Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Google Chrome (it’s shiny)

Google has finally done it! They went and created a web browser, borrowing various elements from Opera, Safari, and Firefox to get there. It might sound like a bit of a frankenstein (or frankenstein’s monster, if you want to get technical), but I assure you, Google’s new browser, named Chrome, is anything but clunky.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Chrome is packed with all sorts of cool features. Some of them are there to make the average user’s browsing experience a pleasant one, some blatantly cater to geeks and coders, while others are there to save you from yourself. Here’s a quick listing of features you might be interested in:

  • Single address+search bar (with suggestions, similar to FF3’s Awesome Bar)
  • “Most visited” page (basically a copy of Opera’s Home page) whenever you open a new tab
  • Ability to create desktop shortcuts for web apps and use said apps w/out opening browser
  • Dynamic tabs – drag them around to create new windows, bunch them together, and make sock puppets
  • Independent Tabbing – if a web page in one tab crashes, all the others are safe. Lonely, but safe.
  • Incognito mode – no info recorded, whether in your browsing history or elsewhere. Everybody knows what this will be used for, they just don’t want to say it. That would be a violation of Google’s “don’t be evil” policy.
  • “Safe” Browsing – Chrome gives you a warning if you’re about to enter a known phishing/infected/malware/otherwise bad site.
  • Instant bookmarks – just click the star in the top left (although if they didn’t have instant bookmarks by now…)
  • Import your settings, bookmarks, and passwords from your current browser
  • Downloads don’t utilize a separate window, they just show up in a box at the bottom edge of the screen

If you want more information, both PCMag.com and Anandtech.com have posted reviews of Google Chrome. Just click through on the respective links.

You want my own completely biased opinion of this browser? Well, I’m glad you asked. At first, I just assumed that Chrome would be some sort of weird also-ran; Google just wanted to flesh out their offerings. I kept on thinking that as I read reviews for Chrome (I tend towards cynicism, if you can’t tell). Basically, I kept thinking mildly negative thoughts about Chrome until I downloaded it and started messing around. This thing is sharp. It uses Webkit as it’s foundation, just like Safari. The javascript is rendered using their own home-brew, aptly titled V8. I’m guessing that Google was implying similarity to an engine, not the juice, because Chrome loads pages really really fast. I didn’t do any fancy tests, with controls and variables and timers and things, but I can just about guarantee you that Chrome is faster than Firefox. Maybe not every single time, but when all is said and done, Chrome wins.

I’m a power user – I usually have at least 8-12 tabs open whenever browsing. In Firefox, which is my standard browser, that tends to take up a lot of memory. Firefox is considerably more efficient with such activity than, say, Internet Explorer, but falters when you start closing tabs, because it’s memory usage doesn’t drop by much at all. Chrome really shines through here – pardon the pun – because of the independent tabbing. Each one is a separate process in task manager, so whenever one is closed, you pretty much get all that memory back. Not too bad.

Before you all run and jump to delete your current browser of choice from your computers, take this warning: Google Chrome in still in beta, meaning that while it’s available to download and use, not all the kinks have been worked out. In my short half hour of testing, I ran across a few issues; not deal-breakers, mind you, but legitimate issues. Also, I’d like to see an offering of add-ons similar to that of Firefox. I can’t get by without my Adblockplus and Tiny Menu and Forecast Fox and custom toolbar on the top. Geez, I sound like a druggie. Regardless, (here comes another bad pun) Chrome could use a bit more polish before I declare it ready for prime time. Oh well, that’s what betas are for.

If I had to attach an arbitrary number to it, I’d give Chrome a 6.5 out of 10 right now. Fortunately, I have no such need. Instead, I will give Chrome a rating of two monkeys eating bananas. That’s a good rating.

Two monkeys eating bananas

Two monkeys eating bananas

If that wasn’t enough computer-y news for you, here’s a few more links to interesting articles:

Now go away. If you want more, you’re out of luck. And you have issues.

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September 3, 2008 - Posted by | News, Tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. i really like chrome, its very fast… but i will keep Firefox 😉

    Comment by Saint-Germain-en-Laye | September 3, 2008 | Reply


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