're in Windows, Direct Folders [codesector.com] fixes that problem in almost every program. I'm not one to install a lot of add-ons, but since I discovered Direct Folders, I can't live without it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:36PM (#26081727)

    Am I the only one surprised just to hear that Google has taken something out of beta?

  • Surprised (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fredstrading (1426003)
    I'm surprised, Google never takes anything out of Beta.. I've been using Chrome since it was first available, haven't had many issues with it. Seems stable to me.
    • by Abreu (173023)

      Thats what I thought... "But, but it hasn't even been a year!"

      Anyway, let me know when we can get it from the Ubuntu repositories...

  • Addons (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kinocho (978177) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:36PM (#26081731)

    I am sorry, I can not conceive the internet any more without add-block...

    • Re:Addons (Score:4, Informative)

      by pushing-robot (1037830) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:42PM (#26081847)

      Get Privoxy [privoxy.org] and don't look back.

      • Re:Addons (Score:4, Insightful)

        by fyleow (1098657) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @06:22PM (#26083513)
        My experience is the opposite. I discovered adblock and never looked back at Privoxy. The user friendliness differences are just staggering. Adblock is a one click install affair while you have to edit text based configuration files for Privoxy.
    • Re:Addons (Score:5, Informative)

      by rite_m (787216) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:52PM (#26082013)
      They are going to [chromium.org] support extensions. The list includes content-filtering extensions like ad-block.
    • Re:Addons (Score:5, Funny)

      by moosesocks (264553) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:05PM (#26082233) Homepage

      I am sorry, I can not conceive the internet any more without add-block...

      I find that subtraction works well.

    • Re:Addons (Score:5, Insightful)

      by windsurfer619 (958212) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:16PM (#26082401)

      Please stop telling everyone about it! I want slashdot to remain free.

      • Re:Addons (Score:5, Insightful)

        by trawg (308495) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @06:39PM (#26083749) Homepage

        Weird, why was this moderated Funny?

        I assume all you guys that run AdBlock realise that ads keep these websites free. I'm happy to absorb a few ads in the interests of getting free content.

        Yes, sometimes they slow page loads, yes, sometimes they're annoying, but they keep sites free.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          And why aren't you moderated Insightful?

          I turn off my ABP on sites I frequently visit as a gesture of support, though I'm sure many people kept theirs on all the time. I used to too but my conscience is slowly catching up to me.

        • Re:Addons (Score:5, Funny)

          by Spit (23158) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @09:44PM (#26085707)

          Slashdot has ads now?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Clifton Beach (809210)
          Viewing the ads won't help keep websites free - You have to actually buy the stuff that's advertised. Even clicking on ads to "pay" for content will only work until the companies who are advertising realise that they're paying for advert flirts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:38PM (#26081783)
    I'd love to try it, but I'm still waiting for the Mac and Linux ports. But I guess if they take it out of beta before those are out, it's not on the top of their list.
  • OEM deals (Score:5, Insightful)

    by javacowboy (222023) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:41PM (#26081827)

    I'm sure Google is trying to work out deals with OEM's to bundle Chrome on Windows PC's. Obviously, they can't do this while the browser still carries the "beta" tag, which is akin to a scarlet letter.

    It's interesting they chose to drop out of "beta" before they implemented one of their supposed top features, namely, cross-platform compatibility.

  • by HaloZero (610207) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `akedotorp'> on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:46PM (#26081919) Homepage
    Call me when I can get it in .dmg format, or just sudo apt-get install GoogleChrome
    • by secmartin (1336705) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:56PM (#26082077)
      There are .dmg's of the current version at http://securityandthe.net/chrome/ [securityandthe.net] if you want to give it a try. These are based on the current SVN tree.
    • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker&gnu,org> on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:05PM (#26082231) Homepage

      Yeah, not releasing on all three major platforms seems pretty brain-.dmg'ed.

      I'm seeing a pattern, though. Could it be that developing cross-platform applications is something for which Google doesn't have any aptitude?

      • by bledri (1283728)

        Yeah, not releasing on all three major platforms seems pretty brain-.dmg'ed.

        I personally run Mac OS X, work on Linux and only use Windows to test against IE [1], so I understand the frustration. But I find it hard to believe that one can't understand hitting 90% of the market as quickly as possible and them filling in as much of the remaining 10%. It's not brain-damaged, it's pragmatic.

        [1] All of this on my Mac using VMware Fusion in unity-mode which is pretty slick. Oh and I also run Chrome and can't wait for the Mac OS X version.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          But I find it hard to believe that one can't understand hitting 90% of the market as quickly as possible and them filling in as much of the remaining 10%.

          If you ever intend to hit that 10%, you're better off starting there.

          Keep in mind, Windows/IE is always the odd one out. Stick to POSIX, and it pretty much works everywhere except Windows. Stick to standard html/css/javascript, and it pretty much works everywhere except IE.

          We keep an ie.css and an ie.js file, for that reason. We develop in Firefox, and only fire up IE to verify that it still works. If it doesn't, we then add some hack to support IE -- much easier than trying to take a completely hacked-up v

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AdamPee (1243018)
      I'd say this is kind of a point. I don't think you should be taking something out of beta before you have reached all of your core beginning announced goals, or announced that you're giving the bugger to it. The point is, that they announced that it is supposed to be cross platform, that it kind of like leaving the tires off your car and calling it close enough.
  • All these speed boosts annoy me. I open it FF in Linux, it runs at roughly 1/2 the speed it does in Windows. Of course, I've been using the same profile for roughly 5 years, so that might have something to do with it (and I've only been a Linux user for 1.5 it's a miracle my profile still works.)

    Still, when I reboot to Windows, Chrome vs. Firefox? Can't tell the difference, in terms of speed. Usability, Firefox wins hands down. Hotkeys, flashblock, Firebug (when flashblock isn't enough), reopen closed tab.

    • by LMacG (118321) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:06PM (#26082243) Journal

      > b) I can easily correct my error if I accidentally close a tab

      When you open a new tab, a list of recently closed tabs is available.

      Aside from that, and it's been covered all over this post, they've publicly stated that they are working on Mac and Linux versions, as well as an add-on framework.

      Most importantly, nobody is forcing you to use Chrome. If your list of requirements is absolute, then just don't use it. Simple.

    • by Bashae (1250564) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:07PM (#26082267)

      I prefer Firefox (3) and am a Firefox user, but as a web developer, I have observed that Chrome is faster and more efficient. You can see it more clearly in certain, more complex rendering situations - For example, text scrolling on top of a fixed background image.

      Personally, what I miss in Chrome (more than the menu bar) is the status bar. I like hovering the mouse pointer above links and quickly seeing what they all do before I actually click them. I also can't understand the absence of the stop button. I know I can press escape, but it's not exactly a feature that should be that hidden.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Chrome has a status bar. It doesnt show unless there is status though. It shows as a blue background box in the lower left of the browser. There is a stop button. It shows up when a page is loading. It is located on the far right of the address bar. It replaces the "play" or "go" button that is there when you already have a page loaded. This makes a little more sense than Operas way of doing it, which is to show the stop button in place of the refresh button... however both make sense in their own wa
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BZ (40346)

      There are several fun things going into the performance difference there. The three main ones I know of are:

      1) MSVC++ happens to generate faster (and smaller) code than g++ does. This is especially noticeable when turning on profile-guided optimization. That gave a 10% speedup across the board on Windows, and basically nothing on Linux. It seems that the g++ profile-guided optimizer could use a lot of work.
      2) Certain parts of the OS that are of critical importance to web browser performance are faster

  • ...for the next update of SRWare Iron [srware.net]. :D

  • No Linux support? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:54PM (#26082047) Homepage Journal
    Sorry Google, but if you're looking to finish what Netscape started -- namely, making the Internet an application delivery platform that does an end-run around Microsoft's monopoly -- you had damn well better make Linux, Macintosh, and appliance-embeddable versions available before you remove the "beta" label.
  • "We absolutely promise that we only want to completely screw over Microsoft [today.com] with this, and certainly not Mozilla Firefox," said Google's Sundar Pichai. "That we put a pile of our sponsored Mozilla developers on the project is completely irrelevant. We're not evil, remember."

    "We are so, so happy with Google Chrome," mumbled Mozilla CEO John Lilly through gritted teeth. "That most of our income is from Google has no bearing on me making this statement."

    Microsoft was unfazed. "Browsers don't need to be integrated with online apps," said marketing developer Ian Moulster. "Certainly not like the operating system ... I'll just get back to you."

    Google's new browser will give you their web and email services, photo processing, mapping, office applications that will run in said browser and will make you a cup of tea. This is all paid for by personally-directed text ads in your tea leaves, based on analysing a DNA sample taken when you sip the tea and sending your genetic code back to Google for future targeting.

    Pichai stressed that Google would maintain complete confidentiality within the marketing department of whatever the browser accessed concerning your confidential business data, bank account details, medical information and personal preferences in pornography. "We're Google. We know where you live. In a completely not evil way. Sponsored link: Get Chrome Browsers on google.com. Or we'll make you use Windows Live."

  • Well, my company specifically blocks download of Chrome. Maybe they know something I don't.

  • 1.4 times better is marketing speech for 40% better and not 140% right? :P
  • * The ability to print a document without the date, the web page URL etc. on the header/footer
    * The ability to block images per web server (or at all) like Firefox can
    • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:18PM (#26082443)

      I'm sure that someone will make a plug-in to block the advertising, but considering that Google is an advertising company that sells web ads as their life blood, I can't see them offering ad-blocking in their own product out of the box. Unless it blocks all ads save for the ones from Google.

      It isn't going to replace Opera on my desktop anytime soon, but then again, they'd have to release versions for Mac, Linux, and FreeBSD for it even to run on any of my desktops.

  • by genner (694963) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:14PM (#26082379)
    Someone had to say it.
  • Kudos! For Google, thats some kind of amazing acomplishment.

  • by Phizzle (1109923) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:17PM (#26082429) Homepage
    But... Have they removed that "Big Brotherly" unique ID "feature", that each of the Chrome Beta installations came with, that loudly identified you on the web?
  • Glad to hear the best browser on the web is out of beta! I look forward to seeing where it goes from here a great deal.
  • by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Thursday December 11, 2008 @09:09PM (#26085399) Homepage Journal

    I don't understand. I set the mousewheel(er, touchpad scroll speed) in Windows, and Chrome insists on going at its own speed for scrolling. I scroll x lines with the zone, and it does page up/page down increments. What the hell?

  • Targeted advertising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shish (588640) on Friday December 12, 2008 @01:59PM (#26093917) Homepage
    It seems that the advertisment network has noticed that this page is talking about chrome a lot -- all the ads I see are "Download chrome for XP / Vista". Smart, but considering my user-agent is Opera/Linux, not smart enough...

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