Google update stomps Chrome browser bugs

Google released a developer-oriented update to its Chrome Web browser on Wednesday that fixes some crashes and video playback issues.

Chrome is still in beta testing, and for those who have an even higher tolerance for rough-around-the-edges software, Google also offers developer versions. Chrome is the latter; see our earlier post on how to subscribe to the Chrome Dev channel.

"Release 154.0 (the most recent publicly released Chrome developer build) had a few browser crashes, including a crash on startup on tablet PCs running Windows Vista. We fixed the new crashes, and 154.3 should be much more stable," Mark Larson, Google Chrome program manager, said in a mailing list posting Wednesday evening.

The browser wars are back in force, albeit in a more standards-compliant and collegial way, and a major thrust of the resurgent competition is higher performance for faster, more sophisticated Web applications. The first beta version of Firefox 3.1, released Tuesday, brings significant improvements to JavaScript, the programming language that underlies many such applications.

Microsoft is on the verge of releasing Internet Explorer 8 (though it still hasn't convinced innumerable people to upgrade even to the current version 7), and the Webkit project that forms the foundation of Apple's Safari browser is being fitted with a new JavaScript engine called Squirrelfish Extreme.

Other fixes addressed problems with plug-ins such as a bug that could hang video playback after a second or a plug-in priority issue that cause the browser to become unresponsive. Chrome can use the Mozilla Firefox versions of plug-ins such as Adobe Systems' Flash.

In the security department, Chrome requires more manual intervention before users can save executable files with .exe, .bat, and .dll extensions.

Chrome is open-source software, and Google credited two outside programmers for their contributions.

For a full list of changes, see the Chrome release notes.

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