Tagged With browser wars

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Yesterday's announcement of the new Google Chrome Beta brought with it some good news for Firefox extension lovers eager to move to Chrome: A first glimpse of extension compatibility.

The Chrome Developer Documentation has released a guide to creating and installing Chrome extensions in their most simple form. Right now the "extensions" aren't really much to speak of, and the process of installing an extension still seems very much like running Chrome with user scripts, but it's great to see that they're making some progress on the extensions front. As Google Operating System is quick to point out, these "extensions" are in fact "just fancy wrappers for user scripts, but there are plans to make them more useful by exposing browser features and allowing developers to create interfaces." Hit the link below for a quick guide to installing your first (not terribly useful) Chrome extension if you're eager to try it out. (The extension in the example just replaces Google's homepage logo with another picture.)

Chrome Extension HOWTO

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Windows only: Google Chrome has released a fresh new beta that integrates many of the features available in the nightly releases, including significant speed improvements and a few cool new features. Apart from the speed increases—which claim a 25% boost in their V8 benchmarks and 35% on Sunspider (see the graphs below for a better idea)—the new beta includes form autofill, full page zoom, autoscroll, and the snazzy tab drag feature you see in the video for breaking tabs into a side-by-side view. As I said, none of these are all that new if you've been keeping up with the latest and greatest in the nightly builds, but if you prefer the slightly more stable beta build, you'll need to download the Google Chrome Channel Changer and change to the Beta channel.

Google Chrome Beta

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Windows/Mac only: Apple today released a new beta version of its Safari web browser, boasting several new features including Cover Flow, full history search, a faster JavaScript engine (dubbed Nitro), and a slew of other new features. Eye candy aside, the most remarkable feature update is the Nitro engine, which claims to run faster than Chrome, Firefox 3.0 (and 3.1, for that matter). We haven't had a chance to vet any of these claims yet, but we'll let you know once we do. The rest of Safari's new features seem less like new features and more like a quick game of catch-up. For example, Safari's Top Sites feature smells eerily similar to Google Chrome's homepage, listing "your favourite web sites at a glance." Likewise, the new tabs on top feature puts tabs along the very top edge of the window—also very familiar to Chrome users. On the other side of the fence, Firefox users may find the new, smarter address bar familiar as well. As an added bonus—as you can see in the first screenshot—Safari actually looks like it belongs on Windows now. Still, none of that copying really matters. We're happy to see the browser market borrow a good feature or two here and there if it means the competition continues. Safari 4 Beta is a free download, Windows and Mac OS X only. In the meantime, let's hear what you think of the shiny new Safari in the comments.

Safari 4 Beta