Google have released Chrome 20 – the latest Stable Channel version.
If you already use Chrome you can get the new version by clicking the ‘wrench’ (spanner) icon then ‘About Google Chrome’ to check for updates – version 20 (currently 20.0.1132.43) will be downloaded and installed automatically if you don’t already have it.
New users can download and install Chrome 20 directly here. Alternatively there is also a full standalone offline installer here – this may be useful if you want to save the Chrome installation file e.g. to put on a flash drive and install on multiple computers without having to re-download it each time.
What’s New? Apart from over 20 security fixes (paying out total rewards of $11,500 to the finders) there is little new to see in this version – those expecting a milestone release such as Chrome 20 to include lots of cool new features will be sadly disappointed…
The official changelog lists the security fixes in more detail but doesn’t specify any other changes – although there are some minor ones. I’ve noted before how Google often ‘hide’ new features and this trend has worsened in recent releases e.g. the unpublicized new Startup tab of Chrome 19 which proved so unpopular. The remaining changes include:
- Various fixes and stability improvements
- The ‘New Tab’ button is bigger – a little wider than before
Err, that’s it. Due to the lack of new features to review, it’s worth seeing if the technical changes behind the scenes have had any other benefits:
The HTML5 test score has improved from 402 to 414 which cements Chrome’s position as top of the major browsers.
Opera 12 – 385
Firefox 13 – 345
Safari 5.1 – 317
IE9 – 138. Continues Microsoft’s traditional failure to comply with web standards – even the yet to be released IE10 only scores 319…
[These scores only indicate how well browsers support the current draft HTML5 standard - they don't necessarily mean that a browser actually performs any better. However, higher scores in the tests indicate that a browser should better cope with (and display) webpages that make heavy use of HTML5]
It’s difficult to be objective and I would like to test further but my own impression is that Chrome 20 is slightly quicker than Chrome 19 – which was already impressively smooth.
Chrome’s RAM usage is still excessively high, sucking up 1GB+ with just 10 multimedia rich tabs open (Firefox 13 only used 400MB for the same 10 tabs).
This is a problem which Google really needs to concentrate on – Firefox used to have a reputation for being a memory hog but Mozilla spent months working on reductions and it is now Chrome that seriously lags behind.
The changes in Google Chrome 20 are mostly behind the scenes security fixes and technical changes – all very worthy but nothing much to excite users.
Chrome’s hefty RAM usage is increasingly out of step with the reductions being made by competitors – more optimization is urgently required.