Google Patches 20 Chrome 19 Security Vulnerabilities, Adds Tab-Syncing

Google plugs 20 security holes in its new Chrome 19 release and adds a new tab-synchronization feature into the mix. It also handed out $16,500 to security researchers who ferreted out the flaws.

Google closed 20 security vulnerabilities in the latest edition of its Chrome browser, coupling a bevy of security fixes with a new tab-synchronization feature.

In Chrome 19, Google closed eight vulnerabilities ranked "high," seven ranked "medium" and five classified as "low." All together, Google handed out $16,500 to researchers for work related to this release.

Of that amount, $9,000 was distributed to Aki Helin of the Oulu University Secure Programming Group in Finland and researchers Sławomir Błażek, Chamal de Silva, Miaubiz, Arthur Gerkis and Christian Holler for working with Google during the development cycle €œand preventing security regressions from ever reaching the stable channel.€ The remaining $7,500 was handed out to other researchers who discovered bugs that were fixed in the release.

Google publicized little information about the bugs, none of which scored the most severe ranking of "critical." Some of the more serious fixes, however, dealt with use-after-free memory bugs.

The security fixes accompanied the addition in Chrome 19 of support for tab synchronization, a feature, which will be gradually rolled out during the next few weeks. Chrome is not the first browser to travel this path; in 2010, Mozilla added the ability to synchronize tabs, bookmarks, history, passwords and other data in Firefox 4.

€œWhen you€™re signed in to Chrome, your open tabs are synced across all your devices, so you can quickly access them from the €œOther devices€ menu on the New Tab page,€ blogged Google software engineer Raz Mathias. €œIf you€™ve got Chrome for Android Beta, you can open the same recipe tab right on your phone when you run out to the store for more ingredients. The back and forward buttons will even work, so you can pick up browsing right where you left off.€

€œOpen tabs aren€™t the only things that sync when you sign in to Chrome,€ Mathias continued. €œSigning in to Chrome also syncs your bookmarks, apps, extensions, history, themes and other settings. That way, when you sign in to Chrome, you can have your personal Chrome experience on all your devices. Just go to the Chrome menu and select €œSign in to Chrome.€

Chrome 19 is available for download to Mac OS X, Linux and Windows machines.