It might seem like the tech news this week has been all about the new iPad, but speedier browser versions grabbed some big headlines as well.
Google announced Chrome 10's stable release on its blog but refrained from mentioning its product number. That's in line with the company's effort to focus on features rather than version numbers, which it calls mere milestones. Google tries to get new versions into users' hands as rapidly as possible and currently passes a new milestone about once every six weeks.
Chrome 10 comes with the "Crankshaft" version of the V8 browser engine that Google pegs as 66 percent faster than the unnamed version in Chrome 9 as measured with Google's V8 Benchmark suite. That's a major speed boost, but be aware there are many other attributes of browser performance, and one of the biggest--hardware acceleration--will hit prime time with the imminent release of Mozilla's Firefox 4 and Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9.
Speaking of IE9, Microsoft will be formally launching the next version of its browser at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival on Monday--an interesting place to launch, given that the Austin, Texas, geek fest is packed full of the hordes who have long since ditched Internet Explorer for the decidedly hipper pastures of Firefox, Safari, or Chrome.
Among the new features in IE9 is a refreshed look with the browser taking up less space than previous versions of IE, as well as a way to pin sites to the Windows task bar. Sites can then program their pages to act more like desktop applications with things like notifications, and the Windows 7 Jump List feature, which can hop users to specific parts of a Web page.
Meanwhile, Mozilla updated the Firefox 4 beta to release candidate status, meaning that the features are locked, and barring the discovery of any major bugs, this version is likely to become the browser's official release. Available to download for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Firefox 4 release candidate 1 contains no major bug fixes, and instead offers a series of stability, compatibility, and performance tweaks.
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