Chrome 17 features safer downloads, smarter prerendering

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Google has released version 17 of its popular Chrome browser. Given its rapid release schedule and its various beta and developer channels, there are no major surprises in this release. The new features in this update, however, are well worth the update.

Aside from the usual bug and security fixes, Chrome 17 introduces Google’s download scanner to ensure the executable files you download aren’t known malware or viruses. In addition, Google’s browser now features smarter pre rendering when you are typing a URL into the omnibox. This update came just a day after Google also launched Chrome for Android.

Prerendering

The prerendering works by trying to divine whether the URL you started to type is likely to be the one you will visit as well. Whenever Chrome is pretty sure that this is the case, it will start rendering the page before you even get to hit enter. Often, it will almost appear as if the page rendered instantly when you finally hit enter.

Safer downloads

As Google noted when it introduced its download scanner to the beta channel in January, “malicious downloads are especially tricky to detect since they’re often posted on rapidly changing URLs and are even “re-packed” to fool anti-virus programs.” To safeguard its users, Chrome checks every download against a known database of safe files and publishers. If a file isn’t from a known source, it will try to figure out if the host is trustworthy or if the file is likely to be malware.

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