Google is smarting: with the imminent release of Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft has stolen a march on its rivals in the browser market for the first time. The slimmed down user interface and faster loading times are a direct threat to Chrome’s major selling points, which is why the development of Chrome has been ramped up in recent months.
The fruits of this labour - already being enjoyed by those brave enough to run the Dev version of Chrome - are now filtering through to those of us who prefer our releases to be as stable as possible. The big news with version 8 of Chrome isn't its smattering of new features - the PDF Viewer is now sandboxed by default, and there's support for the forthcoming Chrome Web Apps store - but rather its performance. End users have reported that it's now two or three times quicker than the previous release, which helps close the performance gap opened up by IE9.
For those new to Google Chrome, it's an alternative web browser to Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox: its main selling points have always been its speed (both in terms of loading and rendering web pages) and streamlined interface, which allows you to see more of the web pages you're currently browsing. There's also a handy Sync feature, which allows you to both easily back up and synchronise your Chrome settings - including bookmarks, extensions and themes - across multiple computers.
A fast, capable and easy-to-use browser. Performance will be the big draw for version 8 now it's stable.