Google Chrome 10 Hits Beta with Speedier Crankshaft

Google Chrome 10 launches to beta with Crankshaft, a faster JavaScript engine, password encryption and other advantages to boost usability.

Google Feb. 17 released a new beta for its Chrome Web browser, including a new version of its V8 JavaScript engine, better security and other perks just two weeks after its last version went stable.

Chrome 10 runs Crankshaft, a speedier version of the V8 engine that provides a 66 percent improvement on the company's V8 benchmark suite over the current stable release, Chrome 9. Google shows the benchmark numbers here.

In another performance bump, Chrome 10 includes an early implementation of GPU-accelerated video, which means users with the right graphics hardware should see CPU usage decrease up to 80 percent in full-screen mode, according to Chrome Product Manager Jeff Chan.

This results in increased battery life, always a plus for travelers and corporate road warriors computing on the go.

Chrome 10 sports upgrades in the settings panel. Instead of opening in a separate window, the settings now open in a tab. Also, Google added a search capability to let users search for a configuration setting from the search box.

Users may also navigate to most settings pages using their own dedicated URLs, without needing to navigate through a sequence of windows.

In addition, the Chrome team added the capability for users to encrypt their Chrome Sync passwords, which allow users to sync passwords across multiple computers, with a secret sync passphrase.

Chrome 10 is available in the beta channel for Windows, Mac and Linux machines, but don't expect to wait long for this iteration to go stable.

Google in July instituted a new release process to speed stable Chrome releases to users every six weeks, or twice as fast as the current pace.

So far, Google has been pretty religious about its innovation cycle. Consider that at that time Google was just wrapping up Chrome 6. Moreover, the paint is hardly dry on the Chrome 9 stable build, which launched Feb. 3 with support for WebGL, Chrome Web Store and Chrome Instant.

Is this ramp-up paying off? The Chrome team could argue with market share numbers that it is. Chrome has 10.7 percent browser market share through January and could crack the 11 percent market in a week or so if it hasn't already.