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Chrome beta hits v.10, Chrome dev hits v.11

Faster JavaScript, pasword sync, and video acceleration reach a wider Chrome audience. And due for version 11: "chromoting."

Chrome sped up its V8 JavaScript engine with the Crankshaft version in Chrome 10.
Chrome speeds up its V8 JavaScript engine with the Crankshaft version in Chrome 10.

Google released two new versions of Chrome yesterday, version 10 for beta users and version 11 for developers willing to put up with more instability.

With Google's six-week update schedule, the new releases are milestones that Chrome users pass--often not necessarily noticing given the software's silent auto-update mechanism. But there are significant new features coming with the new beta.

Top on Google's list is faster JavaScript with the "Crankshaft" version of the new V8 JavaScript engine. JavaScript runs increasingly sophisticated Web-based applications such as Google Docs, and this highly competitive aspect of browser performance has become even more so with the "Chakra" engine in the forthcoming IE9 from Microsoft.

Crankshaft leaps ahead 65 percent on Google's own V8 benchmark suite. Note, though, that faster JavaScript is only one aspect of overall browser performance, and that other benchmarks such as Mozilla's Kraken can yield different results.

Also in Chrome 10 (Windows | Mac | Linux) is hardware-accelerated video, which can increase computing efficiency and spare battery life; settings controls that move from a pop-up dialog box to a browser tab; and password synchronization among different installations of Chrome (though not, as with Firefox, with Chrome on Android).

Google isn't talking much yet about its Chrome 11 (Windows | Mac | Linux) plans, but it looks like one interesting feature on the way is "chromoting," which lets a Chrome browser remotely take over another machine over a network. It's not unlike LogMeIn or other remote desktop applications, but those can't be installed on a Chrome OS machine, so chromoting gives a browser-based mechanism. That, in turn, would let Chrome OS in effect remotely run some native software that wouldn't run on a Chrome OS machine.