Google speeds up Chrome

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Google has unveiled a new beta for its Chrome browser, claiming it's 30 per cent faster than the current release.

Google has tweaked JavaScript execution to boost the speed, but there are some other improvements, too, according to software engineer Glen Murphy.

"For example, when you open a new web page while other web pages are still loading, Google Chrome is now smarter about prioritising the requests for the new page - for instance, fetching text, images, and video for your new page - ahead of the requests from the older pages," he wrote in the Google blog.

Aside from the speed boost, Google has also fiddled with the new tabs page and the Omnibox, as well as added themes and some HTML5 functionality.

When a new tab is opened in Chrome, it displays the most visited pages in a series of thumbnails. "Embarrassed that checking out lolcats is showing up as your most popular browser pastime?" asked Murphy. "Now you can bump up something dignified and refined into that top Most Visited slot with a simple click and drag of your mouse."

The beta also lets you pick thumbnails to stay on the page and hide bits of the page which you don't use.

The Omnibox is the clever combined search and address bar at the top of the screen, which now has a cleaner drop-down menu and icons so users can see if the pages being suggested are previous searches, websites or bookmarks.

Google runs three "channels" of Chrome: the main release, the beta, and the developer version. The new beta can be downloaded here.