We've done this a couple of times before, so here's the short version: a new stable version of Chrome is out. As usual, it adds a notable feature and patches security holes.

Chrome 16's major addition to the browser is multi-user support. From within one account in the host operating system, Chrome can now support distinct users with different preferences, themes, add-ons, and synced items. New user accounts can be created and synchronized with different Google accounts in the browser preferences, and a new icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen allows for quick user switching - you can have multiple accounts open simultaneously in different windows.

Windows, OS X, and most Linux flavors already feature robust multi-user support, so this added feature has much more to offer to Chrome OS devices than to standard desktops and laptops. However, heavy users could customize different profiles with different add-ons for different workloads - you could keep certain add-ons in a separate profile to keep them from bogging down normal browsing, for example, or you could keep separate accounts for home and work browsing.

The new feature isn't intended to be as secure or robust as traditional multi-user support - there's no support for passwords, and accounts can be changed easily, so this obviously isn't intended as a way to keep things out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. For all that, it's still a potentially useful feature, but you should understand its limitations before turning it on.

Source: Google

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  • KITH - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Isn't this something that firefox could do for like forever with multiple profiles?
  • MonkeyPaw - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Not sure, but it makes me happy. I don't like having 2 logins in our house. It's just easier for file management to have them all in one place. I know there are other ways to mitigate this, but so far it works just great as we each just use a different browser.
  • chiddy - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Yup, I believe this is similar to the firefox profiles feature.
  • Spivonious - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Yes, they got it from Netscape. This feature is very, very old. It's also pointless with the multiuser support baked into the OS. It's a strange decision for the Chrome team, and must be related to Chrome OS as Andrew suggests.
  • twotwotwo - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Not a Chrome 16 feature per se, but the Chrome folks also recently flipped the switch to make Native Client apps available in their store. Don't know where that tech is going in the long term (can they make it portable? will many folks take advantage?) but it's neat to see anyway.
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Best example of this I can think of right now is the release of a NaCl version of Bastion, which was originally developed for the PC and Xbox. By all accounts, the native client version works just as well as the native PC version, and it does it on Linux and OS X to boot. Really interesting technology.
  • SamLJG - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    I think the number one Chrome 16 feature for me has been that my Macbook Pro will now use the integrated graphics unless it really needs the extra performance. Pretty nice battery life saver!
  • Marlin1975 - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Chrome 16 seems good; but i think I am going to wait for Chrome 23. Thats the real good one I hear. Of course the beta test on chrome 33 look good as well.

    Until then i will stick to firefox 43 and opera 38.564
  • AnotherGuy - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    U made me LOL...
  • Valis - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    Is this available in 64-bit now or is it still only 32? :-/

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