Chrome 10 Beta Runs Apps and Extensions in the Background
Article by George Norman
On 25 Feb 2011
Earlier this week, we were reporting that Mountain View-based search engine giant Google rolled out Chrome 10.0 on the Beta channel. In case you’re not familiar with this already, Google rolls out Chrome versions on three different channels: the dev channel, the Beta channel, and the stable channel.

Chrome 10.0 Beta, which is available for download to Windows, Mac and Linux users, is considerably faster than the current stable version, Chrome 9.0. The V8 JavaScript engine in Chrome 10 Beta is 66% faster than the V8 JavaScript engine in Chrome 9.0 stable.


The fact that Chrome 10.0 Beta comes with a JavaScript engine that is “as quick as a bunny” (as Jeff Chang, Product Manager, and Min Li Chan, Product Marketing Manager, put it, referencing the fact that this is the Year of the Rabbit in Chinese culture) is something to get excited about. Here’s another reason you should get excited about Chrome 10.0 Beta – it can run apps and extensions in the background, when no Chrome windows are open.

“Apps and extensions that use the new “background” feature can continue to run in the background—even if the user closes down all of Chrome’s windows. “Background apps” will continue to run until Chrome exits. The next time Chrome starts up, any background windows that were previously running will also be re-launched. These windows are not going to be visible but they will be able to perform tasks like checking for server-side changes and pre-emptively loading content into local storage,” explained Andrew Wilson, Software Engineer and Michael Mahemoff, Developer Relations.

Say you rely on an extension or an app to get timely notifications for calendar events, incoming chat messages, and other things of the sort. For the extension or app to work, you had to keep a Chrome window open, which could prove to be annoying. What Google did is it removed this annoyance; it made it possible for extensions and apps to keep running even though you don’t have a Chrome window open.

“Users can easily see which background apps (and extensions) are running in their system through the “Background Apps” menu of the Chrome icon in the system tray (Windows/Linux) or dock (Mac). Chrome will automatically load background components when the user logs in, and the Chrome icon will remain in the system tray or dock as long as background apps are running- even if all Chrome windows are closed. To close all background components, a user just needs to exit Chrome,” added Wilson and Mahemoff.

Tags: Google, Chrome, Apps, Extensions, Background
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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