File Under: Browsers

Chrome 10 Brings More Speed, Sandboxed Flash

Google has released version 10 of its Chrome web browser. Chrome 10 is a major overhaul for the Chrome line, with better performance, new malware protection, a sandboxed Flash Player and GPU accelerated HTML5 video.

If you’re already using Chrome the update should be applied automatically. If you’d like to try out Google Chrome, head over to the Chrome download page.

The most noticeable visual change in this update is the new preferences page, which is now a tab in your browser, complete with URLs to all the various settings. There’s also a new search box on the preferences page, which allows you to quickly find the setting you want without wading through every tab and menu item.

If you’re a fan of Chrome’s sync features, this release adds support for encrypting your passwords with your own secret sync passphrase. The new encryption setup works much like Firefox’s sync encryption — just create a passphrase and enter it on every machine that syncs to that account. Chrome sync has always worked well, but if you’ve been holding off because it wasn’t encrypted, well, now you can dive in.

Under the hood Chrome 10 packs a brand new, faster version of Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine. Google has previously claimed a 66 percent improvement over Chrome 9 on the V8 benchmark suite, but of course that benchmark suite was written specifically for Chrome. At this point JavaScript benchmarks have come to seem largely irrelevant — it’s hard to tell how much improvement comes from optimising for the benchmark, which doesn’t necessarily translate to real-world performance gains. Let’s simply say that Chrome 10 is fast; faster than Chrome 9 and, in my experience, on par or faster than Firefox 4 and Opera 11.

Google has also enabled support for GPU-accelerated video in Chrome 10. Provided you have a capable graphics card, HTML5 video should be considerably easier on your CPU.

Other behind the scenes changes include sandboxing the Flash Player to avoid crashes and possible Flash-based security flaws, as well as a new update check that will disable any outdated plugins when it finds them. And yes, the linguistic whimsy of the new “obliterate web history” message did indeed make it all the way to the Chrome 10 final release.

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