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Fancier graphics, safer downloads, and more privacy controls

May 9th, 2011

Today’s beta channel release includes a number of additions, as well as one subtraction!

First, we’ve made Chrome’s graphics snazzier. We’ve finished implementing support for hardware-accelerated 3D CSS, which allows web developers to apply slick 3D effects to web page content using CSS.

Second, we’ve taken Safe Browsing a step further. In addition to protecting you against malware and phishing websites, Chrome now warns you before downloading some types of malicious files. As mentioned on the Chromium blog in April, Chrome uses the same fancy algorithms for checking downloads as it does for checking websites, so Google can help protect you without ever needing to know the URLs you visit or the files you download.

Third, you now have more control over your online privacy. Many websites store information on your computer using forms of local data storage such as Flash Local Shared Objects (LSOs). In the past, you could only delete Flash LSOs using an online settings application on Adobe’s website, but we’ve worked closely with Adobe to allow you to delete Flash LSOs directly from Chrome’s settings. You can learn more in our post on the Chromium blog.

Fourth, we’ve improved screen reader support in Chrome. Many people who are blind or visually impaired use a screen reader, a special type of software that describes the contents of the screen using synthesized speech or braille. It’s a very important technology for people who would otherwise be unable to use a computer, so we’ve added preliminary support for many popular screen readers including JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver.

Finally, the subtraction: In this beta release, we’ve removed the Google Gears plug-in, as promised on the Google Gears blog in March. We’re excited about the potential of HTML5 to enable powerful web applications, and we hope that Google Gears rests in peace.