Google Chrome

What Google is calling ‘a fresh take on the browser’

Google spent a lot of time building an Explorer killing web browser which they have called Chrome. Google Chrome allows users to browse, search, chat, email and collaborate so much more in a browser that is faster than any of the others that I use. I use Firefox for the plugins, Opera when I want to browse because it does not have the plugins and so it is faster, Flock, Safari and Explorer as test browsers for the sites that I work on (all browsers have to work!)

I was expecting Google to buy into Firefox, but that is probably too open source for them. To compete against MS the product has to remain more under their control. Google is a fan of gadgets, so I expect that there will be quite a few gadgets in the near future. Google did use components from Apple’s WebKit and Mozilla’s Firefox, and this ends up being open source, but a Google open source as opposed to a Mozilla open source. It is important to see the difference, since Google can change the core of their application and not worry about everyone from Mozilla having to buy in. Smart move, I say.

New Features

When you open a new tab in Chrome you have some interesting options. You have the 9 most visited sites in the main part of the window, on the right there is a search bar, a list of your recent bookmarks and a list of recently closed tabs. Pretty much the things that you would need or want to access.

There is also a small link on the bottom left that shows your full history, so you really do have access to anything that you have been recently working on. The site history does not open in a small sidebar, it opens in the full page. There is also a search function for your history. This is a great improvement on the other browsers.

There is also a full list of Chrome features, each with a 30 second video, on the Google Chrome site.

Since we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if you started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what Google set out to build.

In theory, each tab works as a stand alone browser. If one tab crashes the others do not crash. At least this is what they say, I have not had a crash yet to let you know it it works.

Google claims that there is “improved speed and responsiveness across the board”. I find this an understatement. This is the fasted browser on the internet today. They also say that they built V8, a more powerful JavaScript engine, to power the next generation of web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers. This seems true to me, and only time will tell.

One Thing I Don’t Like

There is always something. I like to click download and ignore the files. In Chrome the download appears at the bottom of your browser window and you can later execute it, drag it to your desktop or save it to a folder. I know this sounds smarter than what I am doing now, but old habits die hard.

This is just the beginning – Google Chrome is far from done. There is a beta for Windows and they are building versions for Mac and Linux.

Google only gets better, with every tool they have come out with. Firefox, Opera and IE can stand to have a new and powerful browser to compete against. Maybe FF will crash less and IE will finally be made into something other than a memory hog. I still use FF, but I think that Opera will only sit next to Safari for testing. (IE is not yet in the garbage because it does come installed on so many PC’s).

Google Chrome is a great option for fast browsing if you can live without all those add-ons that you have gotten used to. Recently I was only using Opera and would open FF just to use an add-on. this may sound silly, but I work much faster like this. As I said, Opera is on its way to retirement for me.

The best test of Google Chrome is to try it yourself.