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Chrome beta bakes in auto-translation

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Google has added automatic translation and a more granular set of privacy options in the latest beta of its Chrome browser.

The new additions are ready for user testing on the Chrome beta channel. The beta release, however, requires a machine running Windows Vista or XP SP2. Windows 7, Linux, and Mac users don't have the pleasure of being the Mountain View Chocolate factory's guinea pigs.

Without the Chrome beta's baked-in mother tongue conversion tool, using Google's translation service requires copying the URL or web page's text to the Google Translate website, or hitting the "Translate this page" link on a Google search result.

A new polyglot feature in the beta web browser will automatically recognize if the web page is different from the user's preferred language setting and display a prompt asking if it should be translated into something a bit more legible. Of course, anyone familiar with online translation engines know that it isn't an exact science - but it's usually good enough to have a general idea of what's written.

The feature furthermore allows users to choose which tongues get straightened out. So, for example, if a user speaks more than one language, the browser can be instructed to leave those particular ones alone.

Chrome developers have also added a new privacy section in the browser's options that lets users control how images, cookies, JavaScript, plug-ins, and pop-ups are handled for individual web pages.

This allows, for example, only certain websites to run JavaScript in a browser. Or perhaps allow pop-up windows on a particular banking website, or making sure each glorious advertisement is viewable and clickable.

Google is shining up Chrome at a time when the web browser counters at Net Applications said its audience grew to be 5.61 per cent of the total market share in February. Mozilla's Firefox took a small dip from 24.43 the previous month to 24.23 per cent in February. Microsoft's Internet Explorer, still leading the market by a huge amount, slipped from 62.12 per cent of total web users the previous month to 61.58 per cent in February. ®

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