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Google Returns Chrome To Beta, Touts Speed Boost 110

CWmike writes "Google yesterday reversed its decision to ditch the beta label from its Chrome browser, saying it is restoring the moniker to some builds to get faster feedback to developers. 'Since we took the 'beta' tag off Google Chrome in December, we've been updating two release channels: developer and stable,' said Brian Rakowski, a Chrome product manager, in a new blog Google kicked off on Tuesday. 'With our latest release, we're re-introducing the beta channel for some early feedback.' The first beta, Chrome, includes several new features, said Rakowski, and it boasts a significant speed increase over the current stable version of the browser, According to Google's tests, the beta is 35% faster than the stable build when measured by the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark suite, and 25% faster on the company's own V8 tests."
Reader Al notes too that "Google has launched Chrome Experiments, a site where Javascript coders can upload projects that make use of Chrome's speed and processing abilities. The site already features a handful of cool 'experiments' including a balls that jump between browser windows, a gravitationally-challenged version of the Google homepage and a game that runs through nine different browsers. It's cool stuff alright, but some experts wonder whether browser security might be a more important thing to focus on."
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Google Returns Chrome To Beta, Touts Speed Boost

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  • It'd be nice if a company that prided itself on not being evil released the browser for more than one platform (dare I say, the evil one?)....
    • by andrewd18 ( 989408 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @05:48PM (#27248251)
      Just because a company's informal motto is "Don't be evil." doesn't mean they have to release their products for Linux.

      Now I think it'd be unwise if they didn't release it for Linux, but it definitely doesn't make them evil.
      • by SultanCemil ( 722533 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @05:55PM (#27248353)
        I'm just saying, on a scale of 0 to 100 (0 being kittens rolling around, 100 being Vader running hell), not releasing Chrome for Linux is somewhere around 70. That's all. Fell free to disagree. Discuss amongst yourselves.
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Except they are releasing it. It's just gonna be a while (current build is "experimental"). There will be a linux release eventually. It's not particularly evil when it's difficult to create cross-plaform software with the goals google has in mind for the browser (It will probably require various hooks into the specific operating system). It's to be expected that they focus on windows first.

        • by xant ( 99438 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @07:20PM (#27249401) Homepage

          Kittens are a zero? Man, kittens can *kill* you. I almost choked on one once.

        • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 )

          I'm just saying, on a scale of 0 to 100 (0 being kittens rolling around, 100 being Vader running hell)

          Carter: Security Systems has its tendrils into every element of our society - the government, our homes, the police, the courts - I'm not gonna spike this story just because it deals with dollar amounts beyond your comprehension! It's too important!
          Murray: ...cerebral...
          Theora: Murray, we're trying to play this takeover as a threat to our average viewer. Nobody knows who's doing it. I mean, we all deal with SS every day - what if some really dangerous people got control of it?
          Murray: Who do you think contr

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I'm thinking a 14. Seeing as how a browser with what, 4% market is being asked to make a version for a loosely confederated set of GNU/Linux based OS'es with a less than 5% market share?

          So they would run on, let's see, 3,752 machines?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @05:55PM (#27248359)

      There's an unofficial Linux build called Chromium:

      A story ran on it yesterday on a familiar website... I think it's called "Slashdot" or something:

      • by basementman ( 1475159 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @06:56PM (#27249115) Homepage
        I tried Chromium and at this stage it is so buggy and slow that it is totally unusable. At this point I am forced to run FireFox with a bunch of add ons to try and mimic chromium's functionality, but that won't help you get to the speed of Google Chrome.
      • by Aeolien ( 939711 )
        Downloaded and ran it as a result of that story. Ironically, going to in Chromium caused a segfault. It's definitely not ready for primetime, something the devs are the first to admit!
      • I'm not sure if anyone else had the same problems I had with Chromium, but my instance compiled and was able to run Chrome. However, SSL was non-functional as was combo boxes with HTML forms. Maybe it's a specific issue on my system (Ubuntu 8.10). I've not yet attempted to track down the issue though since I have the source. ;)

      • I was just gonna bring that up. Posting from it now actually :)

        It doesn't really work well - I have no tabs, it crashes whenever I try to create a tab, it crashes whenever I click a link from my google homepage, it crashes...well, it crashes a lot. But I'm still debating using it over firefox - the speed boost and fact that it doesn't eat up all my system resources all the time are making it a rather pleasent experience.

        Oh, it also needed 10GB of hard drive space to compile everything. And took about an hou

    • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @06:00PM (#27248429)
      What does the platform have to do with evil or not? 90% of the software out there only works on one platform, and surely you're not going to say they're all evil. Chrome is open source and has been from day one; if it doesn't work on another platform, do the work yourself to get it there. As it is, they're releasing for the platform that has far and away the most users and not diluting their development efforts.
      • by IceFox ( 18179 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @06:11PM (#27248585) Homepage
        Who cares about 90% of software, we are talking about browsers. Browsers come on all platforms these days. And to top this Chome is advertising on slashdot which is known for have tons of Windows Loving users and users who like to talk about windows only software in positive ways. As long as Chrome does not exist on LInux or exists in a form that is a joke expect it to get trashed on slashdot. And for the second part I have contributed to Chrome [] to help get it to compile on Linux, but it is a long way off before these is anything close to what a user would expect. Chrome really has a PR problem with Linux which a lot of early adopters use.
    • by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @11:16PM (#27251287) Journal

      You could show your interest and give them an email list of Linux hopefuls... []

      Who knows, maybe that actually look at the count of email addresses to decide on the proper resources to allocate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @05:50PM (#27248287)

    Who wanted really fast JavaScript?

    • Users of Google services, which abuse JavaScript usage beyond initial intention of this scripting language design.
    • That's a good question. Maybe for having a haskell-interpreter written in javascript.
      Imaging how you would address the dom-tree though ...

    • by rockNme2349 ( 1414329 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:40PM (#27250199)
      Google's applications all run based on javascript. The current browsers didn't run javascript very fast, so performance lagged. Google released a browser and spat really fast javascript in the face of mozilla and microsoft. Next thing you know firefox and ie have new releases with faster javascript to compete with chrome. People switching to chrome is just a side affect for google. They're goal of making other browsers faster is completed. I have to say, evil or not, they're really smart guys, and know how to get what they want.
  • When can i get a Linux version???

    All i've got at the moment is CrossOver Chromium v.0.9.0 - which isn't much use really.

  • worst summary ever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jgarra23 ( 1109651 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @05:53PM (#27248327)

    Chrome is not in beta, there has ALWAYS been beta builds around for Chromium & they are advertising those builds more since the new features are pretty solid (and the speed too) but Chrome is NOT in beta.

  • Cool Experiments (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @06:05PM (#27248483) Homepage Journal

    One of the cooler ones I saw for Firefox 3.1b3 was real-time chroma-key replacement* in video. (i.e. The blue screen technique) Does anyone know if this new version of Chrome supports the video tag yet? I've been doing experiments with real-time video effects in Firefox, but I'd like to start ensuring that they're cross browser.

    * I did my own version of the Chroma-Key replacement that ran a Javascript function for each pixel. It managed real-time playback even on slower PCs!

  • Perfect for Linux (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It makes perfect sense for Google to release a fast Javascript browser. Many of their apps require active javascript and the performance of these apps, or at least the perceived performance, is directly related to the javascript speed.

    On Linux it's an interesting story. Firefox is slow. I use it on a daily basis, and unfortunately, it's annoyingly slow. Bugs that should have been fixed months ago are still evident. Granted, some of these problems are related to Flash, but not all.

    (I'd go as far as to say th

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The article summary refutes itself.

    There are multiple Chrome release channels.

    There is a stable, non-beta channel (1.0.x).

    There is a beta channel (2.0.x stable-ish).

    And there is a dev channel (2.0.x, bleeding edge, weekly builds)

    They are not "returning" Chrome to beta. They are working on the next version of Chrome.

    The version numbers are kind of a big tipoff. FYI.

  • by AlienRancher ( 734517 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @06:16PM (#27248633)
    Google has not reversed their position. This is the beta for what will be 2.0 eventually. The 1.0 branch is and will be release. See: []
  • Firefox bashing will commence in 3... 2... 1...

    • nah they too busy restarting their browser

  • I find it vastly amusing the amount of press that browser "speed" gets (compared to trivialities, like, say, "usability in peoples' computer-based work patterns").

    Ok sure, javascript engine speed might be important, but javascript clearly is inadequate as a rich-client development platform anyway.

    I for one do not sit here on my macbook or my dual-core 2.6GHz 2G RAM pc and think to my self "damn these 70 browser windows and tabs are rendering slow - damn damn damn". No, I pretty much never have to think abou

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by castorvx ( 1424163 )
      I'm guessing you don't use some pretty heavy duty JavaScript sites? There is a substantial difference in performance between browsers on some sites, and I say this with a very high powered system.

      There are a lot of performance issues that could still be resolved. While your other points are relevant, I would say that the issue of performance is a long way from being resolved, and not just with JavaScript.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Braino420 ( 896819 )

        I'm guessing you don't use some pretty heavy duty JavaScript sites?


      • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

        My god man, how heavy can these sites get on Javascript? The most demanding sites I've been to, in terms of tax on the system (flash not included) are Slashdot and Digg. How much worse than the "4+ seconds to render the comments page" I experience on my system could it be?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WoLpH ( 699064 )

      There is a very simple reason for it, speed is one of the few things that can be measured objectively. All forms of usability tests tend to vary per person.

      That makes it really easy to post some benchmarks while any article about usability will be bashed to no end.

    • by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @10:32PM (#27251049)

      Speed is SO NOT the key issue anymore. Netbooks prove this

      Netbooks prove the opposite. Throwing hardware at the problem isn't a solution anymore. No one in their right mind is going to run an office suite on a netbook. The browser is the one place where speed and lightweight memory usage *has* been important. That's why netbooks pretty much run browsers and that's it.

      • ...although a browser that's faster than other browsers on a modern dual-core desktop is not necessarily going to be faster than other browsers on a netbook. If people are going to benchmark browsers, there probably should be at least two separate sets of benchmarks.
      • No one in their right mind is going to run an office suite on a netbook.

        Eh? Every single x86 netbook on the market can run an Office suite just fine, and a lot of people use them for that, students especially.

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      I agree with you completely. It isn't speed that's the issue, so much as usability.

      I put up with the bloat of Firefox on my 512Mb laptop on the sole basis that it's functional. It has the extensions I need, and I can work it in around how I do my other work. Opera crashes incessantly, though it's probably second best in terms of 'usable'. And IE doesn't even approach either. Chrome, the little I've used it, is closer to IE than the other two (and not that much different than Firefox in terms of memory use).

    • I find it vastly amusing the amount of press that browser "speed" gets (compared to trivialities, like, say, "usability in peoples' computer-based work patterns").

      To an extent they're related...

      Speed doesn't just mean rendering speed (where they're all good enough) - it also includes JavaScript speed where you can never be fast enough (websites/applications - such as slashdot - will continue to push the limits of what's possible with current speed), and overall responsiveness.

      One huge advantage of Chrome ov

  • Is this a master beta?

  • by Teratogen2k ( 1329481 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @10:19PM (#27250943)
    All those talking about Chrome being a failure unless it runs on Linux miss one of the best advantages of Chrome existing. If Google can manage to get even a few percent of Internet Explorer's user base, Google has succeeded. Now that Microsoft has finally realized in the last year or so that they are losing badly to competing browsers, they are making a "standards-compliant" IE8. For us web developers, we should be screaming in joy. I'm not trying to be a Google fanboy, and I likely won't even use Chrome, but for me, this is the best thing Chrome has offered. I'll leave any debate about Google speeding up JavaScript to allow for more dynamic applications up to you guys.
    • I agree that competition is forcing Microsoft to change, but I don't think it is at all fair to say they're "losing badly to competing browsers". They still have a sizable majority of the browser market right now.

      They're not making significant changes to IE because they're losing, but because they want to keep winning.

      • Microsofts market share is shrinking, and that alone is worrying for them. It is shrinking fast even, and is reaching the point where they can not be called the de-facto standard anymore. That, and that alone, is what worries them.
  • faster? so what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @07:03AM (#27253431) Homepage

    Maybe I'm in the minority here, but what's all the fuss with a "faster" browser, at this point? They're pretty damn fast as they are (pick one). The big problem, in my mind, is their memory use. That goes for both "normal running" memory use, and "my god it's leaky" memory use.

    Currently, Firefox is running with 360M virtual and 131M resident memory utilized. The browser window has been open for 85 minutes with exactly 20 tabs - no flash, and 1 slashdot page. I've got to shut down firefox due to excessive swapping/poor system performance more often than I used to have to reboot Windows 9x due to stability issues!

    Firefox, IE, and Opera have all shot up in their memory use extremely quickly - to the point where Firefox has become almost unusable on my laptop with 512M, while having Tbird and open at the same time. And that's only with about 20 tabs open, noscript, flashblock, and a bunch of other things to reduce the memory overhead.

    Just because RAM is cheap doesn't mean you should leave people out in the cold who have older stuff. Likewise, if you bloat your products, porting them to portable devices (cell phones, etc.) is going to be a bit troublesome: RAM doesn't seem to be having the same speed or capacity leaps that CPUs are - and in a portable, sticking more RAM in is only going to decrease battery life.

    • ^ please mod parent up +5 insightful ^
      This is so true. Firefox's memory consumption is huge, even with only 2 or 3 tabs open, and I barely have a few extensions installed: Nuke Everything; Download Statusbar; and english and french dictionaries.

    • I'm confused when this is said I have 4 tabs open in FF including this one. For addons I have NoScript, Adblock+, Filterset.G updater, bugmenot, Firemacs, Flashgot, McAfee SiteAdvisor, and User Agent Switcher.

      According to Process Explorer the working set is 64mb and the peak is 67.
      • Me, personally: Firefox, 49 tabs, VM size (Windows XP) is over 450 MB. To be fair, however, Outlook currently is taking over 300 MB VM too (!). I realise that this is a large number of tabs, but still...
  • Do not use this version! I'm constantly suffering non-responsive tabs that do nothing for ages and cannot be closed or reloaded without killing the process. Stay away!

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