Google has moved its latest Chrome Web browser, Version 31, to its Stable release track, making it the default version for users who want the latest release edition of its popular browser.
The new Chrome Stable browser is officially known as Version 31.0.1650.48 and is available for free download for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome Frame, according to a Nov. 12 post by Anthony Laforge of the Google Chrome team, on the Google Chrome Releases Blog.
Some 25 security fixes are included in the latest version, wrote Laforge, addressing a wide variety of issues in the browser's code. Also included is a Flash Player update to Version 11.9.900.152, according to Laforge.
Now that the latest Stable version of Chrome is out for users, Google continues to work on the latest beta release, Version 32, which will be the next version to hit Stable status in the future. One new feature being introduced into Version 32 beta is the ability for users to quickly get a warning on their browser tabs when there is a page that is producing annoying or disruptive sounds through a video clip or some other content, according to a Nov. 11 post by Yuri Wiitala, a Google software engineer, on the Google Chrome Blog.
"Have you ever shuffled through your tabs to figure out where that sound or music is coming from?" wrote Wiitala. "We hear you! With today's latest Chrome Beta release, you can now visually scan your tabs for a speaker icon to quickly find the offender. Chrome will also indicate which tabs are currently using your Webcam or are being cast to your TV."
The alert will display a small icon on the affected browser tab to let users know which tab is playing the unwanted sound at that moment, wrote Wiitala. The sound alert is also activated for Webcam sounds and Webcasting volumes.
Also new in the beta 32 release is a new feature for Windows 8 users to better manage multiple Chrome windows at once while accessing Chrome apps using an integrated app launcher, wrote Wiitala. Additionally, the latest beta 32 version includes a Safe Browsing alert that pops up to warn users before they are about to visit malicious Websites or download malicious files. The latest beta version now includes automatic blocking of malware files, according to Wiitala.
The beta Version 32, officially known as Version 32.0.1700.6 for Windows, Mac and Linux, also includes several new apps and extension APIs, as well as a host of fixes and changes aimed at increasing stability and performance, according to a Nov. 11 post by Karen Grünberg of the Google Chrome team, on the Chrome Releases Blog.
As part of the introduction of Stable Version 31 and the beta Version 32 of Chrome, Google has introduced the latest Developer channel edition of Chrome, which is Version 33. By working on multiple browser versions at once, the next versions are put in the pipeline for future stable release.
The Stable Version 31 of Chrome was preceded by Chrome 30, which was released by Google in early October, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Chrome 30 featured some 50 security patches and fixes, as well as easier search capabilities for finding images.
In September, Google announced that its Chrome Web browser will no longer work with a series of older, formerly popular Netscape-era Web browser plug-ins starting in January 2014, as the company works to shed the plug-ins to make its modern Chrome browsers even more reliable. The benefit of such a move will be that users will experience fewer glitches and crashes.
The Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI) had ushered in an early era of Web innovation by offering the first standard mechanism to extend the browser, according to Google. Two reasons that the move is being made now is that NPAPI isn't used or supported on mobile devices, which includes a significantly growing segment of Web users, and because the Mozilla Foundation is also planning to block NPAPI plug-ins in December 2013.
Launched in 2008, Chrome presently holds 40.4 percent of the global Web browser market, compared with 28.9 percent for its closest competitor, Microsoft's Internet Explorer, according to October 2013 data from StatCounter. Chrome celebrated its fifth birthday in early September. In June 2012, Chrome surpassed Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the world's most used browser for the first time.