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Google proves it can make a better beta with the latest release of its browser, Chrome 2.0.

The new Chrome 2.0 beta leaves the likable interface pretty much
alone and focuses on speed and functionality – at least if you are not
running Microsoft Windows 7 beta.

Testing the product beta with Windows 7 showed a marginal increase
in speed and some features just didn’t work – like the new side-by-side
view. Side by side is one of the most significant new features of
Chrome – side by side enables a user to drag tabs down to create what
amounts to a docked window, with that tab’s contents. Side-by-side is a
feature that heavy surfers will come to love very quickly.

Under beta Windows 7.0, side-by-side did not work and we experienced
a few lockups, crashes and had other features not work as expected –
such as the new auto form fill.

Switching to Windows Vista made all of those problems go away.

In Vista, Chrome 2.0 beta feels significantly faster than Chrome 1.0, and more importantly, Internet Explorer 7.

When running the Chrome 2.0 beta on Windows 7, the speed improvement
over Internet Explorer was not noticeable. Other new features include
zoom, autoscroll, form autofill and the aforementioned side-by-side
view.

With Chrome 2.0, Google is clearly on a path to challenge Microsoft
for browser dominance. That said, Microsoft still holds the trump card
when it comes to running Active X and VBscript code within a browser –
an important capability when it comes to running Microsoft products
such as Outlook Web Access and some .Net applications.

While Google’s target is clearly Internet Explorer, the real test
will come when the product is put up against Firefox, which has found
its way onto a multitude of desktops and has become the browser of
choice for many businesses and personal users.