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Google Technology

Google Betas Chrome 4, Touts 30% Speed Boost 383

CWmike writes "Google upgraded the beta version ( of its Chrome browser yesterday, boasting a 30% speed improvement over the current production edition and adding integrated bookmark synchronization. Developers Idan Avraham and Anton Muhin, who announced the release, tout Chrome 4.0's faster JavaScript rendering speeds. 'We've improved performance scores on Google Chrome by 30% since our current stable release, and by 400% since our first stable release,' they said, referring to Chrome 3.0. The new beta includes the ability to sync bookmarked sites across multiple computers."
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Google Betas Chrome 4, Touts 30% Speed Boost

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  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @10:54PM (#29990090)

    I bet google would love to see your bookmarks, I bet advertisers would pay dearly for that sort of info.

    • by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:21PM (#29990326)

      if only you could look at the source* to see that they are not doing that...wait what?

      *and if you don't trust them compile your own

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        That would be chromium-browser, chrome itself is a derivative of that, but not Free software.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Try SRware Iron. It's just Chrome - tracking bits.
            Comparison of Chrome Vs Iron []

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Yeah, they slap some Google branding on. That's it. The distinction between Chrome and Chromium is entirely academic (or legal if you prefer). They're functionally equivalent.

          If you have a problem using Chrome because it isn't free software, use Chromium. You won't notice a difference other than the branding.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by lwsimon ( 724555 )

            While I believe you are correct, there is absolutely no way to know that. Google could be taking any number of things onto the Chromium codebase before shipping Chrome, and you would have no way of knowing.

        • Youre not allowed to label a compiled version "chrome" AFAIK, but judging by the SRWare Iron team's work, you certainly can compile a full blown chrome-clone with whatever pieces removed and whatever added you want.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Dwedit ( 232252 )

      That would be Firefox which reveals your bookmarks. By abusing the visited link style, it can conditionally load images depending on whether or not you have visited a specific page. Carpet-bomb enough of those, and you can tell which of the top 5000 websites a user has been to.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      For the tinfoil hat crowd, theres always SRWare Iron, which is Chrome, with updated webkit, with any google-related tracking removed. You lose site suggestion and auto-update tho, which personally i enjoy.
  • Smoking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nithendil ( 1637041 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:00PM (#29990136)
    Loads and almost instantly. Occasionally the browser will just hang for a second but it makes firefox look like molasses. I have serious reservations about using Google as my search, browser, voicemail, and email but it is difficult when they keep blowing the competition out of the water.
    • Re:Smoking (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 05, 2009 @12:38AM (#29990902)

      I'm right there with you. Basically all of the free tools from Google have no serious competition in terms of quality. Other tools may have more users, but it's not because they're better.

      I'm not saying we give them a free pass, but have there been any serious breaches of privacy by Google? We've seen dirty moves by Microsoft, we've seen slow moves by Firefox. We've seen silly moves from Yahoo. We've seen invasive moves by Facebook.

      I see Google as pretty freaking amazing. I think even the people who take issue with one thing here or there would have to agree that they are definitely the least of all evils.

      • Re:Smoking (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SuperAlgae ( 953330 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @01:39AM (#29991314)

        Well said. Google bashers always baffle me with their lack of factual support. A healthy caution of companies that have so much information is justified. If someone wants to avoid Google for that reason, then fine. But they should not pretend it is because Google has shown any pattern of abuse. If anything, they have been much better than most companies.

        I saw someone in another forum using Google's slogan "don't be evil" as some kind of argument that they are evil... asking why they would need such a motto. From my perspective, "don't be evil" is one of the few corporate slogans worth anything. Unfortunately, it is something that cannot be taken for granted. It's sad, but that's the world we live in. And "don't be evil" is certainly more meaningful than most of the warm/fuzzy tripe that other companies spew in their mission statements.

        • But they should not pretend it is because Google has shown any pattern of abuse. If anything, they have been much better than most companies.

          The quote in my subject from Lord Acton [], has been proven time and again, that despite the purest of intentions, a concentration of power will corrupt any person, organization or company. This is the reason that "smaller government" is a desirable thing; We have examples time and again from history that overpowerful organizations aren't trustworthy (current example: US

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Thing 1 ( 178996 )
          Yeah, more like "don't be evil ... unless in China."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 )

        Yeah, Google has consistently required court orders before they hand out info. They've even turned down the US government's warrantless demands numerous times, while Microsoft and Yahoo just handed everything over.

        I haven't heard of them sharing private info with other companies - they keep whatever they mine closely guarded. I think they realize their reputation is worth more than whatever they could gain by collaborating.

  • The biggest feature keeping me on Firefox right now is bookmark and password syncing. Xmarks does the job beautifully.

    I love the fact that native bookmark syncing will be coming to Chrome, but nobody has mentioned password syncing. This is arguable just as important as bookmark sync and should be possible to release alongside bookmarks in this next release.

    I wish they would mention it at least just to know that they are working on it. At the very least I can fallback on the Xmarks version for Chrome that wi

    • by wisty ( 1335733 )

      The biggest feature in Firefox is all those unimportant passwords it remembers.

      OpenID might fix that eventually.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Password sync is coming in version 4, as are extensions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Korin43 ( 881732 )
      Xmarks is actually extremely slow and bloated. You should try Weave..
  • by MasterOfGoingFaster ( 922862 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:07PM (#29990200) Homepage

    I so loved Firefox and use to tell everyone to use it. I loved that it kicked IE's ass. Gotta love any open source project that goes up against Microsoft and wins.

    As much as I hate to admit it, I can no longer stand to use Firefox. Like a slut that wins you over with fantastic sex, Chrome got me where it matters most - raw speed.

    In fact, it seems way too fast. Is Google caching the web pages in a nearby Google server? Even sites that use little JavaScript seem to load really fast. Is something going on here?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BitZtream ( 692029 )

      Yes, less features.

      Firefox is bloated now. Too many features, those features cost RAM and CPU time. Start adding all the 'must have' extensions that geeks use and Firefox REALLY starts to suck ass performance wise.

      Couple in that Mozilla has seriously lost its focus and is too busy inventing more crap rather than making Firefox run properly. Mozilla building something like Breakpad/Socorro makes sense, adding crap like new font formats when they already support ones that are more than capable and MORE ope

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The ridiculousness of this post is, of course, that webkit is getting features at a crazy pace, mostly driven by Apple wanting to get as much native support for stuff that could be done in javascript (so it runs fast on the iphone), and everyone else (google, apple, etc etc) who is behind the "html5!!" drumbeat.

        look at bugzilla for webkit and you'll see an even match for mozilla in terms of adding features. you'll see the same parity (or worse) in RAM and CPU time (what happened to the decrying of process/t

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BitZtream ( 692029 )

          We're not talking about WebKit, we're talking about Chrome. Chrome is faster than Safari, they both use WebKit. Safari has more features and it costs.

          FireFox uses Gecko rather than WebKit. I'm not talking about the differences in the rendering engines alone as that is not all their is to a browser. The stripped down browsers that use Gecko are faster than FireFox as well. Same rendering engine, different wrapper, different speeds.

          Gecko is FAR more feature rich than WebKit, but Gecko also supports XUL,

      • by jim_v2000 ( 818799 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @12:47AM (#29990966)
        I actually get more value out of the addons in Firefox than the speed boost in Chrome. This is mainly because I usually open a bunch of links in new tabs first, and then go through and read them. In this situation, speed isn't that important.
        • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Thursday November 05, 2009 @03:01AM (#29991794) Journal

          I used to be like you. Still am, in a way.

          Here's the thing: Clicking something and having the action take place instantly makes that unnecessary for quite a lot of tasks. And that goes not just for links to new pages (though that is a factor), but for links that drive Javascript.

          I'll give you an example: I always hear people whining about the new Slashdot AJAX crap. I agree, it's bloated and completely unnecessary, and on Firefox and Konqueror, it's slow as hell. In Chrome, it's actually faster than the old system -- click reply, half a second later there's a reply box ready to type, and that's about the longest anything takes here. Clicking on a semi-hidden thread to expand it is even faster.

          Granted, that's not "instantly", the way so much of the Web has become for me. But the difference is pretty staggering, and pretty significant.

          I still use tabs almost the way you do, but that's when I have a slow connection, or a bunch of links that I can't easily visit in serial.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Yes, less features.

        I don't completely buy that argument. On my setup, even gimp-2.6 cold-starts faster than FF 3.5.4, and gimp seems to be pretty featureful. FF and Thunderbird are the slowest apps I use, and presumably they share some code. That tells me there's something really wrong with how Mozilla is writing or deploying their programs.

        Not only is FF slow, but it uses amazing amounts of memory. I can't understand what it's doing with all that memory, because it's obviously not using it to cache stuff to make it

        • GIMP is C/C++ code loaded in a compiled state. The majority of Firefox's functionality is in the form of JavaScript that has to be compiled at some point.

          GIMP is compiled and then run, Firefox is run (and of course the core is compiled) but then it has to unzip a bunch of files and read a bunch of XML, JavaScript and other resource files, turn them into something usable in memory and then do its thing.

          FireFox is FAR more flexible than GIMP, but that comes at a cost of speed.

          You can actually speed FireFox u

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I get annoyed when I try to scroll a window in Chrome and it's so fast I can't control it easily.

      I'll be keeping firefox around for as long as there's no adblock and no flashblock for Chrome. Chrome wins the instant they're compatible with Mozilla plugins.

      I'm glad that there's once again some vibrant competition in the browser sphere.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I'll be keeping firefox around for as long as there's no adblock and no flashblock for Chrome.

        Adsweep [] and BlockFlash2 [] are the Chrome equivalents, respectively.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by L0wt3ch ( 1671302 )
      I disagree, Firefox is perfect,
    • by Judinous ( 1093945 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:44PM (#29990532)
      No matter how good Chrome's JavaScript performance gets, it will never be faster, more reliable, or safer than simply not running any JavaScript at all. Blocking all JavaScript by default, with the ability to individually white-list individual items (close, but not quite, Opera), is a bare minimum requirement for safe web surfing. Blocking advertisements does more to speed up real-world browsing speed (not just benchmarks) than any other single change. Until another browser implements these two features, Firefox is the only rational option for home browsing.

      I'm not a Firefox fanboy, I'm just aware of my needs. In the business arena, I wouldn't recommend anything but Internet Explorer (behind a proxy, of course), because no other browser comes with the enterprise management tools necessary for large deployments. That's another area that I wish more browsers would improve upon.

      If either Opera or Chrome would implement those two feature sets along with their superior rendering performance, they would blow the web browser market wide open. I don't know why it hasn't happened yet, since most technical people are well aware of these issues.
      • the only holdout that IE can still claim is activex. Between SSH and the plain html web portals, most needs are covered.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by k8to ( 9046 )

        How is this a troll?

        Moderators, you need help.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Whiteox ( 919863 )

          Agree totally. What's the point of /. if you can't discuss relevant poi's?
          Maybe /. should instigate a moderator license scheme as lately they've been hopeless.

    • Chrome got me where it matters most - raw speed.

      This is why I never understand how people can say "sure, maybe Java/garbage-collection/50mb-binaries/etc. are a little slower, but computers are SO FAST these days and programmer productivity is SO much more important. Hardware is cheap, programmers are expensive." etc.

      Speed still matters! And it always will.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Actually, you're proving those people's point:

        sure, maybe Java/garbage-collection/50mb-binaries/etc. are a little slower,

        Let's see...

        chromium-browser is a 38 meg binary on my system, and that's just the binary. The libraries it distributes bump it up above 40 megs, and it's probably easily 45 or 50 with all the system libraries it pulls in.

        Here's an example of where you're both very right, and very wrong:

        You're very right in that speed still matters, and always will. By applying a little optimization at just the right point, we gain massive speed boosts for everyone. For example,

        • by CoughDropAddict ( 40792 ) * on Thursday November 05, 2009 @05:30AM (#29992470) Homepage

          Want proof? Ctrl+U.

          Whoa, don't blow my mind quite so hard. I'm not sure I can handle all this wisdom at the same time.

          C'mon, you think I execute shell commands by writing a C program that calls fork(), exec(), and pipe()? You think I write web pages pixel by pixel? Obviously high-level languages and programming paradigms are appropriate in many cases.

          I'm sticking it to the Java weenies who think that C and C++ are obsolete. The people who year after year say that *now* Java is "often as fast as C++ and sometimes faster." The people who still won't acknowledge that there is a real reason C and C++ are still the languages of OS kernels.

          It's not premature optimization to write libavcodec in C. Likewise with OS kernels, virtual machines, rendering engines, DSP plugins, and many other applications where the code will almost certainly be on the critical path of a resource-intensive application. It's not premature optimization to use manual memory management in applications that need to move lots of data around with low latency.

  • Really Fast (Score:5, Funny)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:13PM (#29990256) Homepage Journal
    With it Google news is showing articles of next week.
  • No AdBlock, No mouse gestures... No Chrome :)

  • by zach_the_lizard ( 1317619 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:25PM (#29990366)
    The annoyingly slow preview scripts here on Slashdot, that appear to bring Firefox to its knees, take very little time at all to run. Now we can finally enjoy Slashdot with its annoying web 2.0 features. Thanks, Google!
  • JIT javascript (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:28PM (#29990382) Homepage Journal
    I learned something interesting about Google's javascript parser while evaluating various parsers as potential candidates for a scripting engine in an application. The reason it's so fast? It's got a JIT compiler [], just like modern Java runtimes. This means that once things get going, JavaScript is going to approach native code speed. Unfortunately it also limits the platforms on which the engine can run. Google is targeting x86 (of course) and ARM (naturally, since they've got their eyes on the mobile market). Interesting times...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 05, 2009 @12:04AM (#29990678)
      Everybody already knew that. Fuck off back to digg, loser.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Uh, they all have JIT compilers (TraceMonkey in Firefox).

      Almost every scripting language does these days. If you're looking at embedding scripting languages then look no further than Lua. It's super small and easy to embed, fast, easy API for extending, and similar semantics to Javascript (except way better). Also, LuaJIT 2 beta just came out a few days ago and it's kicking all kinds of ass as far as performance in scripting languages go (rewriting the book in fact)..

    • Re:JIT javascript (Score:5, Informative)

      by BZ ( 40346 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @12:52AM (#29991000)

      Spidermonkey (the ECMAScript implementation in Gecko, hence in Firefox) and Nitro (aka SFX Extreme, the ECMAScript implementation in Safari) both use JITs as well.

      > just like modern Java runtimes

      Not quite; the tradeoffs are somewhat different.

      > JavaScript is going to approach native code speed

      Somewhat. Depends on your jit, on your code, etc.

  • by pyrico ( 1034804 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @12:19AM (#29990778)
    I really wish they would put at least one developer on getting some of their basic features requests done.

    For example, I wanted to use Chrome as my HTPC browser as it does a good job scaling it's plugins to the system 2x DPI (unlike Firefox where flash applets are tiny squares in big dark frames they are supposed to fill).

    But Chrome does not save the full page zoom setting! Every time you open a tab or browser instance you have to Ctr + which becomes unusable. It has not browser-wide options related to full page zoom and their font options are confusing and seem to make no effect.

    Worse is the how easy it is to fine lots [] and lots [] and lots [] and lots [] of people complaining about this on their own help forums without a single response from the developers.

    I know they are avoiding feature creep and keeping things slim, but even by a 80/20 rule, this kind of thing should be picked up (and could even replace their useless font settings dialog).

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury