Google Chrome 28 was released today with Rich Notifications, faster page load speeds and many stability, security and bug fixes.
This latest Stable Channel version (28.0.1500.71) is available for Windows, Macintosh and Chrome Frame platforms.
What’s New in Chrome 28? The official changelog lists 18 security fixes in detail – they include 2 rated critical and 5 rated High. Total rewards of $34,901 were paid to the finders.
Removed Ability To Change White Menu Style – last year Chrome’s context (right click) menu and Bookmarks appearance changed. It used to display a grey background but switched to a white background with much larger gaps between the text. As I wrote at the time, the new user interface with its huge spacing may help touchscreen users (perhaps 1% of all desktop Chrome users) at the expense of usability for the other 99%…
Chrome 28 has removed the special “disable-new-menu-style” switch which (appended to Chrome’s program shortcut) previously disabled these new larger styles.
However, there is now another switch which can fix the problem – if you want to revert back to the larger menu/bookmarks style again, see our updated article on how to disable Chrome’s big menu spacing.
Rich Notifications – Chrome apps and extensions can now show rich notifications with a revamped user interface. You can read more about how this feature works (and how to disable elements of it) on Google’s blogpost.
New Web Page Rendering Engine (Blink) – Chrome used to use the WebKit rendering engine to display webpages but Chrome 28 and later use a new forked version called Blink – designed to provide faster page loads. According to a Verge report, Google yanked more than 8 million lines of programming from Blink in about a month which gives an indication of just how streamlined Blink is by comparison – having less accumulated detritus should also help make it more stable and secure.
Flash Player – The newest version of Adobe’s Flash Player plugin (11.8) was released yesterday but Chrome 28 still has the older 11.7 version – Google promise to update users to Flash Player 11.8 via Chrome’s component updater in the near future but it is surprising that it was not included in the release.
HTML5 Score – The HTML5 test score remains the same with a total of 463 which keeps Chrome in second place, behind the longstanding champion Maxthon. For comparison, Firefox 22 scores 410 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 28 – Existing Chrome users can get the latest version by clicking the ‘hotdog’ (3 lines ‘Menu’) icon then ‘About Google Chrome’ to check for updates – the version 28 update will be downloaded and installed automatically if you don’t already have it.
New users can download and install Chrome 28 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 28 is the Rich Notifications feature – it’s not used by many apps or extensions yet but does have potential to further increase Chrome’s adoption as a one stop shop for apps, drawing from the experience of Chrome OS.
However, the removal of a way to bypass the new(ish) menu style is a step backward – it takes choice away from the majority of users who are not using touchscreens to browse the net.
The rest of Chrome 28 changes are mainly technical stability and security improvements but welcome nonetheless.