Chrome 17 Goes Stable With Faster, Safer Browsing

Google Chrome 17 goes stable for Windows, Mac and Linux. The company paid out $10,000 for bug fixes as well and made the browser faster and more secure.

Google Feb. 8 pushed Chrome 17 into the stable channel for Windows, Mac and Linux, paying out $10,500 to fix bugs and making the browser faster and more secure.

Bug hunters squashed 20 bugs. Google paid for 11 of them, including $2,000 for the detections of "bad casts with column spans."

The Chrome maker paid $1,000 apiece for five use-after-free flaws, including one in PDF garbage collection. Google also shelled out $1,000 for a buffer overflow in locale handling and race condition after the crash of the utility process.

Readers may find the full list of flaws and those who discovered them in this corporate blog post.

To satisfy Google's need for speed, Chrome 17 includes prerendering, the predictive search technology Google has used in search and its browser.

When users start typing in the omnibox address bar and the URL autocompletes to a Website users visit with some frequency, Chrome will prerender the page. This means the Web page could appear instantly once the user hits enter.

Faster page rendering, means faster information delivery to users, which means users may be more likely to search the Web more in Chrome, goes Google's thinking.

Google also elevated the security levels in Chrome, running checks on executable .exe and .msi files. If the executable doesn't match a white list, Chrome checks with Google to see if the Website the user is visiting commands a lot of malicious downloads.

Google also pledged to begin rolling out updates to Chrome Operating System that will make using a Chromebook better.

Specifically, Google plans to add a new image editor to let Chromebook users view, edit and share photos on the Web. Users will also see an improved Verizon 3G activation portal, which will allow users to set up a recurring purchase of mobile data.

The arrival of Chrome 17 to beta caps a busy week for the browser, which is used by more than 200 million people worldwide.

On Feb. 6, Google released Chrome for Android to beta, finally bringing Chrome to Android handsets and tablets, albeit only for Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, devices.

Also, Google confirmed Chrome Screenwise, a program in which it will pay online surfers to browse the Web and share data about their travels with the search-engine giant. Ideally, this will enable Google to improve Chrome for its users.