Google's Chrome beta version 16 has one major new feature: the ability to let multiple users create an instantiation of the browser on a single Windows PC or Mac computer. It's a big portability play.
No sooner did Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Chrome wrap a great
month of market share gain than the company rolled out its next version of the
increasingly popular Web browser.
Chrome, which Google CEO Larry Page said last month has more than
200 million users, has moved onto version 16 with syncing software
that allow more than one user to sign into Chrome and port all of their
bookmarks, extensions and applications to any computer.
This will save users of a shared computer from having to
download and install software and type in passwords repeatedly. It will also
bring over the suggested search capabilities housed in the omnibox Chrome
Google has incrementally
bolstered its synchronization capabilities since launching Chrome in 2008,
adding sync for bookmarks in December 2009 and sync for autofills and extensions in July 2010
However, adding sync on a single computer for multiple
users is a new, welcome addition at a time when parents are buying new machines
for the family, or even visiting relatives or friends.
"You may not want your bookmarks and settings mixing
with your brother's or your roommate's bookmarks and settings, and you wouldn't
want their Chrome stuff syncing to your other devices," explained Google
Chrome engineer Miranda Callahan
Users can try this multi-user sync by going to options on
their Windows PC (or preferences on the Mac), clicking "personal
stuff," and then clicking "add new users. This will trigger a new
instance of Chrome that can be tailored with apps, bookmarks, settings and
other Chrome tools.
Chrome drops a badge in the upper corner to let users
know whose version of Chrome is open on the screen.
A badge in the upper corner lets you know at a glance
that this new Chrome browser belongs to you, and users can click on the badge to
see a menu of all the users on that computer, and switch between
Multi-user sync greatly improves the portability of
Chrome and the data users associate with it, which over time can help more users
hungry for such portability adopt Chrome with ease and comfort.
Chrome 16 beta rolled out one day after Net Applications
said the browser grew
market share from 16.2 percent in September to 17.6 percent in October, the
browser's greatest single month of growth to date.