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Google stages coup against Windows 8 with Chrome OS-like update for 'Metro'

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 16, 2014
Google yesterday revamped the Windows 8 "Metro" app version of its new Chrome 32 browser to resemble Chrome OS, the operating system that powers Chromebooks.

Google also enhanced Chrome's malware detector in version 32 after running trials since October in "Canary," the pre-public build meant for the hardiest users. The new anti-malware blocker is more aggressive than earlier iterations, detecting more malware forms and taking away users' ability to skip the warning and continue to download the potentially-vicious file.

Although the Safe Browsing API is available to other browser makers — Mozilla relies on it for Firefox — Google also uses additional technology, dubbed Content Agnostic Malware Protection (CAMP), to decide if a file is potentially dangerous or definitely legitimate.

Also in October, Google had previewed something it called "supervised users," a monitoring tool designed for parents who want to keep tabs on where their children browse.

Originally designed for Chrome OS and family sharing of a single notebook, Google brought it to Chrome 32 yesterday. Parents can establish subsidiary accounts in Chrome, assign those to other family members, then use a special dashboard to see where they went on the Web, block specific sites and review requests for access to restricted URLs.

Along with the new features and the usual collection of stability and performance fixes, Chrome 32 patched 11 security vulnerabilities, including 4 rated "high" that triggered bounties from its bug reporting program.

Of the $8,000 total paid out to researchers, $5,000 went to Joao Lucas Melo Brasio for reporting a flaw that let an attacker trigger an unauthorized sync with the victim's Google account, which would expose not only bookmarks and browsing history, but also site passwords.

Google paid out over $350,000 in bounties and contest prizes in 2013, slightly less than the record set in 2012.

Chrome 32 also included the latest version of Adobe's Flash Player, which was patched yesterday to quash a pair of critical vulnerabilities.

Those who haven't tried Google's browser on the desktop can download Chrome 32 for Windows, OS X and Linux from Google's website. Current users can let the automatic updater grab the new version, which will be installed after a restart of the browser.

 

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