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Chrome browser update adds site pre-fetching & new security features

Posted 09 February 2012 00:38 CET by Justin_Massoud

Google released the latest version of Chrome on Wednesday, bringing new features tested during last month’s open beta to all users. Tweaks to the browser’s anti-malware detection abilities, along with a predictive URL auto-complete that speeds up site loading, spearheaded the stable version’s launch.

Senior Software Engineer Noé Lutz detailed the two major changes at the Google Chrome Blog. He compared the browser’s new ability to ready commonly visited websites so they appear quickly to chefs who begin cooking a patron’s favorite meal the minute they walk through the door.

“When you start typing in the omnibox and the URL autocompletes to a site you’re very likely to visit, Chrome will prerender the page, so it will appear faster — sometimes, even instantly — as soon as you hit Enter,” said Lutz.

The second enhancement improved Chrome’s Safe Browsing security feature. The updated browser will now perform a little behind-the-scenes sleuthing to protected against malicious .exe and .msi files, Lutz explained.

“If the executable doesn’t match a whitelist, Chrome checks with Google for more information, such as whether the website you’re accessing hosts a high number of malicious downloads,” said Lutz. If the investigation turns up a history of malicious activity from a site, Chrome will present a fool-proof warning that says “something’s not right.”

Google is serious about browser security. Now if only the company would take the same approach with its highly vulnerable Android Market.

The new version of Chrome can be downloaded here.

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