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German official wary of beta Google Chrome

Internet surfers should approach the preliminary version of Google's new browser, Chrome, with caution because its security is untested, a spokesman for Germany's Federal Office for Information Security said Monday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Internet surfers should approach the preliminary version of Google's new browser, Chrome, with caution because its security is untested, a spokesman for Germany's Federal Office for Information Security said Monday.

"People should be aware that this is a beta version and that we don't yet know much about its security," spokesman Matthias Gaertner told The Associated Press. "Beta" refers to the test release of an Internet product.

Gaertner was quoted by a Berlin newspaper over the weekend as saying that Google's new browser "should not be utilized for general use," and subsequent media reports said his office had issued an official warning against the new product.

Gaertner told the AP his comments were taken out of context.

"I was quoted correctly, but not completely," Gaertner said. "The point of criticism is the beta version — why does it need to be released in a beta version?" But the other side of it is some very interesting new features that we look forward to exploring."

Stefan Keuchel, a spokesman for Google in Germany, said it was standard practice for Google to release new products in a beta version because it gave the company more flexibility to work out bugs and address feedback from users.

"With some products, they are still in a beta stage even if they have been around for years," Keuchel said.

He said Google Chrome was a secure product, even in the preliminary beta form.

"Let me stress that Google Chrome is safe, stable, and really fast," Keuchel said.

Keuchel said German officials had not contacted the Internet giant before Gaertner's concerns about the new browser were published.

"It came out as an official warning from the ministry without us having seen it precisely because there was no warning from them," Keuchel said.