Chrome 17 to check downloads for malware, preload pages

In light of Google’s frantic browser release cycle, fresh versions of Chrome aren’t always terribly noteworthy. According to the latest update on the Google Chrome blog, though, the new Chrome 17 beta does have a couple of neat new features that improve security and browsing performance.

Most notably, Google says it has souped up its Safe Browsing technology to check downloaded files for malware:

To help protect you against malicious downloads, Chrome now includes expanded functionality to analyze executable files (such as “.exe” and “.msi” files) that you download. If a file you download is known to be bad, or is hosted on a website that hosts a relatively high percentage of malicious downloads, Chrome will warn you that the file appears to be malicious and that you should discard it. We’re starting small with this initial Beta release, but we’ll be ramping up coverage for more and more malicious files in the coming months.

On top of that, the Chrome 17 beta introduces a new pre-loading scheme. If you enter a URL in the address bar, and it autocompletes to a site you’re "very likely to visit," Chrome will begin pre-loading the page in the background before you hit enter.

Chrome 17 is available on the beta channel right now; I’d expect the stable version to be out either late this month or early in February. There’s usually a six- to seven-week gap between stable releases, and Chrome 16 hit the stable channel about three weeks ago.

Comments closed
    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 8 years ago

    Every time I see another news article about Chrome, this is what I think about it:
    [url<]http://www.theblaze.com/stories/did-google-violate-its-own-policy-while-paying-bloggers-for-favorable-posts/[/url<]

    • faramir
    • 8 years ago

    Wow, they are at 0.17 already. How long is it going to take them to get to a stable version number (and stay there for a while) ?

      • RainMotorsports
      • 8 years ago

      So I guess you don’t know how this works do you? The latest stable is apparently 16.0.912.75 and 17 is 17.0 not .17 its a beta and it will be released as a stable release in the coming weeks. This is called a rapid release program and instead of sitting on their asses debating about what to do they’re doing it one piece at a time and giving it to you sooner.

      That said I am a Firefox user and they’re on a similar path these days.

    • just brew it!
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t like this. It is a sign that Chrome is heading down the bloatware path. [i<]Lack[/i<] of bloat is what convinced me to switch to Chrome in the first place. Maybe these new features will be proprietary, and hence excluded from the Open Source Chromium derivative? There may be a switch from Chrome to Chromium in my future if so. It feels really weird to be [i<]hoping[/i<] that Google decides not to Open Source these new features...

    • eitje
    • 8 years ago

    with three sprints per release, i don’t understand why they’re bothering to track version numbers anymore.

    • Stargazer
    • 8 years ago

    Pre-loading pages seems like a natural evolution, and there are definitely benefits to doing it. There are also some drawbacks though, so I’m not really sure what to think about this.

    I’m also kinda wondering what effect this will have on browser usage stats…

      • axeman
      • 8 years ago

      Conspiracy mode engaged!

      Since it will probably load a certain percentage of sites that users aren’t actually visiting, this will help skew web browser market share tracking in Google’s favour.

      Conspiracy mode disengaged!

      Like HTTP pipelining, I can see webserver admins disliking this, as it has potential to increase server load.

        • Stargazer
        • 8 years ago

        The question is how high the mis-predict ratio will be, and thus how much it’ll skew the stats.

        This in turn depends on (among other things) how aggressive the algorithm is. For example, if entering “t” triggers a load of techreport it might have a fairly high effect, but if it waits to do anything until after you’ve typed “.com”, the effect is likely much smaller (at least you’ll be going to the same server).

        I wonder if they’ll give users access to data about how often the predictions come true…

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      As long as its got a option in the GUI to turn off preloading i dont mind. Im on a very slow connection, id rather not waste bandwidth on it loading pages i dont want.

        • just brew it!
        • 8 years ago

        Yup. I want my browser to do what I tell it, not what it thinks I want it to do!

        • Stargazer
        • 8 years ago

        An option to turn it off would definitely be great, and would allow most people to get a behavior they’re content with. Even better would be if you could tune how aggressive the matching algorithm is (definitely not holding my breath for this).

        In general, Google haven’t been too keen on providing options with Chrome though. I’d kinda expect something like this to warrant an option, but *if* Google feels that this is How Things Should Be (for the general user), then it’s not certain that there’ll be an option.

        If I had to guess I’d say that there’ll be an option for this, but…

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    great, now i have 2 virus scans going for a computer that already gets no viruses. no thanks, chrome.

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 8 years ago

    Chrome will soon be of drinking age.

      • just brew it!
      • 8 years ago

      It’ll be old enough to vote sooner than that!

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      Google Chrome just turned 3 years old last month (11 dec 2008 first stable release). Id definitely ID it before serving it a drink.

    • helvetio
    • 8 years ago

    Does it have a page setup function which can be accessed from the print preview? If not, how can they have gotten to 17 and not have that functionality. I’m back on Firefox and IE.

      • mongoosesRawesome
      • 8 years ago

      You mean like this:

      [url<]http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/857/captureiw.png/[/url<]

        • helvetio
        • 8 years ago

        Yes, except for one thing. Once you do the print preview, what if they page is not show correctly on the screen? How about the zoom is off and the right side of the page is missing? In IE or FF you can change the zoom factor of the page and get everything on one page. This is missing in Chrome. Unless I missed something.

    • Meadows
    • 8 years ago

    We’re already at seventeen?

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      They should get Alice Cooper to introduce the next version.

        • 5150
        • 8 years ago

        Didn’t Winger introduce the current version?

          • dpaus
          • 8 years ago

          They should have…

          (for you Bowie fans: [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlN3oEjMpUQ<]Winger; 'Seventeen'[/url<] and [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruoQEo3b97c<]Alice Cooper; 'I'm Eighteen'[/url<]. For the next version, they'll have to pick between two colossal bummers: [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gmgwx77osw<]Redgum's 'I was Only 19'[/url<] and [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3LdMAqUMnM<]Paul Hardcastle's equally depressing '19'[/url<]) EDITs: too early in the morning for tags....

      • [+Duracell-]
      • 8 years ago

      Barely legal next version! Party!

        • Meadows
        • 8 years ago

        The current version has already been legal in a lot of places for a long time.

        • Dygear
        • 8 years ago

        By this rationale, when it hits version 30 it’s gonna have a mid life crisis, trade in it’s V8 for a V12, and start sleeping around.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      They should codename this release “Dancing Queen”.

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