The Google Chrome Browser was originally designed as a way to bring about a high performance web browser onto a number of platforms without some of the user interface clutter that web browsers had at the time. Chrome was originally designed as a relatively lightweight client but over the years it has evolved, adding new features and abilities so as to improve the overall experience. Chrome comes from the Chromium browser, with a number of Google tweaks. Google has also used the Chrome browser as a basis for the Chrome OS; this is a lightweight user interface that sits on top of a very simply LINUX foundation and gives us the Chromebook (and Chromebox, Chrome-on-a-USB devices). After a slow start, the Chromebook has caught the interest of many customers, especially in education, where it is now the dominant classroom computer in North America.
As part of the Chrome browser experience, Google maintain and update the application, incorporating new features, removing old ones that are no longer needed, and of course adding in security fixes as they are discovered. Google operate a “bug bounty” scheme, which rewards coders for finding security flaws and bringing it to their attention. Bug bounty schemes are not new and many larger technology companies operate these, recognizing that as comprehensive as their testing might be in-house, there are many more people in the wild that are able to find weaknesses that their software engineers may have overlooked. In the case of the Chromebook, Google have promised to provide updates to the Chrome OS platform for each particular model for at least five years after the hardware was introduced. This means that one can buy a newly released Chromebook with the security that the platform will be supported and maintained for at least five years.
We recently covered a number of the changes that had been implemented into Google Chrome 47 including how Google’s bug bounties had helped the browser cover up over forty security flaws, which amounted to a payment from Google of somewhere over $100,000. Chrome 47 was released for the Windows, Mac and LINUX platforms on the 2 December and will be silently updated for most users: closing and reopening the browser is usually enough to update the application, or as a worst case a reboot will suffice. Google have now updated Chrome for Android to version 47, bringing about it the same raft of improvements. One of more significant changes is the addition of splash screens, which are relevant for web applications – another of Google Android’s current pushes. Developers can customize the splash screen, which can be used to help ease the transition from tapping the icon and the Chrome browser and web app loading – Chrome is a heavyweight application and it can take a moment to launch, especially on older hardware. The splash screen will disappear as soon as the underlying web app starts to draw onto the screen. The update will arrive across the world in a staggered fashion, so if you hit up the Google Play Store today and the update is not available, it will be coming soon.