Chrome 17 released with "instant" browsing, improved security

By on February 8, 2012, 6:00 PM

Keeping with its snappy development cycle, Google has released the latest stable build of Chrome. The update comes nearly two months after the launch of Chrome 16, a month after Chrome 17 entered beta and only a day after Chrome for Android. As with most browser updates, the new version promises more speed and security. You can grab a manual download below or update in the About section.

Download: Windows | Mac OS X | Linux

It's hard to believe Chrome could be any faster -- at least noticeably so -- but Google says you'll be surfing quicker than ever with a new feature that allows pages to start loading in the background before you even finish typing a URL into the Omnibox. If the URL auto-completes to an address you're likely to visit, Chrome will begin prerendering the page, according to Google engineer Dominic Hamon.

After test loading a dozen or so sites, I only noticed the prerendering effect on YouTube. Perhaps I entered the terms too fast or there's something else interfering with the process. Even when I fully type a regularly visited address such as and wait a few moments before sending the request, the page doesn't appear to be prerendered at all. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

Chrome 17 also brings a handy new security feature. When you started a download in previous versions, Google checked the files against its Safe Browsing blacklist, which is updated as Google indexes the Web and includes sites with malicious content. The search giant has taken this to the next level in today's release by running executables through additional reputation checks to better ensure your safety.

If you attempt to download a Windows installation file (EXE or MSI) that isn't on a whitelist, Google analyzes the file to determine its reputation and trustworthiness based on files previously seen from the same publisher and site. Suspicious files are tagged and if they're likely malicious, you'll be alerted. Chrome's anti-phishing tool can also now inspect your destination address to determine its shadiness.

User Comments: 16

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Guest said:

Cool... Google Chrome ftw!

camuss15 camuss15 said:

The only thing I can notice a difference on is perhaps opening Gmail, it seems a bit snappier loading. Most of my other frequently opened sites seem to be unchanged.

Guest said:

Chrome is good, but we like Internet Explorer 9. Chrome is streamlined to work quickly, deleting an abundance of functionality, or hiding it. Internet Explorer 9 has a great deal of functionality and is extremely secure. We prefer ease of access rather than speed. To make a comparison between the two is somewhat miniscule, at most. Chrome buffers at or about the same as Internet Explorer 9. Take your pic.

Nima304 said:

I personally have been waiting for this for a while. Even if it doesn't work all the time, and only makes a few websites load a tad bit faster, it's still faster. Not like it's lost any performance anyway.

Guest said:

Hmm, just tested it, seems the same. Firefox 10 is still faster as far as I can see.

Guest said:

So they copied the Firefox extension Instant Preview and just removed the preview part? Preload but without the preview. Not sure which is better.

Either way, Firefox 10 still seems faster, we'll have to wait for Lifehacker's benchmarks I guess.

Guest said:

Google is just getting to intrusive for me.

Trying to avoid anything from Google.

Guest said:

I dropped Firefox for Chrome when it first came out. I had gone through all of the former Mozilla browsers like Foxfire, Phoenix and Mozilla itself, and of course Netscape was king for a long time until it got screwed up.

Firefox was getting too odd in its handling of cookies. Never got comfortable with IE, it always seemed so odd and too much work to do simple things like managing bookmarks. I've heard of good programmers hiring onto MS and turning stupid, way too much red tape there. I switched to google docs, the continuous MS office upgrade game got us very little. Overall Chrome seems much faster and easier. I still use the other browsers to test my webdesign work. Amazed that MS refuses to get IE to conform to the programming methods other browsers have settled on. We always have to put in a bunch of CSS code to get our work to not hang up in IE.

Guest said:

I liked the New Chrome. It is not only about the speed but Firefox as per me is irritating when it comes to start it for the first time on a day. It takes too long to start, otherwise Good. But when it comes to Chrome it is a browser that I love to use. We being IT'ians don't go to browsers for bookmarks and shortcuts. How many of us really use bookmarks, intensively and regularly; none of us, we just go to address and text it out. Thus, we needed a browser that is not complicated and very blank in appearance, Chrome.

I even liked the Multi sign-in's into Gmail accounts. Now I dont need outlook for multiple google emails. I can use this feature and sync only useful emails into outlook weekly. Thus, saving a lot of time and internet usage.

At the end of the day. Better than any other browser today.

Guest said:

All these browsers are pretty much the same thing with a different logo, so as a windows user I see anything other then IE bloatware.

Keep your PC lean and clean and you'll have a much more enjoyable experience IMO.

Guest said:

In the office I still have windows xp, and this keeps me limited to IE 8.

Creating a new tab in IE 8 is painfully slow, and it doesn't even have the ability to drag a tab out of a window to create a new window. I know these are available in IE9, but for whatever reason microsoft didn't release 9 for XP.

Combine a slightly faster speed, 'googling' a term straight from the url, auto updating to reduce maintenance, I see no reason to use anything but chrome.

Firefox was also good, but at one point it seemed slow to start up. I started trying chrome and haven't gone back in awhile. Something needs to 'go wrong' in chrome in order for me to try another browser. I only continue to have experience in IE because old staff members who don't know that purchasing items in a free app costs real money continue to use it.

Guest said:

Support Open Source...Firefox with Adblock Plus!!! Chrome is run by the privacy invading Google. I use to like Google but they are snooping way to much any more. I deleted my Google+ account and stay logged out of my Google searches. If you need another browser Internet Explorer works.

UnknownSky said:

I enjoy using Opera and Firefox the most. Chrome just seems very...HAL-like? Also with that preview function...I will never trust auto complete.

Cota Cota said:

It doesnt seems to add pre-loading to links that im "cursoring", oh well looks like i will have to print those links and write them on the url bar myself to save time.

Guest said:

Only clueless people use this piece of spyware called Chrome....sigh

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

That's great news! Now Chrome users are safe from everybody except Google....

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