Google gave its browser a new logo yesterday, a design that drops the bubbly 3D look for a flatter, more geometric look.
The new design is no surprise: an all-blue version of the new logo showed up for Chromium, the open-source foundation of Chrome, a week ago.
It's just a cosmetic change, of course, but people often care about such skin-deep matters. That's why the ability to reskin Chrome and Firefox were deemed important features even if they don't do much for loading Web pages faster or enabling new Web applications.
In a statement, here's how Google describes its motives: "Chrome has improved significantly since it was first released in 2008. We're working on refreshing the icon to better represent the speed and simplicity of the modern browser and operating system."
Personally, I think the red section appears a bit too thick, no doubt because of some optical illusion rather than some miscalculated radius. For me, especially when viewing the logo in smaller sizes such as Windows 7's task bar and Mac OS X's dock, it looks top-heavy.
The new logo first surfaced with Chrome 11.0.696.12, a developer-channel release launched yesterday to fix a number of bugs, including one that really annoyed me, a failure to show Web addresses in a pop-up status bar when I hovered over links.
Google is working on more substantive changes, too. Peter Beverloo noticed a few, including the ability to select multiple tabs, which is handy for managing the tab chaos some of us suffer, and abbreviated tab titles to better distinguish similar pages. Also, a feature that can preload pages so they appear faster when a person clicks their link will show up with more testers: Google is expanding it to 5 percent of browser users.
Updated 2:09 a.m. PT and 11:39 a.m. PT with some new Chrome features in the works and Google comment.