January 24, 2011, 12:58 PM — In the months since we reviewed version 5 of Google's Chrome Web browser ( Macworld rated 4 out of 5 mice ), the developers in Mountain View have not been slacking off. The latest stable release of this contender for the Mac browser crown now stands at version 8 and counting. While it doesn't pack many major improvements, the new features it does sport are welcome and well implemented. More importantly, its increased speed and standards compliance help Chrome 8 largely leave the latest version of Safari eating its dust.
All hail the new king
I tested Chrome 8 against Safari 5.0.3 ( Macworld rated 4.5 out of 5 mice ), Firefox 3.6.13 ( Macworld rated 4.5 out of 5 mice ), and Opera 11 on a 2GHz Core 2 Duo aluminum MacBook with 2GB RAM. While Safari eked out wins in a few categories, Chrome took a decisive lead in the more important metrics.
In pure XHTML and CSS rendering speed, Chrome still lags Safari, though not by much. Chrome rendered a local XHTML test page in 0.64 seconds against Safari's 0.55 seconds, Opera's 1.53 seconds, and Firefox's 9.26 seconds. When loading a complex page of CSS code, Chrome took 54 milliseconds, compared to Safari's 32 milliseconds, Opera's 208 milliseconds, and Firefox's 342 milliseconds.
Chrome posted an even wider lead in its compliance with the still-developing HTML5 standard. Out of 300 possible HTML5 tags and features checked by html5test.com, Chrome supported a total of 244, compared to 215 for Safari, 185 for Opera, and 143 for Firefox. When I ran it through a series of HTML5 demo tests, Chrome did well with video, audio, embedded fonts, and animated photo galleries. Only CSS 3D transforms, which use a set of proposed additions to the official HTML5 spec heavily favored and promoted by Apple, weren't supported in this version of Chrome.
Like all the browsers tested, Chrome earned a perfect score in CSS3.info's test for CSS3 selector compliance, and like Opera and Safari, it snagged a perfect 100 in the Acid3 standards test