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Google Chrome developer preview (unofficially) released

Robert Palmer

Digg's Kevin Rose, perennial purveyor of information that just "fell off the back of the truck" shared a link early this morning to Google's new, supercharged, Webkit-based browser -- for Mac.

The new browser, Chrome, is clearly marked as a developer preview, and not meant for general browsing. In fact, as a good Mac citizen, it will refuse to set itself as your default browser.

It scores a 100 on the Acid3 test straight out of the box, but doesn't pass: it fails something called the linktest, which involves interacting A tags and IFRAMEs. A little research suggests that it could be a bug with Webkit. If that's true, then it's a bug that Safari 4 beta has fixed.

Chrome appears to have Flash (and other plugin) support disabled as well. JavaScript support, however, is fully functional. While Chrome performed much better than Firefox on this cursory test, it still didn't beat Safari 4 by a long shot. While only a beta, its performance is respectable and sure to improve.

Again, Google Chrome isn't for everyone, but if you're a web developer who needs to keep up with the bleeding edge of browser development, then this preview should be stable and reliable enough for you to test what you need to.

Read through for the full JavaScript test details.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

I ran this test on my iMac with a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. It was meant more to show the relative execution speed differences between the browsers rather than a demonstration of raw horsepower. Chrome executed JavaScript instructions in this test 2.7 times slower than Safari 4. Firefox executed the instructions 7.4 times slower than Safari 4.

Update: Commenter Manu points out that there are other, possibly better, tests out there that give different results. Thanks, Manu!

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