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Google introduced Chrome in part because it wants faster browsing and the richer Web applications that speed will unlock. So how does Chrome actually stack up?

Chrome JavaScript benchmarks.

Google's Chrome overpowers the other browsers on the five subtests by which Google measures its browser's JavaScript performance.

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET News)

Lars Bak, the Google engineer who was the technical leader for Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine, said at the launch event Tuesday he's confident Chrome is "many times faster" than the rivals at running JavaScript, the programming language that powers Google Docs, Gmail, and many other Web applications.

But when pressed for specifics, he told me to try them out. So I did.

Google offers a site with five JavaScript benchmarks. On each one of these tests, Chrome clearly trounced the competition. I hope benchmarking experts and developers will weigh in with comments about how well these tests represent true JavaScript performance on the Web--either for ordinary sites or for rich Web apps.

Here's the site description of the speed tests:

• Richards: OS kernel simulation benchmark, originally written in BCPL by Martin Richards (539 lines).

• DeltaBlue: One-way constraint solver, originally written in Smalltalk by John Maloney and Mario Wolczko (880 lines).

• Crypto: Encryption and decryption benchmark based on code by Tom Wu (1,689 lines).

• RayTrace: Ray tracer benchmark based on code by Adam Burmister (3,418 lines).

• EarleyBoyer: Classic Scheme benchmarks, translated to JavaScript by Florian Loitsch's Scheme2Js compiler (4,682 lines).

Google Chrome JavaScript score.

Google's overall score is head and shoulders above the competition for executing JavaScript.

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET News)

A few notes: First, your mileage may vary; I ran these tests on my dual-core Windows XP machine.

Second, my apologies here to Opera, whose browser I don't have installed.

Third, I tried to run the SunSpider benchmark tests as well, but perhaps because a lot of other curious people had the same idea on the day Chrome launched, I couldn't get to the site.

Click here for full coverage of the Google Chrome launch.

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