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Chrome - Google's new Web Browser. Super tool, still needs a few things.

By Andrew Pollack on 09/02/2008 at 04:51 PM EDT

Google's new browser, called "Chrome" made a rocking debut today. Its got a lot going for it, and a few things to catch up with.





First, what's great:

1. Fast. Damn fast. Really really fast. The more AJAX on a site, the faster it will seem.
2. Tabs turn into windows - just tear them off. You can do it with an add on for Firefox, but there you go.
3. Much better "sandboxing" for security.
4. Each tab is its own operating system process. That makes for way better memory management.
5. One tab that's hung or slow loading doesn't bother any others.
6. The "Omni Bar" accepts search queries or URL's.
7. Auto-Complete in the browser address bar is much better. It completes to the main page, not all the attendant CGI stuff.
8. Incognito mode for browsing pages you don't want cached, bookmarked, cookies, or history data kept for. In other words, it has a porn-surfing mode.
9. There are built in developer tools for looking at the structure of pages. It isn't Firebug, but it will do in pinch.
10. Its damn pretty.
11. Transition from Firefox is nearly perfect. The way bookmarks, bookmark bar, settings, passwords, and cookies are brought it works very well.

What's expected:

1. All pages I went to rendered well, and there were no pop-ups. I went to all kinds of stuff too. I believe it is the same rendering engine as Safari (called Webkit).
2. Music and videos played, flash worked, pdf worked, and so on. The only thing that failed at first was Java -- you have to get JRE 6 Update 10 which is in beta.

What needs work:

1. Not very configurable. There are very few options and many more are needed. Particularly around bookmarks and new tab options.

2. The new tab button is great, but brings up a "most recent" list in a tiled preview with links. You can't edit that list. You can't select some of the links in it and "move" them to incognito mode so they go away. Overall, they need to do a lot of work on this or its a privacy issue.

3. Since the address bar (called the omni-bar) accepts queries to search (Google by default, but you can change it) its sort of "good and bad". I think you're giving up a lot of information to Google here.

4. Pre-Caching of DNS is on by default. When a page loads, all the outbound links on it are checked for their dns lookups so that if you click a link that lookup is skipped and the page loads faster. That's good, but it means you're going to hit DNS servers really hard. You're probably also giving up a lot of information this way.

5. All those plug-ins for Firefox that I love are missing. In particular, the bookmark synchronization would be painful for me to give up.

Overall:

Google has made a great browser, but it isn't finished. Its biggest impact will be the embedded Google Gears interface and the use of the V8 javascript engine. I think those two things will very quickly find their way into Firefox and be copied in some way into Outlook Express. That could make Gears and important internet "pseudo-standard" much sooner.

For the speed, clean look, and general "feel" of it, I may switch. I'd switch for sure if it would synch my bookmarks with my laptop's settings. I may switch back when Firefox catches up though.


There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Chrome - Google's new Web Browser. Super tool, still needs a few things.By Dwight Wilbanks on 09/02/2008 at 07:29 PM EDT
Great writeup, I was not aware of the drag and drop tabs, thats cool. My first
thought on loading the first couple of pages was that it was rippin' fast, when
I did some benchmarks however, it showed modest improvement. Don't get me
wrong, all improvement is good, but, the experience of fast was better than the
test results of fast. Its possible that my test methods impeded the speed. I
did it pretty cheesy, by launching fiddler, then having it do analysis of both
sets of reads.

I'm not a big fan of Opera or Safari, but, mostly because I don't see enough
significant improvement, mostly because I think that their effort could be
better spent on making a better open source Firefox. Google does use code
from both Firefox and Apple webkit, and I commend them for it.

As I write this, I notice that this entry box is re-sizable, cool.
re: Chrome - Google's new Web Browser. Super tool, still needs a few things.By Tom Franks on 09/03/2008 at 05:14 PM EDT
the only site i've been to that doesn't render as expected is IBM
developerworks (ldd). Any one else notice that? every other page I've been
to rendered fine. oh, and some internal webapps on cold fusion that used flash
controls did not function at all, didn't even render properly.


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