Chrome 8 unleashed

Google has really been pushing versions of its Chrome browser out the window at an alarmingly fast pace. Since it's release (just two years ago), Google is now pushing its eighth version of Chrome into user's eagerly waiting arms. According to Download Squad, Google has moved Chrome 8 (verison 8.0.552.215) to its stable release list. Don't be thrown off if you also see it in the Beta channel. For some reason, they're hosting it in both places.

Gone are the days where you had to download a browser plugin to view PDF files. Chrome 8 comes with its own PDF support baked right in. Also noted is Chrome 8's support for web apps. This is likely due to the Chrome Web Store that Google plans to launch in the near future. Sync, which is great for keeping your bookmarks uniform across your computers, has also been updated to support apps.

Besides over 800 bug fixes, there is also a new experimental feature called the Flags menu (accessed by typing about:flags in the address bar). It includes options for the following:

  • tabbed settings
  • side tabs
  • Instant Search
  • auto disabling of old plugins
  • cross-site scripting protection
  • GPU accelerated compositing
  • WebGL 3D canvas rendering
  • remoting
  • cloud print

There's no need to go and download the update if you're a current Chrome user. Google will automatically push it to you, as it always has. If you're not a Chrome user and you'd like to give it a go, visit Google Chrome's website and download a copy today.

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89 Comments

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You're right that Google has really been pushing versions of its Chrome browser out at an extremely fast pace. I feel like I'm reading about new versions of browsers being released in general at least once a week. Is the Mac version of Chrome also version 8?

And it's still a pain in the arse to import certificates in the Linux version. I like Firefox's little, "Add Exception" option being built in. After googling and finding a very cryptic walkthrough on how to trust certificates in the Linux version, I gave up and ran back to FF.

didn't read all above, but Chrome will never make into the business....I myself use it for fun... speed, extensions.... what else it brings? surprise me!

Darkmiss said,
Just enables the GPU Accelerated Compositing, and wow web browsing really flies.

But why cant they add a button in the setting somewhere instead of having to type in the address bar?


because its still experimental and will be enabled by default in chrome 9 or chrome 10

Just enables the GPU Accelerated Compositing, and wow web browsing really flies.

But why cant they add a button in the setting somewhere instead of having to type in the address bar?

You need a stinking extension just to get a basic feature that is available on other browsers by default?

And none of the extensions listed in your link supports being put into Chrome's Bookmark Toolbar. You know, like sane browsers like IE or Firefox?

RSS should be made a default feature. After all, gazillions of websites out there, like Neowin, supports RSS syndication too.

People saying that Google is aggressively going up the version numbers on Chrome just to surpass Internet Explorer 9 and made the ignorant people think that it is better by simply having a higher version number MIGHT HAVE HAD A POINT if Google was actually advertising their version numbers on their homepage. Go to http://www.google.com/chrome . There is absolutely no mention of version number what so ever on the entire site.

Steve B said,
Is there a way yet to have the bookmarks as a sidebar through either chrome or an add on?
Yes, type about:flags into the address bar and enable it. Then right-click a tab and select the option. However, it isn't as usable as Firefox's sidebar.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Yes, type about:flags into the address bar and enable it. Then right-click a tab and select the option. However, it isn't as usable as Firefox's sidebar.

Hey thanks for replying but, I wasn't referring to side tabs. I was actually referring to having your bookmarks on the side like FF...not tabs on the side.

Click to Play plugins has to be the best feature.

Preferences > Under the Bonnet > Content Settings > Plugins > Click to Play. You might have to enable it in about:flags.

So other than experimental features and bug fixes, is there anything actually really new and finished to justify the 8? I see a ton of stuff in the about:flag but nothing really sticks out in the rest of the UI.

pdf is shockingly bad. You can't actually go from "page to page" as in the standard pdf reader from adobe (by typing the number in) and hence I can't view any pdf's from my uni..

"Don't be thrown off if you also see it in the Beta channel. For some reason, they're hosting it in both places."

It's because this release is newer and better than the last beta.

This use to always happen at the point of a stable release. Even beta users will benefit. Although they'll soon move ahead, while stable users remain for a longer time.

Downloaded it, liked it a lot other than the fact that it STILL has no mouse gestures. which is a deal-breaker for me.
Opera is staying as my primary and Chrome as my secondary.

Argote said,
Downloaded it, liked it a lot other than the fact that it STILL has no mouse gestures. which is a deal-breaker for me.
Opera is staying as my primary and Chrome as my secondary.

Opera is junk in every way shape and form. I would rather use IE6 than the product from a whiny bitch company

StevenMalone77 said,

Opera is junk in every way shape and form. I would rather use IE6 than the product from a whiny bitch company

Talk about a stupid comment, yours taking the cake. you might as well add Google, Mozilla to the list as well. just drop the damn im not going use this browser because of the company attitude, it only makes you or anyone else [with the same thinking] look like a damn fool.

Gestures can be added with a separate application, though I don't bother any more. Opera's mouse gestures are brilliant and it's great that they're built in, but I've found Chrome to be a much better browser for everyday use.

TCLN Ryster said,
I'm running Chrome 10 right now.... it is so last week.

11 just came out, it includes an extra "." in the about screen. Using it now the . has made it faster!!1!!11

jason13524 said,

11 just came out, it includes an extra "." in the about screen. Using it now the . has made it faster!!1!!11


That's at big change compare to Chrome 12 I'm currently testing with the only change made in the readme file about some bug they need to fix in Chrome 11.

JonathanMarston said,
I tried enabling GPU Accelerated Compositing. Still much, much slower than IE9...

Well, it is only using the WebGL/OpenGL canvas to display the rendered page.

There is a big difference between using the GPU to process the rendering and assisting on things like fonts, images, svg vector, etc and instead just using the 3D surface to paint on.

It is like the composer differences between OS X and Windows.

OS X is basically just using surfaces of the 3D GPU and not doing a lot with it beyond that. (The majority of things you would think the GPU would be doing, is actually software based SSE effects on OS X.)

Windows is a full vector based composer with GPU assisted rendering/drawing and when you add in other features of the WDDM in Windows, the OS manages the GPU instead of it being dependant on applications yielding.

Which means that the entire OS UI can be using a lot GPU assistance/drawing/computing if Windows wants without locking the GPU from other applicaitons or having unresponsive states with the OS UI or Applications that are using the GPU. Which works with all GPU operations and libraries from OpenGL to DirectX to DirectCompute, etc etc.
(Think of the way Windows handles GPUs like the difference between 286 and 386 processors where the OSes were able to implement pre-emptive multitasking, instead of depending on application yielding. This is essentially what Windows' WDDM does with GPUs.)

Google is facing some of the same challenges as Apple, because when you don't have an OS model that does the GPU scheduling, then your application can go to crap if you are running another 3D intensive game/application. Additionally if Chrome does too much computing on the GPU, it can create problems for other applications on the OS.

On Windows Vista/7 this is not a problem for Google, as Windows will handle the GPU scheduling, but since they are hitting multiple platforms where an OS GPU scheduler doesn't exist, they have to find a clever way to pull this off, or wait until other OSes catch up and start managing the GPU/GPUs like Windows does.

For my secondary browser this is pretty good, and it might actually replace Firefox if it keeps going downhill...

You should note that to access the 'flags menu' you have to type it in the omnibar. -> about:flags

Edit: By the way, the flags menu says its experimental. So I don't think its a new -stable- feature in Chrome 8.

Guess ill get it again then, the flash got messed up and half the web pages out there didnt display the right way, might work now Love Chrome

Sorry for double post'

Guess ill get it again then, the flash got messed up and half the web pages out there didnt display the right way, might work now Love Chrome

webeagle12 said,
and next week version 9 will include....

new "home" button

I know it's in jest and all, but if you really want to find out what is going to be new in Chrome 9, go to Google and look at the Canary and Dev builds of Chrome 9

Indeed. What most companies call .dot revs, Google calls a full new revision. I love Chrome, but I think we need to give Google a reality check on these issues.

excalpius said,
Indeed. What most companies call .dot revs, Google calls a full new revision. I love Chrome, but I think we need to give Google a reality check on these issues.

By the looks of it, the version numbering has to do with the software process they use. And in the end, does it make any difference if the version is 8 or 7.1?

sviola said,

By the looks of it, the version numbering has to do with the software process they use. And in the end, does it make any difference if the version is 8 or 7.1?

I think the goal is to get it past IE9, Chrome 10 will be more appealing to stupid people (99% of the internet).

webeagle12 said,
and next week version 9 will include....

new "home" button

The real problem is going to be when IE is on 12 and Google goes over 20. Chrome 26 sounds preposterous. That's why version numbers usually climb slowly.

sviola said,

By the looks of it, the version numbering has to do with the software process they use. And in the end, does it make any difference if the version is 8 or 7.1?

When it's clear that this is really more like version 3 of chrome, then I do object to anytime marketing drones obviously interfere with production considerations.

ZenVenT said,

I think the goal is to get it past IE9, Chrome 10 will be more appealing to stupid people (99% of the internet).


do 99% of the stupid internet users know what Chrome version is???
Its the rest 1% who always talk about it.

still1 said,

do 99% of the stupid internet users know what Chrome version is???
Its the rest 1% who always talk about it.

and the other % you didn't mention get it installed along side other applications and start using it when it sets it as their default web browser.

is there a way to run the stable version(so all my extensions work) and the beta or dev build and not have them conflict?

madLyfe said,
is there a way to run the stable version(so all my extensions work) and the beta or dev build and not have them conflict?

It can be installed with chromium at the same time. Chromium is on version 9.

Just noticed my PC has this installed, but apart from the inbuilt PDF reading abilities it doesn't look or feel any different to Chrome 7. Still the best browser available though IMO :-)

Really good things are happening in the browser world these days.

I like. Every one is pushing the other the get faster, lighter and more features.

aarste said,
I'd only go to Chrome if they could smooth out Autoscroll's scrolling, it's still very jerky in version 8:(

Really? Seems pretty seamless to me. Isn't it dependant on the mouse?

aarste said,
I'd only go to Chrome if they could smooth out Autoscroll's scrolling, it's still very jerky in version 8:(

I think you probably have something else causing your issue; i use chrome and firefox almost equally and they seem identical to me.

aarste said,
I'd only go to Chrome if they could smooth out Autoscroll's scrolling, it's still very jerky in version 8:(

It's still jerky on my ThinkPad... a $1400 machine. Opera scrolls the smoothest, but opera sux

aarste said,
I'd only go to Chrome if they could smooth out Autoscroll's scrolling, it's still very jerky in version 8:(

I will only use Chrome if they start supporting touch gestures. If you try to scroll using your finger, it just selects text. Internet Explorer and Firefox correctly implement this.

rfirth said,

I will only use Chrome if they start supporting touch gestures. If you try to scroll using your finger, it just selects text. Internet Explorer and Firefox correctly implement this.
there is an extension for that...

aarste said,
I'd only go to Chrome if they could smooth out Autoscroll's scrolling, it's still very jerky in version 8:(

Maybe in version 36... 2 months from now

It's great and all that it's gone so far with features for PDFs and Flash and so on, but...

What's up with still having probably the least customizable toolbar of any webbrowser in existence? And still requiring extensions for sub-par access to bookmarks from a drop down menu instead of being forced to enable a whole extra space-wasting toolbar?

Joshie said,
It's great and all that it's gone so far with features for PDFs and Flash and so on, but...

What's up with still having probably the least customizable toolbar of any webbrowser in existence? And still requiring extensions for sub-par access to bookmarks from a drop down menu instead of being forced to enable a whole extra space-wasting toolbar?

Sounds like you should move to a real browser... just sayin'

CGar said,

Sounds like you should move to a real browser... just sayin'


I don't have to, I already use one. Two, even. Fx and IE side by side, usually. I'd use Opera, too, except it also suffers from gotta-do-it-different syndrome, and despite including all kinds of features that are completely unnecessary in a web browser, is the least laptop-friendly (and touch-friendly) modern browser available.

I never even realized it installed. I just checked and its running the latest version. Recently, I've been working more and more with canary builds, however.

bluarash said,
I never even realized it installed. I just checked and its running the latest version.

Same here! Very seemless

While reading this I was asked if I wanted to restart chrome for this version... hit restart, and I like how all my web pages just came back up exactly where I left off. Nice seamless hassle free upgrade process. Nice job, Google.

Can't wait to read all the comments from people who have a stick-up-their-ass when it comes to version numbers on software.

Don't worry kiddo, the people asking about version numbers are just rolling their eyes. The ones acting butthurt are the ones betching about the people asking about version numbers.

/leave google alone!!! leave them aloen!!!!1

Joshie said,
Don't worry kiddo, the people asking about version numbers are just rolling their eyes. The ones acting butthurt are the ones betching about the people asking about version numbers.

/leave google alone!!! leave them aloen!!!!1

Good 1. But

Since there are no standards when it comes to how version numbers should be applied, the whole notion that one particular company may be doing it wrong is idiotic and absurd. Who cares that Apple does 10.X for major releases and 10.X.X for their "service packs" and MS does Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2, etc. etc. etc. etc. The whole conversation is exhausting and reeks of nerdiness.

Shadrack said,

Good 1. But

Since there are no standards when it comes to how version numbers should be applied, the whole notion that one particular company may be doing it wrong is idiotic and absurd. Who cares that Apple does 10.X for major releases and 10.X.X for their "service packs" and MS does Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2, etc. etc. etc. etc. The whole conversation is exhausting and reeks of nerdiness.

no one said anything. you complained twice over something that didnt happen.