April 1, 2010

Google Chrome Embraces Windows 7 Aero GUI and Adobe Flash

Google is embracing Windows 7 and Adobe Flash with the next generation of its open source browser. The latest releases of Google Chrome (Build 5.0.360.4) made available through the Dev channel are tailored to the Windows 7 Aero graphical user interface, by finally offering support for features such as Taskbar Thumbnail Previews. Users of rival browsers, including Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.6 and Opera 10.50, have already been able to enjoy support for Thumbnail Previews, a Windows 7-specific feature that allows customers to easily access multiple instances of opened programs, and even multiple browser tabs by previews popping out from the applications’ icons pinned on the Taskbar.

Thumbnail Taskbar Previews can be used in concert with Aero Peek in order to simplify management and access of desktop items. Early Chrome adopters can test Taskbar Previews with version 5.0.360.4 of the browser, although the feature was made available in the Dev channel update offered last week.

It will be easy to notice that Google still has a little to go before it will bring its own implementation of Thumbnail Previews to the same level as IE8, for example. While in IE8 the transitions from one opened browser tab to another are smooth, in Google Chrome 5.0.360.4 for Windows going from one window to another is extremely fast, giving the feeling of rudimentary support.

As you will be able to see from the screenshot below, there are additional problems, such as no thumbnail previews being displayed, while the browser offers a small window that seemed completely detached from the Windows 7 Taskbar when the mouse was hovered over the Chrome icon. Of course, Google Chrome 5.0.360.4 Dev is still in development and the Mountain View-based search giant is bound to address all issues with the browser.

Google Chrome 5.0.360.4 also comes with Adobe Flash Player (10.1 beta 3) integrated into the browser, an indication that, while it is ready to jump on the HTML5 bandwagon, Google is in no way ready to give up supporting Flash. Starting with version 5.0.360.4, Chrome users no longer have to worry about installing or updating Chrome by leveraging Flash as a standalone product.

“We believe this initiative will help our users in the following ways: when users download Chrome, they will also receive the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. There will be no need to install Flash Player separately. Users will automatically receive updates related to Flash Player using Google Chrome’s auto-update mechanism. This eliminates the need to manually download separate updates and reduces the security risk of using outdated versions. With Adobe's help, we plan to further protect users by extending Chrome's ‘sandbox’ to web pages with Flash content,” Linus Upson, Google Chrome VP, Engineering, revealed.

Google Chrome 5.0.360.4 for Windows is available for download here.
Google Chrome 5.0.360.4 for Mac is available for download here.
Google Chrome 5.0.360.5 for Linux is available for download here.

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