Google Chrome gets hefty speed boost

Google's Chrome web browser version 5 is now in beta and the company reckons it's the fastest ever.

Software engineer Mads Ager, who heads up the V8 Project which looks after the browser's Javascript engine, reckons the latest round of tuning, testing and polishing has given Chrome "a hefty boost in speed".

He says that the beta is up to 35 per cent snappier than that last version, and more than 300 per cent faster than the very first offering.

As well as the go-faster stripes, the young pretender to Internet Explorer's monopolistic vantage point also has a number of new bells and whistles, including the ability to synchronise browser preferences across multiple computers and install extensions whilst in porn (incognito) mode.

There are also a brace of new HTML5 features including Geolocation APIs, web sockets and the ability to drag and drop some files.

Perhaps the most surprising addition, however, is the integration of Adobe's Flash multimedia software, which until now has had to be downloaded and installed as a separate plug-in.

Flash integration also means that Flash Player updates will come as part of the Chrome update through the browser's automated mechanism.

It looks like the folks at Google have been working hard to get Chrome into a position where it can drive innovation in the crowded browser market, but they're obviously not to busy to bugger about with potato canons, super slo-mo cameras and other explosive toys in order to prove just how fast the latest update is (see video).