You're familiar with autocomplete. Now get ready for auto-page rendering.
The latest version of Google's Chrome browser, known as Chrome 17, can now determine which sites you're likely to visit when you start typing them into your search bar and will actually preload them for you, thus reducing the time it takes for them to render on your screen.
In a post on the official Chrome blog, Google software engineer Noé Lutz compared the new feature to a local deli that pre-makes sandwiches for you before you order them because the workers know you order the same thing every day. Google first started publicly testing the new preload feature in the beta release of Chrome 17 issued in January.
The other big attraction of Chrome 17 is its improved security features that include cross-referencing all executable files with a whitelist of safe files. If the files aren't on the whitelist, Chrome then uses Google's search capability to check whether the website you're getting the file from has been flagged for hosting malware.
As for the future, Lutz hinted that the next improvements to Chrome would be tailored toward improving the Web browser on Google's Chromebook computers that the company unveiled last year as an alternative to Windows-based machines. Among other things, Google has touted the Chrome OS for its reliance on the Web for data storage that allows it to boot up in less than 10 seconds and for its ability to push out updates automatically whenever you turn on your computer.
Google announced earlier this week that the company had finally developed a version of Chrome that would run on its Android mobile operating system, although so far the mobile browser is only available on devices running on Android 4.0, a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich.
While Chrome has been a success story for Google, it is still surpassed in overall usage by Microsoft's Internet Explorer, as Web analytics firm StatCounter recently found that various versions of IE were used by roughly 40% of Web users in the last week of November 2011. Chrome came in second worldwide with just over 26% of the global market share, followed closely by Firefox, which took 25%. Browsers such as Opera and Apple's Safari both accounted for less than 10% of mobile browser use.