Google on Aug. 11 launched its Chrome 6 Web browser to beta, adding 15 percent more speed from Chrome 5 and autofill to populate Web forms on the fly as users type in their personal information.
Autofill is a major must for Web browsers at a time when so many Web users are filling out forms to visit Websites and subscribe to Web services. The feature has long been a staple of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox .
Some consumers literally use dozens of Web services, filling in details such as name, address, phone number and credit card number.
Autofill saves this information for users so as they begin typing it into new forms, the information will appear as suggestions people can click to submit. This lets users complete forms with a few clicks instead of a lot of extra typing.
Autofill stores several different addresses for users to choose from, and text fields are highlighted in yellow so users know they were autofilled. Users who don't want autofill can uncheck the box in the autofill options section of Chrome's Personal Stuff menu.
Chrome 6 also extends the synchronization of bookmarks and preferences from Chrome 5 by letting users sync their Chrome extensions and data stored in the autofill feature (but not credit card numbers) through their Google Account.
The idea is to be able to leverage Google's cloud of computers to make data users create in the Chrome browser, including bookmarks, preferences, themes, extensions and Autofill, accessible through a Google account from any computer.
To start syncing, users may navigate their mouse to the Sync section of the Personal Stuff tab in Chrome options on the top right of a browser window.
The Chrome 6 beta also looks a bit different from previous versions of Chrome. As previously reported on Google Watch, the upper toolbar and URL bar are more streamlined.
Chrome 6 sheds the Go button and removes the "reload" button from its URL bar, combining it with the top buttons. Chrome's new tool icon on the rightmost part of the URL field replaces the wrench and page menus with a single drop-down menu.
Google Chrome will automatically update itself with version 6 for those subscribed to the beta channel. Next stop: the stable channel, for all users to try.
In an effort to expand beyond its 7 percent share of the worldwide browser market, Google is ramping up its build cycle for Chrome, trying to deliver stable Chrome releases to users every six weeks, or twice as fast as the original pace.
Google also released Google Chrome Canary Build for early adopting developers working on Chrome for Windows only.