Google Chrome 27 was released earlier this week with faster page load speeds, more spell checking improvements and many stability, security and bug fixes.
A further update was released today for Windows only – this latest Stable Channel version (27.0.1453.94) fixes a GPU (Graphics) related crash in Windows. Mac, Linux and Chrome Frame remain at version 27.0.1453.93.
What’s New in Chrome 27? The official changelog lists 17 security fixes in detail – they include 13 rated High and total rewards of $14,633 were paid to the finders.
Faster Page Load Speeds – Webpages now appear on screen 5% faster on average. Chrome’s webpage load performance times have improved due to a variety of technical changes e.g. preloading images sooner and more aggressive use of idle network time.
Conversational Search – Chrome 27 also introduces the concept of ‘conversational search’ where you can simply dictate your search terms, assuming you have a microphone ;-) and receive either a written or spoken reply. At the moment you have to click the microphone icon (and click the warning message to Allow access) to begin, as shown below, but in time the feature may not require any clicking and let you ‘converse’ instantly to search:
You can read more about how Google see this feature developing on their blogpost here.
New Filesystem API (Application Programming Interface) – allows Chrome to synchronize application data through the Google Drive service. It provides app-specific syncable storage for offline and caching usage so that the same data can be available across different clients.
Improved Omnibox Predictions and Spell Corrections
HTML5 Score – Surprisingly, the HTML5 test score decreases by 5 points to a total of 463 which puts Chrome back into second place, behind the previous longstanding champion Maxthon. For comparison, Firefox 21 scores 399 and IE10 (for W7 and W8 only) scores 320.
IE9 for Vista drops to a lowly 138 whilst IE8 for XP scores just 42 – neither are well suited to modern HTML5 websites. Vista and XP users should switch to a more capable modern browser such as Chrome or Firefox.
Upgrading To Chrome 27 – Existing Chrome users can get the latest version with the GPU crash fix by clicking the ‘hotdog’ (3 lines ‘Menu’) icon then ‘About Google Chrome’ to check for updates – the version 27 update will be downloaded and installed automatically if you don’t already have it.
New users can download and install Chrome 27 directly here. Alternatively, a full standalone offline installer is available 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.
The main improvement in Chrome 27 is obviously the increased page load speed – every millisecond quicker helps I suppose although slow load times (which are visible to the naked eye) are almost certainly due to the performance of the site design/web host, not the browser. Conversational search makes a good start but has some way to go to be truly useful – removing the need to click twice to enable it would be a good start.
It’s rare that spell checking updates count as a major new feature but they are pretty clever. At the risk of being classed as a grammar nazi – judging by many of the articles and comments posted online, a lot of people could obviously use the help ;-)
The rest of Chrome 27 changes are mainly technical stability and security improvements but welcome nonetheless.