Beta Sniper: Google Chrome Review

Posted: September 3, 2008 in Beta Sniper
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Google Chrome is the new browser from, uh, Google. It is the search behemoths take on the frontier mostly dominated by Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox. Till august, according to Browser Statistics, IE had 50.6%, Firefox had 43.7%, Safari had 2.6% and others had 2.6% share of the worldwide browser share.

The obvious question at this point is where will Chrome fit into that mesh? Will it capture the market from IE or will crash onto the others. Being a loyal Firefox user and lover myself, I felt the threat for my faithful companion. Therefore, I applied the first rule of battle, to defeat your enemy, know him first. Here is my take on the first public beta of Google Chrome.

  1. Interface: Firefox has a pretty good interface with the option to add anything and everything with the help of plugins. I’m sorry to say (as I wanted Firefox to win), Chrome blows it away. The simple clean interface with just the right options blew my mind completely. I love the recent site screenshots, the one-box-for-everything, the graying out of the coding mumbo-jumbo part of a url. The tab system is simple, yet very effective. I just wish they’d include a theme support so that I could change colours. Creating application shortcuts is a wonderful new option. Mozilla had a project called Prism which did the same thing but you had to load another software for it. This one is much better.
  2. Speed: This is where chrome shines. All google apps work much faster, as you’d expect. But other apps are not behind. Facebook works much better than it does on my firefox and so does the other java based websites. It’s mind blowing!
  3. Feature: Chrome’s best features are much deeper than its skin. It manages memory much better. My plugin laddened firefox takes up more than 60 megs when it starts up, chrome started with only 40. And the new tabs took much less space as well. And most amazingly chrome supports those features already (well, most of them. I’d like to have flashgot, sxipper and adblock please!). For more details on behind the screen advancements, check out this fantastic Comic based document.  As for the visible features. Let me take on them one by one.
  • One Box for everything: Works for me. However, the search suggestions take some time to load in slower connections. But the same thing is present in Firefox, no big improvements there
  • New Tab Page: Like Opera’s quick dial page which you can mimic in Firefox with a plugin. I like that it updates based on my recently visited pages and their frequency. However, I’d like to have some control over what stays where. That is, I’d like to organize the box links, put in links that I want to appear there and change icons for each link box. One other thing that I like is that if you open a link from a page in a new tab the tab opens right next the page you linked from. Nifty!
  • Dynamic Tabs: Detaching tabs from windows reattaching tabs together in one window, again, works for me
  • Crash Control: Marvellous. I just don’t know how many times I’ve wished that one tab would trash the whole browser. Thank you! Thank you so much!
  • Incognito Mode: I know a few people who might switch just to have this option :D. In this mode whatever you browse is excluded from cache and history. For those who browse in the office, this might make all the difference.
  • Safe Browsing: Just like firefox, identifies dangerous and suspicious sites. No big leap over FF as far as I can see.
  • Instant Bookmarks: A direct steal from Firefox 3. You copycat, you! It is an excellent option for one click bookmarking, I just wish they’d automatically categorize it as well (You listening Google?)
  • Settigns Importer: Makes the transition very simple. Same as FF
  • Download Manager: A beauty in itself. Simple interface, wonderful search option and excellent handling of downloads. However, it doesn’t support download resuming which is a huge letdown. Another thing that I’d love to have is multi-part downloading and built in torrent support (the last one is a bit too much, I know. Still keeping my fingers crossed)
  • Look and Feel: This is where chrome is a clear winner than both FF and IE. However they still have a thing oe two to learn from Safari. The tab animation, drag and drop animation, download animation everything is excellent looking and quite informative. Kudos to Google for this one.

All in all, Chrome is an excellent browser in the making. FF could definitely learn a thing or two from here. As for IE, I haven’t used it in the last 2 years and will not be using it anytime soon. They better learn a lot from these two. Better still, Microsoft could simply replace IE with FF as the default browser (like that’s gonna happen!).

As for me, I am not switching to Chrome right now, but (I’m sorry to say this FireFox, I really am)

I just might.

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Comments
  1. […] Beta Sniper: Google Chrome Review – Google Chrome is the new browser from, uh, Google. It is the search behemoths take on the frontier mostly dominated by Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox. Till august, according to Browser Statistics, IE had 50.6%, Firefox had 43.7%, … […]

  2. […] Beta Sniper: Google Chrome Review – Google Chrome is the new browser from, uh, Google. It is the search behemoths take on the frontier mostly dominated by Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox. Till august, according to Browser Statistics, IE had 50.6%, Firefox had 43.7%, … […]

  3. media boy says:

    despite the rumors, i’m finding Chrome to actually be slower than Firefox… it hangs constantly

  4. drabir says:

    I haven’t tested it extensively but that definitely was not the case for me. I was using XP with updated Java and SP2. What system were you using?

  5. Murad says:

    Drabir………………….am using chrome right now while posting this comment, sorry to say that I use Opera normally……..and to be true chrome is no match with Opera………it hangs some times while loading extra large images…….also there are some problems with the fonts as well………there is a option called settings and bookmarks import wizard which actually imports settings and bookmarks of firefox and IE only……the drop down address bar only resembles firefox 3……….using it foe more that 1 days now………..but my say is…………Google need to work more extensively with the browser……..it requires more polishing and added features……..

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