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September 15, 2009

Google Chrome 3.0

You shouldn't read too much into Google Chrome's version numbers. Just because you can now install Google Chrome 3.0, it doesn't mean that Google wants to appear more mature than it already is. For Chrome, version numbers are just a way to highlight major milestones.

Three months after the first developer preview, Google Chrome 3.0 is out of beta and ready to replace the current stable version. Since Google updates the browser automatically, you might not even notice that you use a version that brings new features.

Even if it's one of the fastest browsers available today, Google Chrome continues to improve its performance. "We've improved by more than 150% in Javascript performance since our very first beta, and by more than 25% since the most recent stable release," mentions Google.

The new release supports themes so you can customize the browser with one of the 28 new themes. Not all of them are good-looking, but they're easy to install and you don't have to restart your browser after changing the theme.


Google Chrome 3.0 has an updated new tab page that lets you customize the pages reordering them using drag and drop, by pinning the pages you use frequently and removing the pages you no longer visit. Google simplified the page by removing the list of search boxes and the recent bookmarks.

(Tip: you can still use the previous new tab page design, by appending this flag to a Chrome shortcut: --old-new-tab-page.)


A feature you won't probably use too often, at least for now, is the support for the HTML5 video and audio tags. Like Firefox 3.5, Chrome includes video codecs that allow you to embed videos without using slow and unreliable plug-ins like Adobe Flash. You can test this feature in TinyVid.com, an experimental Ogg video uploading site, or in YouTube's HTML5 demo page, which uses an H.264 video.

One year after the first release, the numbers are impressive: "51 developer, 21 beta and 15 stable updates and 3,505 bugfixes". Google Chrome's market share is 2.84%, according to Net Applications, but the browser's impact was even more significant: Chrome set a high standard for browsers by focusing on speed, a simplified user interface and by handling web pages as if they were applications. Safari 4, as well as the the next versions of Firefox, are influenced by Google Chrome's simplicity.

In other Chrome news, the documentation for creating extensions is now available and the support for extensions is enabled by default in the dev channel. If you use the stable version of Chrome, you need to wait a little bit.

57 comments:

  1. Now is the perfect time to release the new Google Docs interface!!! (perhaps GDrive???)

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  2. an html5 powered Google Docs would be nice...

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  3. Aside from the obvious speed advantage I've found the search bar to be absolutely wonderful. I have added delicious, experts-exchange, msdn, mdc, and numerous other site specific search engines to my search bar... very quick, certainly the combination of delicious and the search bar has replaced my old folder-managed bookmarking system. Though I can't get away from FF until Chrome is ready for Linux... and Chrome has Firebug equivalent (firebug lite doesn't count)...

    One complaint, form data is deleted upon a unsuccessful form submittal. Would be nice to be able to hit <- Back and not retype my entire response when I've forgotten to authorize. I believe IE and FF both do this..

    Also noticed 3rd-part plug-ins seem to crash in all browser instances if it does so in one, however that might be more about the plug-in itself. One day I'll make it to actually submitting a bug/feature request.

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  4. When are they going to integrate the Google Toolbar?

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  5. @Purity Products:

    There's a Google survey that asks "What Toolbar capabilities would you most like to see in Google Chrome?". The options are: Search box, AutoFill, Translate, PageRank Display, Google Bookmarks, Send to.

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  6. When will we finally get Chrome on OSX?

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  7. Chromium version is already at 4.0 ! I use it since the beginning and never got problems.Instead of extensions I use bookmarklets which work great.I never use Firefox again.It's the best browser I ever used. Period.

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  8. if adblock works then use...

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  9. Great...when does the Linux version come out?

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  10. Speed is the most important issue, and Google gets that. I was an IE6 user and switched to Firefox less than a year ago. Even dropped IE6 support from my own site in April 2009.
    I've tested Chrome and love it and may even switch to it from Firefox if Mozilla doesn't address Firefox's speed issue. Expect Chrome's marketshare to grow the longer Firefox stays being a memory hog.

    Normally, I would be against software automatically updating, but as a Web developer this means I only have to code for one version of Chrome - the latest.
    Chrome until May 2009 had a graphics bug which caused me to use an extra stylesheet just for Chrome users to address this issue. In the Summer I was able to remove it because Google was smart enough to auto-update everyone. Otherwise, I'd be sniffing out version numbers leading to messier development to support the majority that never upgrade.

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  11. It's amusing that at the bottom of the article there's a big Firefox ad:
    http://img2.imageshack.us/img2/4505/ninjafirefox.png

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  12. Hello,

    I don't know what is your email, so :
    Why don't you talk about the new Google suggestion system http://moderator.appspot.com/#16/e=43649 ?
    It's a great idea. Picasa (app) still do not import videos from PIcasa Web ! What a shame :o !

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  13. @Aaron:

    You can already install Chrome in OS X and Linux, but there are still some features that aren't implemented and some bugs that need to be fixed.

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  14. >>if adblock works then use...
    You don't need adblock - use privoxy. It works for ALL browsers.

    I'd like a bookmark sync service on the stable build. Everything else is great.

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  15. Looking forward to in using the coming extensions!

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  16. Just looked at my Chrome "about" and it said version 4?

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  17. What about a portable version?
    I love portable versions, because I don't have to install them and I can obviously put them on a thumb drive.

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  18. You don't need a portable version. Use the tips from this post to make your own portable Chrome.

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  19. << Just looked at my Chrome "about" and it said version 4? >>

    Then you're using Chrome's dev channel (some might call it Chrome 4.0 alpha).

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  20. I used Google Chrome since it came out. Just swapped back to Firefox and I am a much happier surfer. Zetero, Firegestures, BlogScribe, YoutubeIt, and all the other add-ons just beat Chrome hands down. The slight speed difference is nothing against the vastly superior functionality of Firefox.

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  21. Give me a plugin like Firefox's adblock plus and I'll convert completely to Chrome. Until then, pages feel like they load faster in Firefox due to all of the ads not loading.

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  22. << Give me a plugin like Firefox's adblock plus and I'll convert completely to Chrome. >>

    It's not exactly like AdBlock Plus, but AdSweep is a decent ad blocker for Chrome. You can also edit your HOSTS file or install ad blockers that filter traffic at the system level.


    << Still no RSS support. Sad. >>

    There's an extension that detects feeds and lets you preview them in Google Reader.

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  23. All this is good but I will not use Chrome until there's a master password feature.

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  24. I'd use it more if there was an equivalent to Flashblock on Firefox.

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  25. Still waiting on an adblock equivilant.

    I have 20 extensions installed on firefox, it runs pretty fast, but none of them are really necessary except adblock.

    Google, give us extensions, or give us an adblock plus equivalent/improvement, and you'll double your market share.

    And no, a 3rd party app like privoxy isn't going to do it. And there is no way editing your host file is going to do it.

    I might be able to do that, but I install firefox on every PC I set up or repair, and that's probably hundreds by now. I do this and install ONLY adblock plus.

    PLEASE give me a reason to install chrome instead.

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  26. Wow, looks like Chrome just keeps on getting better.

    Jess
    www.web-privacy.de.tc

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  27. I missed a few of the extensions but I found a few tips that can do quite a few tasks that require extensions.

    I can use bugmenot, twitter and host of other tools right from the omnibox.

    http://www.chromeplugins.org/google/chrome-tips-tricks/turbocharge-your-google-chrome-addressbar-fefoo-8048.html#post13198

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  28. Still waiting for the OSX version

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  29. Awesome! Things look great - I especially love the new landing page, as it's much cleaner and more intuitive than before. I still wish I could, rather than display Most Visited, display my bookmarks as thumbnails though.

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  30. Wow! Already 3.0. Just think how many years it took Firefox to reach 3.0 status.

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  31. Still no settings for pop-up blocker?

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  32. @ Stereo DDD:

    No, but you can whitelist sites. Open a page that uses pop-ups and you'll see a menu at the bottom of the window that lets you open pop-ups or choose "always show pop-ups from ...".

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  33. A linux version of chrome - when ?

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  34. Excellent! +100 on the OSX version.

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  35. Wow, i got a Scientology ad following you nice post in my google rss reader ? It was a link to there website. Are you affiliated ? Sylvain.

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  36. Have they fixed the fact that the spell checker is broken on 64 bit vista that's the only thing that's stopping me using it. Damn annoying.

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  37. Any chance it'll stop using insane amounts of memory, and not make me click four times to get back to the last page?

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  38. google is spying on you

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  39. Google is spying on us, but with good eyes! I´ve tried 4.0 and I´m waiting already for 5.0!

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  40. "...without using slow and unreliable plug-ins like Adobe Flash..."

    Bad form. A website with slow shared hosting is not an excuse to take a swing at Adobe's media format. Your percious Chrome will also be slow playing OGG files on a slow web server.

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  41. As soon as chrome incorporates ad-block, I'll be very interested. Until then, forget it.

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  42. adblock? Google's main income is advertising!

    Check out Proxymodo, Proxomitron & Privoxy. These are separates apps that can intercept the HTTP traffic between a webserver and browser and strip out the adds.
    They may not be as easy to use as adblock, but the more people that use these free apps, the more likely the developers are going to work on them and provide a nice GUI.
    I also have two Chrome shortcuts on my desktop, the second is configured to use privoxy so I have the option to use it or not.
    "...\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --proxy-server=127.0.0.1:8118
    It gets a bit more complex if you're on a windows corporate LAN but it's still possible. I use ntlm proxy (NT LAN manager support to provide login details) in a chain with Privoxy. Ideally, ntlm (python) would be incorporated into one of the above apps.
    IMHO, a separate proxy app is the way to go. Browsers do content rendering and proxies do proxying. I can then change browser or proxy anytime I want without being stuck with an all in one solution.

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  43. Oh, man... I was used to the Recent Bookmarks. Actually I had just added a few pages to my bookmarks so that I could get back to them as soon as I restarted to test Chrome 3.

    Why don't you add an option to add it back on the Options window?
    Or rather to fully customize the New Tab page there?

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  44. Oops, I mean, "why don't THEY add..."

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  45. Is there anywhere a download link for the full version? I have problems with my proxy, the updater cant connent to the server.

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  46. Would it be too much to ask to include a "send link" drop down or right click? Really?

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  47. Just downloaded the new version. It's just great. Undoubtedly, the fastest browser on earth!!

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  48. One thing though.. wouldn't it be better to have a dropdown on address bar to quickly select recently visited URLS? This was one small feature missing since the first release.

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  49. Thanks for the post.Really so impressive

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  50. "Google Chrome's market share is 2.84%"
    Its because most of the corporate networks block chrome download.
    If a standalone zip file is provided, market increases

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  51. Chrome 3.0 seems to have caused my google notebook bookmarklet to stop working. Very inconvenient!

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  52. When Chrome beats the speed of Opera (which I doubt) I might become interested, but not now

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  53. Installs very easy, loads up pages much faster than IE and does not hog the memory! Very lite for any Laptop/Notebook and has a clean interface. I personally use FireFox as my main browser and IE is a big no no! But as a secondary browser Google

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  54. Chrome is always my favorite. it is so fast and very reliable. i just missing some plug-ins.

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  55. I keep want to start this comment with ‘good’ or ‘nice’ or ‘great’ but none of these seems strong enough, or appropriate enough for what you just posted.Just fantastic and mindblowing blog keep it up..!!!

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