FRAMINGHAM 10 MARCH 2011 - Google (GOOG) has pre-empted the forthcoming Firefox 4 and IE 9 with a new version of Chrome offering users a battery of tweaks including faster apps, interface improvements and better security.
Building on that, the interface has been adjusted to launch the settings menu as a separate tab, complete with a search field to find the desired setting without having to rummage around in menus.
The new Chrome also extends the synchronisation that has become its forte, this time allowing users to save passwords on one PC and have that automatically reflected in Chrome running on other PCs. These can be encrypted using a dedicated passphrase.
Best of all form a security standpoint, Chrome 10 now extends the sandboxing technology for Vista and Windows 7 to a major attack target on any browser, the integrated Flash player.
Many of the features in 10 have been up and running in early versions for some time but this is the first time all users are being offered them as integrated features. They also track similar features that will appear in Firefox 4 later this month, and IE 9, both of which appear to have been influenced by Chrome web app integration, speed fascination and tabbing.
Depending on which estimate is used, Chrome has around 8-10 percent of the browser market to Firefox's 18 percent with Microsoft (MSFT) IE 8 on 35 percent. The rest of the market is shared out between smaller browsers and legacy browsers, including Microsoft's own IE6 which the company has recently been encouraging users to abandon for good. The opportunity in this 'have not bothered to upgrade the browser' segment could be crucial.
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