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Chrome 13 stable release delivers Print Preview, “Instant Pages” support

02 August 2011, Mike Williams

As browser version numbers go, Chrome 13.0.782.107 sounds like it’s going to be less than exciting, the kind of build that delivers eight bug fixes, support for some minor HTML5 feature you’ve never heard of, and nothing else at all.

The reality is very different, though, with Google’s latest stable release providing a couple of important new features and a lengthy list of useful extras.

The headline addition has to be the long-awaited Print Preview. Unlike Firefox and IE, there’s no separate Print Preview menu option; you just click Print as normal, and the current page appears in a new tab, where you can choose your layout (portrait or landscape), the pages you need, your printer and so on, before printing your selection with a click.

While this generally works well, we do have one issue. If you want to see the standard Windows printer properties dialog then you need to click Advanced, which would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that the Print Preview tab then immediately closes – not what we’d expect. Still, for the moment we’re just happy that Chrome has Print Preview in any form, the fine tuning can come later.

The other major new feature this time is support for Google’s “Instant Pages”, which means that when you run a Google search, Chrome will prefetch the top search result for you (if it’s very sure you’re going to click it). In our tests this worked only occasionally, but when it does the results are impressive, with the selected page popping onto the screen in a flash.

Of course, as with any prefetching, there’s a risk that you may be downloading content which you never access, a particular problem if you’re on a slow or expensive 3G connection. If you’d like to keep your bandwidth use to a minimum, you might prefer to turn this feature off by going to Options > Under the Bonnet and clearing “Predict network actions to improve page load performance”.

Elsewhere, there are a host of smaller tweaks, bug-fixes and other enhancements, more than 5,000 in total. There’s far more to Chrome 13.0.782.107 than we’d expected, then, and if you’d like to take a closer look for yourself then the new build is available now.

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