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Google Chrome receives major updates to the Beta channel; faster JavaScript, integrated Flash plug-in

The overlords at Google have finally deemed Google Chrome 5 ready for the Beta channel! Along with some fantastic performance boosts to the V8 JavaScript engine, there's also a load of HTML5 features and an integrated Flash plug-in to get your teeth stuck into. If you're already a member of the Beta channel, you can just restart your browser -- if not, go sign up now; it only takes a few seconds.

The V8 project team are claiming a massive performance increase of 35% on the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark in the latest Beta, so this isn't just a minor upgrade. Amongst other changes, the browser preferences can now be sync'd -- take your awful theme with you everywhere! You can also install and use extensions while in incognito mode; neat. If HTML5 is your 'thing', this beta brings the Geolocation APIs, App Cache, web sockets and drag-and-drop to Chrome.

Most importantly, this Beta sees the integration of Adobe Flash into the browser itself. Not only should this be faster, it should also be more secure -- and stable, because patches for Flash will now be performed by Chrome's built-in auto-updater! These won't be the slow-release once-a-year- Flash releases either -- Google Chrome has a direct line to the Adobe developers to make sure patches happen quickly.

All in all, this is a monumental update -- I urge you to give the Chrome 5 Beta a go. I'm a massive Firefox fan, but it sure feels like Chrome is accelerating away from the pack.

[As an aside, there's a fun video after the break about how the Google team behind V8 designed and implemented speed tests to measure just how good V8 really is]
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Tags: adobe, benchmark, beta, chrome, flash, google chrome, GoogleChrome, html5, javascript, patch, sunspider, update, v8