posted by Thom Holwerda on Wed 5th May 2010 18:47 UTC
IconH264 or no, the rest of the world pretty much continues to spin, which also means new iterations of the programs central to this whole debate: browsers. While Google released an ambitious new Chrome beta release, Microsoft shipped the second platform preview release for Internet Explorer 9.

The new Google Chrome beta comes with the usual speed improvements, but it also carries with it a whole load of new features. Bookmark syncing has been expanded to include browser preferences as well, including things like themes, homepage settings, and so on. You can now also install and use extensions while in private browsing mode.

This new release also improves Chrome's HTML5 support, adding features such as Geolocation APIs, App Cache, web sockets, and file drag-and-drop. This also happens to be the first release which includes Flash by default, but I'm not entirely sure if this extends towards the Linux and Mac OS X versions, or if it might be limited to 32bit versions only. To try this out, I removed both Chrome as well as Flash from my computer entirely, and then proceeded to download the new beta release (64bit .deb package), but Flash was not included.

I've also encountered a small but incredibly annoying bug in this new release - one of those bugs that doesn't break the application but nevertheless really, really works on your nerves: Chrome's UI fonts are rendered incorrectly - far too large compared to the rest of my GNOME environment. I haven't yet made a bug report, because I first want to see if maybe some of you have experienced something similar.

In any case, you can get this new release by subscribing to the beta channel (Windows, Mac, and Linux).

Microsoft also offered yet another sneak preview into its browser's future by releasing the second platform preview for Internet Explorer 9. The main focus of this update is performance, while also further improving standards support. IE9 now sits firmly in the middle of the pack when it comes to performance.

Support for standards continues to increase as well - the Acid3 score in this second preview is 68, up from 55. Internet Explorer 8 only scores 20. Support for the video tag has not yet been added to Internet Explorer 9, so you can't yet test Microsoft's H264-browser implementation.

Get the new release here - for Windows Vista and 7 only.

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