The stable version of Google Chrome 13 is now available. It features Instant Pages, which pre-renders top Google search results before the user even clicks on them.
With pre-rendering, Chrome begins loading elements from the top result in a search when Google thinks users are highly likely to click on that link. A search for "PCWorld" is a good example; in the time it takes to point and click on the top link, the PCWorld.com home page is pre-rendered to the point that it loads instantly. Google has also posted a side-by-side video comparison with more examples.
As I explained in June, Mozilla's Firefox has a similar feature called prefetching that applies to all Websites, loading links in the background while the browser is idle. Google's version loads additional elements of a page compared to Firefox, such as images and style sheets, and it will mainly be used for Google search results. However, Web developers may also instruct Chrome to pre-render specific links on their own sites.
Chrome users who are worried about wasting bandwidth can disable Instant Pages by navigating to chrome://settings/advanced and unchecking the box that reads "Predict network actions to improve page load performance."
Lately, Google's been obsessed with whittling down the time it takes to execute a search and load pages. In September, the company introduced Google Instant, which updates search results pages as the user types. Google brought the feature directly to the Chrome address bar in February, along with the ability to load pages before the user even clicks "Enter."
Aside from Instant Pages, Chrome 13 adds print previews and Print to PDF functionality to Windows and Linux users, with Mac support on the way. The address bar has also been tweaked to show pages from users' recent browsing histories in the drop-down box.
To trigger a manual update of Chrome, click "About Google Chrome" under the browser's wrench icon.
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