Sep 262012
 

Google have released Chrome 22 – 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 22 (currently 22.0.1229.79) will be downloaded and installed automatically if you don’t already have it. New users can download and install Chrome 22 directly here.

Alternatively there is also a full standalone offline installer here – this may be useful if you want to save the program 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 in Chrome 22?

The official changelog lists 24 security fixes in detail – they include 1 rated Critical and 15 rated High (paying out total rewards of $29,500 to the finders). There are also some cool ‘behind the scenes’ technical changes – and some unlisted user interface changes too:

  • Unlisted – the menu icon in the top right has changed from a wrench (spanner) to a new 3-bar icon. This seems a pointless change and likely to confuse people reading previous articles on Chrome which tell them to click on the wrench icon… It’s also unclear what the new menu icon is called – 3 bars, 3 lines or 3 rows etc.
  • Unlisted – selecting Menu \ About Google Chrome now opens a tab (chrome://chrome) instead of a separate window. This is part of the ongoing User Interface effort to make all options and settings open in tabs:
about chrome

New ‘About Google Chrome’ tab

  • Unlisted(added 29th Sept) several readers noted that Chrome 22 has removed the special ‘new downloads ui’ flag from chrome://flags page – this means that you can no longer disable Chrome’s download shelf bar entirely.

However, I have found a neat extension to auto hide the download shelf bar so that it at least disappears once the download has completed – and you don’t have to click the x to close it.

  • Chrome 22 includes Pointer Lock JavaScript API – often called Mouse Lock. This enables 3D applications (e.g. first-person games) to allow users to control their perspective naturally with the mouse, without moving outside the window or bumping into the edge of their screen.

You can try this new feature out for yourself in the 3D game BananaBread – a first-person shooter demo created by Mozilla. A test video of the game is below:

  •  Additional Windows 8 enhancements
  • Continued polish for users of Apple’s Retina screens
  • Only integral Flash Player plugin is now PepperFlash (version 11.3.31.331) – Pepperflash is a cross-platform API for plugins for web browsers. According to Google, it is currently an experimental feature so it is odd that it is now the only integral player…

This marks a permanent retirement of Chrome’s old integrated Flash Plugin (gcswf32.dll) which has now been removed completely.

Early reports from some users report audio and video problems as a result of using Pepperflash. If you encounter issues, try installing the standalone Adobe Flash plugin for non-IE browsers and disabling the Pepperflash plugin. See our guide on disabling Flash plugins to resolve crashes.

HTML5 Score

The HTML5 test score remains unchanged at 437 which keeps Chrome in top place amongst all browsers tested.

For comparison:

Opera 12 – 385

Safari 6 – 376

Firefox 15 – 346

IE9 – 138 (continues Microsoft’s traditional failure to comply with web standards – even the yet to be released IE10 only scores 319…)

Note: 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 may better cope with (and display) webpages that make heavy use of HTML5 such as the BananaBread game referred to earlier.

RAM Usage

Chrome still uses a lot of RAM because it runs each tab as a separate process. This is good for security and stability but bad for performance on systems with limited memory.

In my review of memory usage in Firefox, Chrome and IE last week, Chrome came second – behind Firefox but well ahead of IE9.

Conclusion

The changes in Google Chrome 22 are mostly behind the scenes (security fixes and technical changes) but they add potential for some very clever web apps and games in future.

The user interface changes are less worthwhile – changing the menu icon seems pointless and only likely to confuse.

  12 Responses to “Google Chrome 22 Released – New Gaming Feature, Fixes And UI Tweaks”

  1. They also removed the ‘new downloads ui’ from flags page. It now shows that damn downloads bar again.

    If anybody can find out how to remove that downloads bar permenantly I’d be eternally grateful!

    • For those who hate the download bar in Chrome 22, I haven’t found any other option to permanently remove it

      However, there is a neat extension to auto hide the download shelf bar so that it disappears once the download has completed – don’t have to click the x to close it

      See http://techlogon.com/2012/09/29/how-to-auto-hide-google-chrome-download-shelf-bar/

      Hope that helps. Of course it would be better if Google put the flag back in Chrome too…

      • Thanks, this extension works fine. I like the fact it clears history straight away too, which I always do anyway.

        I don’t know why chrome devs haven’t properly explained why they are so stubborn to remove this. I’d like to see a poll on who wants an option next update, maybe that would help.

      • That could be a good idea, but the thing is, it deletes the Download History too … so, let’s say i’m downloading a zip file or something, when it’s downloaded i’ll have to go to my download folder in the hard drive to open it, where with the Download History i could just click on it and it would open …
        Hmm … i dont get why Goggle is so stubborn with this feature ??

      • Clearing the history is the trade off (but as tranceking notes, some people prefer that).

        Sadly, I doubt the flag will come back – they removed the ‘disable print preview’ flag in Chrome 20 (http://techlogon.com/2012/03/29/how-to-disable-print-preview-in-chrome/) and refused to put it back despite many requests…

        If it’s any consolation, Firefox devs are similar – it’s their way or the highway 🙁

      • My only other alternate would be to uninstall this new version (after exporting anything you need 1st) then installing version 21 or lower, then disabling auto updates, but I’m just going to stick with this workaround for now. That would be one extreme way I guess!

        I’ve said on another website discussing this version, it’s the little things that make a difference! Leaving them feedback does nothing as well, as far as I can tell.

      • You’re right about the hassle of reverting to Chrome 21 – not for the squeamish (and would also miss out on all the security fixes in Chrome 22)

  2. Yes the removal of the “new download UI” flag is the first thing i noticed … screw them 🙁

    Now that they’ve done this, can they at least give us an official setting where we can remove that damn bar ??

  3. Agreed. It’s incredibly annoying.

  4. The new menu icon is supposedly referred to by developers as the ‘hotdog’ icon. However, I think it looks much more like a hamburger than a hotdog!

    • Agreed, definitely more burger-ish than hot dog!

      Officially Google call it the Chrome Menu which is a bit boring and it isn’t as obvious as the old wrench icon (although I guess it does look similar to the Android icon)

  5. Now we get bookmarks with spacing that is too wide, with the latest update, whatever prat thought of that. if you needed it on touch devices fine, but not on a damn laptop. now you have more effort in finding bookmarks if you have loads in a folder. The little things! once again

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