First look at Google Chrome 10

Google boosts security and speed in latest version of Chrome

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Google has released the stable version of Chrome 10 and users are now being automatically updated. As always, Chrome's new features focus on security, speed and simplicity, with greater JavaScript performance, sandboxing technology for Adobe Flash, password encryption and an easier-to-use settings interface. Here's a look at the new features.

JavaScript

JavaScript

Google unveiled a new version of V8 (Chrome’s JavaScript engine) called Crankshaft, saying it will provide the greatest performance boost since Google launched Chrome in 2008. Startup time of Gmail and other Web apps should benefit, and pages that contain significant amounts of JavaScript code should load 12% faster. Using a JavaScript benchmark on my Windows 7 computer, Chrome 10 scored 728 across 10 tests, while Internet Explorer 9 scored an average of 465.

Simpler settings menu

The settings menu is now a tab in the browser instead of a separate dialog box, similarly to how Google handles the settings in Chrome OS. If you don't know where the setting you need is located, just use the search box.

Settings search

For example, type "import" in the search bar to find the setting "import data from another browser." Each setting corresponds to a link in the URL bar, so if you need to help friends or family with tech support, you can just send them the link to the setting they need.

Password sync

Google's Chrome sync service, which lets you back up your browser settings and use them across computers, now enables password sync by default. Sync already included bookmarks, extensions, apps, autofill, preferences and themes.

Password encryption

The new Chrome also has an encryption service that lets you use a single passphrase to secure your saved passwords. While this should improve online safety, a PC World article notes that Google has not said which encryption standard it uses with the sync feature.

Sandbox for Adobe Flash

Google has also extended its sandboxing feature to Adobe Flash. Sandboxing improves security by running each browser tab in a protected bubble, as a separate process that can't affect other browser tabs or the machine at large. But sandboxing hasn't always been applied to plug-ins such as Adobe Flash. Plug-ins are prime targets for hackers because they are widely used and often not updated by users. Chrome now extends its sandboxing technology and automatic updates to Flash, improving security. Chrome 10 also extends sandboxing to the built-in PDF viewer, improves malware reporting and automatically disables out-of-date plug-ins.

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