New Release of Chrome 12 Shines BrighterNow that's progress. It's taken Internet Explorer one and a half decades to reach version 10; Google's (news, site) Chrome hits 12 in less than three years with the latest stable release.

Shiny New Chrome

Chrome in its liquid form just doesn't stand still, and neither does Google's browser. The version on my desktop is already up to 12.0.972.12 beta (and you have to like a browser that doesn't constantly nag you about every minor update), but for those who want more stability in their lives, the official number has just ticked over to 12.0. And, while not the flashiest of upgrades, there is still plenty of fun new stuff.

On the cool side of the update, there is hardware-accelerated 3D CSS, which you can try out with this neat Shaun the Sheep-based video collection. On the more mundane side is improved Safe Browsing protection, which prevents you from downloading files with malicious content. The browser can also delete Flash cookies, you can launch apps just by typing their name in the Omnibox and there is an integrated sync feature.

Beyond the Browser

But Chrome is more than just a browser; it's got its own App store with some Angry Birds staring mercilessly out at you, along with all kinds of useful web apps, productivity tools (SlideRocket, anyone?) and growing numbers of other utilties and diversions.

Is there anywhere you can't play Angry Birds now?
Is there anywhere you can't play Angry Birds now?

With its vast range of instantly-installed visual themes, Chrome is evolving into its own smart little world away from the main OS. If you haven't given it a try, now is a good time to get in some practice before we all migrate to those lovely ChromeBooks

Where it is looking a bit plain is in the useful, but drab, front page listing recently, and most- used pages and apps. In light of the Windows 8 reveal, this looks ripe for a makeover to create something more informative and practical, and at the speed Google goes, I bet it could be out by next week if they want, as version 13 most likely.