Many Chrome 6 features get bumped to beta

Google revises the beta up to give it many features that had previously only been available in the developer's build.

Laying fallow since the June debut of Chrome 6 in the developer's build, the beta build of Chrome received a major update on Wednesday when Google revised the beta up to version 6. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Google Chrome beta 6.0.472.33 introduces to the beta build users many features that have been available to the developer's build users including changes to the interface, synchronization improvements, and a faster version of Google's V8 JavaScript engine.

The interface for Chrome 6 beta introduces a unified options menu and detaches the stop-and-refresh button from the location bar to put it in a more traditional place.

The interface for Chrome 6 beta introduces a unified options menu and detaches the stop-and-refresh button from the location bar to put it in a more traditional place.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Users familiar with Google Chrome dev (Windows | Mac | Linux) will find the beta lacking mostly minor and under-the--hood changes from the developer's build, although users can expect that to change as new features migrate from the bleeding-edge Chrome Canary build into the developer's version. However, the built-in PDF reader plug-in that currently ships in the developer's build is not present in the beta.

The new beta does include the form autofill feature, and autofill synchronization. Google said in a blog post announcing the beta that it will not insert the form data without user confirmation. This includes credit card data, which will explicitly prompt users to fill in that data in addition to the regular autofill prompt. Extensions in the beta are now synchronized, too, along with bookmarks and user settings. Interface changes include detaching the stop-refresh button from the location bar and giving it its own button on the left side of the interface, and merging the options menu to create more space for extension icons on the right side.

In the same blog post, Google touts the update to the V8 JavaScript engine in the new beta as being 15 percent faster than the stable build on its own V8 and SunSpider benchmarks, and 64 percent faster on Mozilla's Dromaeo DOM core benchmark.

An update earlier Wednesday to Chrome stable (Windows | Mac | Linux) upgraded the version of the built-in Flash Player plug-in that comes with that browser.

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