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 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 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 Chrome 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:
- 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.
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 184.108.40.2061) – Pepperflash is a cross-platform API for plugins for web browsers. According to Google, it is currently an experimental feature of Chrome 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 from Chrome 22.
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.
The HTML5 test score remains unchanged at 437 which keeps Chrome in top place amongst all browsers tested.
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.
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.
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 Chrome menu icon seems pointless and only likely to confuse.