Google Announces Browser Updates and Web Store

Google has announced a series of updates to its Chrome browser and its application store.

The V8 JavaScript engine in the browser has been updated with a new pierce of software dubbed Crankshaft, which doubles performance according to Google's vice president of product management Sundar Pichai. Overall the browser engine was now 100 times as fast as Internet Explorer in 2008.

"The single biggest customer feedback is that Chrome is fast," he said.

"Speed has been our biggest focus since Day One - speed is not something that you can layer into the product later."

The browser's graphics have also been improved, by getting more performance from the GPU for some web applications, and Google is adding 3D APIs that take advantage of the extra processing power.

On the security side Google is going to extending the use of sandboxing for Adobe applications. PDF sandboxing is already installed but the company has similar technology for Flash as well, as well as other third party plug-ins.

In addition the Chrome web store has gone live today, which is designed to improve the link between buyers and developers. To date 500 applications have been added to the store and Google is hoping that more HTML5 applications will be added shortly.

"Users and developers are not connecting," according to Pichai.

"People want to get paid for applications but users don't trust small sites and so end up going for big names they know."

Google showed off new applications that are being developed for the store, including an offline New York Times reader that allows people to customise the design of the news page and a new application from Amazon to allow web users to buy Kindle content for viewing online.

Over 120 million people now use Chrome as their primary browser, up from 70 million six months ago, Pichai said. The browser is gaining particularly strongly in emerging markets, with market share nearing 25 per cent in India and Albania.

Chrome is a Linux-based OS, but one that does not work in the way any traditional operating system works. Chrome is more like a Web browser that can boot your PC.

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