Chrome 4.0 brings extensions, bookmark sync

The latest "stable" version of Google’s Chrome web browser has arrived, bringing two major new features that make it a more formidable competitor than ever: extensions and online bookmark synchronization.

Google introduces the new browser on its official blog, giving a brief rundown of the novelties. Just like in the beta, users can access the Extensions page through the wrench menu to get an overview of installed extensions and a link to the Chrome extensions gallery (think Google’s take on addons.mozilla.org). Unlike Firefox, Chrome can install and uninstall extensions without a browser restart—and it’s pretty quick about it, too.

The wrench menu also includes a "Synchronize my bookmarks…" item, which prompts users for their Google Account credentials. A short explanatory note above the login box reads, "When you enable sync, your bookmarks will get stored online in your Google Account. Each additional computer on which you enable sync will receive the same bookmarks." Pretty straightforward.

Finally, as is custom for major new Chrome releases, Chrome 4.0 brings some rendering speed enhancements. Google claims performance in Mozilla’s Dromaeo DOM Core Tests has jumped by 42% over Chrome 3.x and by 400% over the very first stable release.

Chrome 4.0 for Windows can be downloaded here; existing users can update by heading to "About Google Chrome" in the wrench menu. Folks running Mac OS X or Linux will have to bide their time, meanwhile, because extensions and bookmark sync still haven’t made it into a stable release for either operating system.

Comments closed
    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    That doesn’t make a ton of sense. Reader can be accessed from any place. It is also much more feature filled than Firefox’s RSS feed bookmarks. I’d think the better solution would be Reader for you.

    • stdRaichu
    • 13 years ago

    Indeed you’re right, slight brain snafu there.

    That being said, I also hate it when tabs I open vanish off the side of the screen. FF would be more usable for me in this way of it had better mouse/keyboard navigation of tabs like I’m used to in opera (1+2 will cycle from one tab to the next, else right-click + mouse wheel) and would let you minimise tabs – if anyone knows any extensions that’ll let me do that I’d love to hear about it!

    • Ardrid
    • 13 years ago

    Yeah, no dice then. Unless there’s an an extension that enables the feature, Chrome is a no-go for me. There are too many feeds (TR among them) that I check to have to rely on Reader. It’s fine for my iPhone, not for my browser.

    • poulpy
    • 13 years ago

    It does have the former through AdThwart (using ABP engine), not sure about the latter.

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 13 years ago

    My laptop is a couple of years old (and was cheap then), has a 15″ 1280×800 screen, and 1 GiB of RAM. I tried Chrome on it, and with the way I browse it would constantly have to swap to the HD, which is /[

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 13 years ago

    I browse at some sites that have low thread retention times. No sense in bookmarking an interesting thread if it will be gone in a couple of days. Plus adding a few hundred bookmarks a day would be hell on my bookmark organization scheme.

    • djgandy
    • 13 years ago

    Firefox’s poor performance with many tabs was the reason I switched to Chrome. Firefox was also a huge memory hog.

    Your elitist attitude is kinda stupid too, as even elites have to use browsers on mobile computers. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be carrying a 17 inch laptop around just so I can have 100 tabs open. There is more to computing than $4000 basement gaming machines.

    Chrome is far superior in my experience with lower powered machines.

    I think your comment can go with the firefox 0% CPU usage one further down.

    • Chryx
    • 13 years ago

    l[

    • derFunkenstein
    • 13 years ago

    oh, hey, look at that. Complaint withdrawn. :p

    • Ashbringer
    • 13 years ago

    Does Chrome now have ABP and NoScript? If so, then I’m switching.

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 13 years ago

    Nice to see Chrome improving, but there are still two big things keeping me on Firefox – the over-simplified UI is a pain to use, and really doesn’t save much vertical space over Firefox – doing a side by side comparison, it saves about 1 line of text vs the Compact Classic Firefox theme I use. 1 line of text is not worth the loss of functionality.

    The separate process per tab design also doesn’t work with my browsing style. It might be fine for casual users with only a couple dozen tabs open and who have never heard of noscript (thus have problems with crappy scripts crashing a page) but since I tend to have hundreds of tabs open at once, Chrome just ends up using way too much RAM – and I have 8 GiB. I don’t want to have to close my web browser to free up enough RAM to play games.

    Anyways, the most remarkable thing about Chrome to me is that while Google is full of very smart, talented, and technically capable programmers, they produced a browser that is really best suited for casual web browsers, the salt of the internet. You know, Morons.

    Edit – any smart person who likes/needs Chrome’s really fast javascript engine should using one of open-source forks that doesn’t phone home to Google.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    There is an XMarks extension for Chrome. However, it only does the bookmark syncing and even then it is not as seamless as the Firefox extension.

    • djgandy
    • 13 years ago

    IIRC Xmarks is available for chrome. Pretty sure I saw it in the extensions list

    • derFunkenstein
    • 13 years ago

    You are correct, that’s not the default behavior, at least not in 3.6

    • derFunkenstein
    • 13 years ago

    Bookmark sync isn’t that valuable to me for one browser. I prefer to keep my bookmarks synced across browsers and across computers – IE and Firefox at work, IE and Firefox at home (at home, IE is only used for work-related tasks and for iTouch sync). That’s what makes Xmarks so cool. Hopefully the Xmarks folks are planning a version for Chrome – they’ll have to before Chrome gets any use from me.

    • Stargazer
    • 13 years ago

    l[

    • djgandy
    • 13 years ago

    Google did bookmark sync for firefox about 3 years ago.

    What are you suggesting they dont have any features of other browsers?

    OMG THEIR BROWSER RENDERS WEBPAGES. THEY COPIED!!!!!

    • poulpy
    • 13 years ago

    q[

    • djgandy
    • 13 years ago

    Yes, It’s nice to see a company writing software well, rather than going down the route of “hardware is faster now now, we’ll let that do all the hard work”

    • stdRaichu
    • 13 years ago

    Love that behaviour personally – you should see what my opera windows look like with ~100 tabs open, hate it when FF eats up my real estate by expanding the tab bar to multiple rows.

    • poulpy
    • 13 years ago

    Yeah I was going to say it feels like something is missing..
    WTF are the usual Opera flamewars?!

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    Ah, FlashBlock at last!

    Also pinned tabs.

    • odizzido
    • 13 years ago

    yes, FF has been getting better for a while. I wasn’t talking about this release, but of several things recently. Like W7 is more efficient than vista, FF has been getting better for a while now(since chrome came out?), plus a few other things.

    It just feels like the long push towards slower and crappier software might be over. I guess Adobe is keeping up the good fight though with flash and such.

    • tomjleeds
    • 13 years ago

    Er…Firefox, when it hit 3.0? And 3.5?

    • asdsa
    • 13 years ago

    l[

    • sweatshopking
    • 13 years ago

    OOOOOPPPPPPPPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAA

    • Stargazer
    • 13 years ago

    l[

    • Stargazer
    • 13 years ago

    For me, the addition of extensions is A Big Thing. Without it Chrome simply hasn’t met my minimum conditions for an everyday browser.

    I’m still not seeing a need to switch from Firefox though, but it feels like Chrome is improving more rapidly than Firefox, so maybe it’ll get there someday…

    • odizzido
    • 13 years ago

    I haven’t seen software become LESS bloated and slow in a long time. It’s perfect timing for netbooks. Now if chrome has flashblock I might switch over.

    • toyota
    • 13 years ago

    /[<"while firefox normally stays at 0%"<]/ BS. FF will most certainly not stay around 0%. I use all the browsers and if anything FF has the most overall cpu usage.

    • wira020
    • 13 years ago

    This is weird, but i cant stand looking at chrome… my eye just hurt… it’s pretty and fast but i seriously cant stand it’s brightness… and it’s weird since i dont have to adjust brightness for firefox… whats wrong with me…

    • 5150
    • 13 years ago

    It had sex with my wife and beat my kid after opening it up the first time.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 13 years ago

    Yeah, I don’t have any problem with developer builds of Chrome, nor did I with betas of Firefox.

    And yet, when lots of people I know get the “final” version of a big release, it screws something up, for either one. Go figure…

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Google much rather have you use Google Reader.

    • Ardrid
    • 13 years ago

    The only question I have: does Chrome finally have support for RSS/Live Bookmarks like Firefox has had for ages?

    • bcronce
    • 13 years ago

    I *use* to have CPU usage issues with Chrome 4 when the beta first came out, but now I have 20-25 tabs opened including youtube, flash games and facebook and I rarely break 3% *total* system cpu. Right now I’m holding at 0% cpu usage for everything. No, I do not have a high end comp either. Costed $1100 one year ago and I bought it at Best Buy.

    • swampfox
    • 13 years ago

    Does anyone know if this version of chrome allows you to turn off auto-image loading? I live where I pay for my internet by the MB, so I had to switch back to Firefox, since I couldn’t find that feature on Chrome 3.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    I don’t see the point in vendor specific bookmark synchronization. I much rather use something like XMarks so I can keep all of my browsers the same. I also wish Chrome had better extension support. Mainly support for pop up notifications and saving passwords. For instance the Gmail checking extensions for Firefox are MUCH better and XMarks for Firefox can save and sync both bookmarks and passwords.

    • Austin
    • 13 years ago

    l[<:)<]l I agree, it seems very good, just needs more tweak-ability. The main problem is my wife's decided it's better so now I'm banished back to Firefox ... though that's no bad thing.

    • tesla120
    • 13 years ago

    I have been on the unstable beta for a while, never had a problem….

    • Arag0n
    • 13 years ago

    Bookmark syncronization… are you talking about opera features again? OMG, how could they copy as much opera?

    • moog
    • 13 years ago

    Does it fix the memory and CPU hogging? Chrome eats 15% CPU (while firefox normally stays at 0%) and doesn’t clean up after itself. Chrome also really becomes unusable/slow on facebook when I’ve expanded my activity feed 3+ pages (I need to do this for mafia wars).

    FF 3.6 no issues, smooth.

    • blitzy
    • 13 years ago

    been using chrome for a while and I have to say it is pulling me away from firefox, it just seems to have less overhead…

    will be interesting to see what happens with browser market share, i would guess that firefox will gradually lose share to chrome at this rate of progress

    • bu1137
    • 13 years ago

    It crashed 4-5 times in the first 10 minutes on me. So, at least for me, it’s not really stable at all. The devel builds worked with fewer problems…

    • Mondos
    • 13 years ago

    Wow. I have been using this for a long time. I guess it is cool for it to be stable.

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