Chrome 17's new features enhance speed, security

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In the first major update for its web browser in 2012, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has released Chrome 17. The new version quashes at least 20 security vulnerabilities, according to eSecurity Planet. More interestingly, Chrome 17 takes malicious file protection to a new level by attempting to match downloads of executable files with a whitelist, then automatically checking for more information when faced with unrecognized files.

On the Google Chrome Blog, Google software engineer Noe Lutz outlined how the system works: "In addition to checking a list of known bad files, Chrome also does checks on executable files (like '.exe' and '.msi' files). If the executable doesn't match a whitelist, Chrome checks with Google for more information, such as whether the website you're accessing hosts a high number of malicious downloads."

Google says that any information sent to the company will not be used anywhere else, and associated information such as IP addresses will also be stripped after two weeks. Moreover, Safe Browsing can be turned off for those who still prefer not to send information to Google.

Another major feature is Omnibox pre-loading. The Chrome browser will pre-render the page that a user is most likely to visit even before a user has finished typing a URL. The result is that pages will appear faster or "even instantly" upon hitting Enter, says Lutz. Users who don't like that can disable it by unselecting "Predict network actions to improve page load performance" in the "Under the Hood" tab in Options.

New users who want to give Chrome a spin can download it from www.google.com/chrome; existing users should already have been updated automatically to Chrome 17.

For more:
- check out this article at Google Chrome Blog
- check out this article at ZDNet
- check out this article at eSecurity Planet

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