Google Chrome has 120M users, getting speed boost with "Crankshaft" and Instant Search

There’s no stopping Google Chrome. The web browser has over 120 million users, and it’s getting a slew of new features including a speed enhancement called “Crankshaft” and Instant Search capabilities, Google announced today at its Chrome event in San Francisco.

Google last announced Chrome’s usage numbers in May, when the figure sat at 70 million users. Chrome now has 9.26 percent of the browser market, making it the third most popular browser, according to research firm Net Applications. While Firefox still has 23 percent of the market, and Internet Explorer leads with 58 percent, Chrome remains the fastest growing browser.

And just when you thought Chrome couldn’t get any faster, Google announced Crankshaft, its new compilation infrastructure for Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine. Google says it will greatly improve Chrome’s JavaScript performance for computing-intensive applications — often doubling V8′s previous speeds. Crankshaft will also speed the start-up time of web apps like Gmail. Google reports that the new infrastructure improves page load performance by 12 percent for sites with large amounts of JavaScript.

Google also demonstrated its Instant Search technology working in Chrome’s “Omnibox” address bar. Just like on Google.com, the feature instantly shows you a page of search results in Chrome as you type a search term in the Omnibox. Apparently, it will also instantly load web sites as you type their address as well. For example, simply typing “e” loads ESPN.com, Engadget reports.

Additionally, Google is working on a fast built-in PDF reader for Chrome, as well as full WebGL support, which should allow it to render sophisticated 3D games.

The new Chrome features will appear in Chrome 9, which is currently in developer testing and will be available this year.

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