Chrome browser exits beta for Mac, Linux for the first time

Other improvements in the release include the adoption of HTML5 capabilities

Google has removed the beta label from the latest version of its Chrome browser, marking the first time a "stable release" is available for the Linux and Mac OS platforms, not just Windows.

Google promises that the Mac OS version will provide "a seamless native Mac application experience," while describing the Linux version as a "solid, high-performance, fully-featured, all-purpose browser."

The announcement, made Tuesday, comes three weeks after the release of the latest beta update, which featured a performance improvement Google characterized as significant, making that version -- 5.0.375.29 -- the fastest yet.

Benchmarked against the Google V8 and the Apple WebKit SunSpider Javascript engine tests, the latest Chrome version performed 30 percent and 35 percent better, respectively, compared to the previous one, according to Google.

In addition to the performance boost, Google also added the ability for users to replicate browser preferences across different machines via their Google accounts. This saves users from manually applying preferences to Chrome in each PC.

Other improvements in this Chrome release include the adoption of HTML5 capabilities, like geolocation APIs (application programming interfaces), application caching and drag-and-drop capabilities.

One feature that didn't graduate from the beta to the stable version on Tuesday was the integration of Adobe Systems' Flash player plug-in into the browser, something Google plans to include once the final 10.1 version of the Flash player is released.

Launched in September 2008, Chrome ranked third last month in usage market share with a 6.7 percent slice of the pie, according to Net Applications. That put it ahead of Apple's Safari, which had a 4.7 percent share, and behind market leader Internet Explorer (59.9 percent) and Firefox (24.6 percent).

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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