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Chrome 8 quietly rolled out by Google

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(Read caption) Chrome 8 – the latest iteration of the Google Chrome browser – was rolled out this week.

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Chrome 8 – the latest upgrade to Google's popular Chrome browser – quietly hit the Web this week, just a month and a half after the release of Chrome 7. So what does Chrome 8 have over its predecessors? Well, for one, it will support the forthcoming Chrome Web Store. But the functionality most likely to appeal to users now is the new PDF reader, which makes it easy to scan documents without leaving the Chrome interface.

It's been a good year for Chrome, which in November claimed 9.3 percent of worldwide Web usage, according to the research firm Net Applications. Chrome's gains have come at the expense of competitors such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, which has seen its market shares drop fade recent months. Meanwhile, Firefox – once a powerhouse in the browser area – has more or less flatlined in terms of growth.

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As MG Siegler of TechCrunch notes, Google has treated the Chrome launch without much fanfare. "Back in the day," Siegler writes, "Google used to give these Chrome launches much pomp and circumstance. Next thing you know, there will just be a tweet about it. Then just a retweet. Then maybe a Plurk update to announce Chrome 14."

Not that Google ignored Chrome 8 altogether. In a (very) short post over at the not-exactly-high-profile blog Google Chrome Releases, Google rep Jason Kersey said the Chrome team was "happy to announce" edition 8, which includes upwards of 800 bug fixes. Cool. But here's a question: What ever happened to that Google Chrome tablet that was rumored to be hitting the market by Black Friday?