Chrome's new 'new tab' goes wide

Google nudged the latest version of its Chrome browser to its wide-release stable channel, introducing a redesigned New Tab page and Chrome Web Store, numerous security fixes, but held off on expanding sync options.

The cover was yanked off the stable version of Chrome 15 today, as Google updated its New Tab page to emphasize Web apps and customizations along with Most Visited sites. Google Chrome 15 stable for Windows (download), Mac (download), Linux (download), and Chrome Frame also made several serious security improvements. However, the ability to synchronize your Omnibox history remains relegated to the less-stable Chrome beta and developer's channels.

Google's new 'new tab' page contains robust organizational features. (Credit: Google)

The intuitive New Tab page allows you to create custom categories by dragging and dropping apps and bookmarks, and includes navigation arrows on the left and right edges of the page that become more visible on mouse-over.

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The New Tab redo launch coincides with a redesign of the Chrome Web Store, Google's clearinghouse for its Web apps. The new look to the Web Store emphasizes a more graphical look, including app-related video, screenshots, and reviews that are linked to the Google+ account of the reviewer. Along with the killing of Buzz, Google hopes the move will help focus people on the interactivity of Google's Web services.

There were 11 security bugs marked as High that got fixed in Chrome 15. These patched problems such as URL bar spoofing, multiple cross-origin policy violations, several use-after-free problems, and one bug that exposed the internal functions of the V8 JavaScript engine. There was also a NSS network library security fix introduced to prevent the 'BEAST' browser attack. Google noted while Chrome was not directly affected by the attack, that the defense may expose bugs in Brocade hardware and that Brocade is working on fixes.

Security release notes for Chrome 15 are available here, while the Chrome team's blog post announcing the update can be read here.