Not even a month has gone by since Google first took its new-fangled browser out of beta with version 1.0, yet the internet giant is ready to give us an early peek at Chrome 2.0. Released quietly via Google's Chrome developer channel, the new version overhauls the way the open source browser handles HTTP and adds functionality such as auto-complete in text fields - something rival browsers have had for a long time.

The 2.0 Chrome pre-beta also now correctly implements the zoom feature so that everything on the page scales together, according to Google's release notes, adds auto-scrolling, a new docking feature, better profile support and experimental support for Greasemonkey scripts. Lastly, the new version uses a more recent revision of the WebKit rendering engine that has support for some of Apple's non-standard CSS features, including gradients, reflections, and masks.

Chrome 2.0 is an alpha release and as such it might not live up to your stability expectations just yet. At the very least, though, its ongoing development shows Google's commitment to making Chrome a serious contender on the desktop. If you decide to give it a try and experience many crashes it isn't hard to switch back to the stable version - just reinstall the earlier version.