Google Releases Faster Chrome Web Browser

Google released a new version of its Chrome Web browser on Tuesday, as the search giant continues its efforts to get a foothold in a market dominated by Microsoft.

The new Chrome represents the first major update of the software aimed at the general public since Google entered the browser business six months ago.

It offers Web surfers faster performance and a handful of new features, such as auto-filling of personal information on online forms and a new way for users to drag around tabs of different Web pages within the browser window.

Google was a distant No.4 in the browser market, with 1.2 percent share of the worldwide market in February, according to market research firm Net Applications.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer dominates the market, with a 67.4 percent market share in February, while the Mozilla foundation’s Firefox browser had a roughly 22 percent share. Apple’s Safari browser had an 8 percent share.

Last month, Google officially joined the European Union’s antitrust case against Microsoft, describing the browser market as “largely uncompetitive.” The EU has charged Microsoft with abusing its dominant market position by bundling its Internet Explorer Web browser with its Windows personal computer operating system.

According to a post on Google’s blog on Tuesday, the new Chrome beta loads certain types of Web pages 25 percent to 35 percent faster than the current version of the browser.

The new features were previously available to programmers using the “developer” version of Chrome, but Google has now packaged all the updates together into a more reliable beta test version that is available for download.

Google also has a more polished, so-called stable version of Chrome, based on the older beta version.

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