Chrome 13: Google uncloaks search click prediction engine

'We know what you want before you do'


Google has released a new stable version of its Chrome browser, adding an "Instant Pages" service that attempts to accelerate your Google searches by rendering pages before you actually click on them.

Chrome 13 – available here for Mac, Windows, and Linux – also a offers a print preview tool just for Windows and Linux users, plus a new version of the omnibox, that very Googly combination of search box and traditional address bar.

In June, Mountain View added Instant Pages to the Chrome beta channel, boasting that it would remove between two and five seconds from the average Google search. When you use Google's search engine, Instant Pages renders the first search result if it's "confident" that's what you're about to click on.

Google demonstrastes the tool here:

Asked at press event earlier this summer how often Instant Pages chose the wrong link, Google Fellow Amit Singhal did not say. But there will surely be many cases where the service renders a page that you don't click on, and this could skew traffic numbers for sites across the web. In order to account for this fake traffic, webmasters must tap into a new Page Visibility API that Google has submitted to the W3C as a standard.

No doubt, large numbers of webmasters are unaware of the API, and with Chrome now controlling an estimated 22 per cent of the browser market, the potential for skewed traffic numbers seems quite large.

Though Chrome's new print preview tool is only available for Windows and Linux, Google says it's working to bring the tool to Macs as well. The company says that the Chrome omnibox is "smarter" than before, claiming it's much easier to return to pages you've visited in the past.

All told, Chrome 13 includes more than 5,200 revisions, including more than two dozen security bug fixes.

If you're already running Chrome, your machine will automatically be updated with the new version. ®

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