What if a waiter handed you your meal, hot and fresh, the instant you ordered it? What if the elevator doors opened onto the eighth floor the instant you pressed the eighth floor button in the lobby? What if a web page appeared in your browser, loaded in its entirety, the instant you clicked on a search result?
Well, you might have to wait for Instant Restaurants and Instant Elevators, but Instant Pages is available today in the latest beta release of Chrome. Thanks to Chrome’s new prerendering technology, some Google.com search results will appear to load almost instantly after you click on them. You can see this feature in action in the following video:
Over at the Chromium blog, there's some good news for Chrome fans... Which is simultaneously bad news for those of you who already think they're getting a little silly with the version numbers. Starting now, Google plans to push a new stable version of Chrome every six weeks.
Yes, you read that correctly. Six weeks.
That's not set in stone, of course -- build issues and bugs could delay a release. Still, this means that the exciting new features you read about popping up in the developer channel will now likely have a shorter path to travel to the stable version. "We have new features coming out all the time and do not want users to have to wait months before they can use them," says the official blog post. It continues, "We basically wanted to operate more like trains leaving Grand Central Station (regularly scheduled and always on time), and less like taxis leaving the Bronx (ad hoc and unpredictable)."
Google also hopes the change will take some heat off the Chrome development team. Instead of having to rush to commit changes in the weeks and days leading up to a release, they'll be sliding in changes more frequently. If a feature isn't ready, they'll simply bump it to the next cycle.
It'll be interesting to see if this puts any heat on Mozilla, Opera, Microsoft, and Apple. Will they counter? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Oh yeah...Google also asks that you not pay too much attention to the numbers anymore as they stream past in the rear view mirror -- so no jokes, mmmkay?
Before you ask: no, the third developer preview of Internet Explorer 9 doesn't have any window chrome yet. It's still the same skeleton you've seen in the two previous releases.
That said, it's clear that Microsoft is serious about delivering a competitive browser. IE9 preview 3 has turned in better SunSpider and Acid3 results, and its hardware acceleration features really shine. The new release also features HTML5 audio and video support, as well as hardware acceleration for the canvas element. Support for Web fonts is now baked in as well.
Running the fledgling browser side-by-side with Google Chrome 6 I noticed very little difference on sites like Gmail, Facebook, and Google Reader... And good luck getting another browser to run Microsoft's standards-based demos as well as they run in IE9. They're pretty brutal without hardware acceleration (with the exception of Opera 10.60, which actually seems to perform better than Chrome and Firefox -- Sebastian has a video on the way). The SunSpider result has improved again, too, and is now roughly half what the first preview posted -- an impressive gain.
For full details about the new release, check out the official blog post from Microsoft.