With security issues plaguing the end of 2008, the browser wars are back in full swing. This time Google steps up to the plate, opening the new year of battle with their Chrome 2.0 pre-beta trial.

Despite some wavering support for the initial, now stable release of Google Chrome, Google has begun pre-beta trials for Chrome 2.0. The focus of Chrome 2.0 is on the implementation of a number of new features, including some key features missing from the first version. In addition, some bug fixes and security updates have been made.

Google’s answer to the browser wars has had up and down success. With an impressive 2 million downloads in just over a week, Chrome seemed almost an instant success. But news since its launch has been spotty at best. A new version with new updates that include a WebKit update (the open source code that Chrome uses to render web pages), new CSS features, autoscrolling, form autocomplete and more may be the boost Google needs to force its way in with the likes of FireFox and Opera.

Features of Chrome 2.0

One of the key features upgraded in Chrome 2.0 is the WebKit used. The updated version allows for full-page zoom (no more just scaling text) and autoscrolling, has fixed some bugs and allows for some additional CSS features.

The new CSS features include CSS gradients, CSS canvas drawing and partial implementations of CSS reflections and masks.

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Chrome 2.0's profiles feature

 

Additional features being added to Chrome 2.0 include:

  • Form Autocomplete: This is a key feature that many complained was missing from the original release of Chrome.
  • Spell-checking improvements: Enable or disable spell-check by right clicking in a text field and change languages.
  • Docking dragged tabs: When you drag a tab to certain positions on the monitor, a docking icon will appear. Release the mouse over the docking icon to have the tab snap to the docking position instead of being dropped at the same size as the original window.
  • New SafeBrowsing implementation: The feature is now faster and uses the disk less often.
  • Use different browser profiles: A great way for multiple users of the same computer to keep their bookmarks and other user-specific browser items separated.
  • New HTTPS-only browsing mode: Add --force-https to your Google Chrome shortcut and it will only load HTTPS sites. Sites with SSL certificate errors will not load.

This is not a full list of changes, updates or new features, but focuses on key implementation and updates to the browser.

Get Involved with the Chrome 2.0 Pre-Beta

If you want to be part of the Chrome 2.0 pre-beta trial, just follow this simple list of steps to get started.

  1. Get Google Chrome if you don’t have it.
  2. Subscribe to the Developer Preview Channel. You will need to do this even if you have done it previously.
  3. Force download the new version by opening the About Chrome dialog box. Then select “Dev: the latest features and bug fixes”

Goolge Chrome begins 2.0 pre-beta

About Chrome Dialog Box

 

In the event you are unhappy with the new version, you can always downgrade to a more stable version of it.

Based on the list of new features and updates, Google Chrome 2.0 may be better received by the public than its predecessor. At the very least, current Chrome users should be pleased with the changes when they are made public.

Look for this list to change and modify as the beta trials continue. Hopefully Google is smart and works the public hard for input during this period.