Google Chrome which ‘just’ hit version 1.x last month has now jumped ahead and is now at version 188.8.131.52. Google is also now splitting up its releases into three public versions (from two) so there will now be a stable, dev and a beta version (confused yet?)
The new 184.108.40.206 release is a dev-channel release but Google is warning that it isn’t particularly stable.
“If you’re ready to try some new stuff, we’ve just released a Dev
channel update that has a new version of WebKit, a new network stack,
and some features like form autocomplete.” Mark Larson, Google Chrome Program Manager wrote in a blog post.”It’s less polished than what Dev channel users have been getting during
Google Chrome’s Beta, so we’ve moved all of our existing Dev channel
users to the Beta channel.”
Three versions? Really? Firefox users have stable which is now the Firefox 3.0.5 release, a Beta with the 3.1 Beta 2 and then I suppose the Mozilla version of dev are the nightlies, so Google’s approach isn’t all that strange.
As for what’s new in the bleeding edge 220.127.116.11 release, the big jump and the reason for the numbering change is a new version of WebKit – specifically WebKit version 528.8 revision 39410. The new version of WebKit has support for full page zoom, autoscroll, CSS gradients and CSS canvas drawing.
Even more impressive perhaps is that Google Chrome 2.x has support for Google’s own version of HTTP. Google had been using the WinHTTP library but have now come up with their own implementation that will eventually be able to work on Chrome versions for Mac and Linux as well. No official word yet however on when a Google Chrome for Mac or Linux is actually coming.
Google has also added support for a very high degree of customization – not quite add-ons yet – but something a little more interesting in some ways. Chrome 18.104.22.168 has user script support so a users could run their own code inside of the browser (similar to the super-popular Firefox Greasemonkey add-on).
There is also support for multiple browser profiles, so you could have different bookmarks etc loaded for a particular session.
On the security side there is a HTTPS-only browsing mode. This is something that I personally think is awesome and should be a ‘must-have’ for all browser vendors moving forward. According to Google’s release notes:
“Add –force-https to your Google Chrome
shortcut, and it will only load HTTPS sites. Sites with SSL certificate
errors will not load.”
All told it is A LOT of stuff.
So yes, it’s a huge jump to go from a 1.x release to 2.x in a short period of time, but considering all the innovation in this new version it is definitely a valid jump.
If Google keeps up this pace who out there thinks we’ll see Chrome version 8 before we actually see IE 8 come out of Beta?