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Chrome 17 has hit beta with the promise Google's browser will start loading web pages before you've completed the URL.

The Chrome team blogged here that Chrome 17 loads some pages in the background and if the URL auto-completes then Chrome will begin pre-rendering the page.

Google software engineer Dominic Hamon wrote: "Pre-rendering reduces the time between when you hit Enter and when you see your fully loaded web page - in some cases the web page appears instantly."

Google didn't provide any statistical data on how fast the new Chrome will be.

Security also gets a boost in Chrome 17. The new browser is being built to protect users against malicious websites that try to convince them to download and run harmful files.

Chrome includes "expanded functionality" to analyse executable files such as .exe and .msi files.

Hamon said: "If a file you download is known to be bad, or is hosted on a website that hosts a relatively high percentage of malicious downloads, Chrome will warn you that the file appears to be malicious and that you should discard it."

Google hopes to expand the number of malicious files covered by Chrome "in the coming months". ®

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