I wanted to make a quick post on my initial thoughts of the new browser to hit the mean streets, Google Chrome. First loading it up it looks pretty plain-jane but I come from the Mac world where I know better than to be fooled by simple exteriors. So I played around and dug a little deeper. Google Chrome offers the standard stuff, set your homepage, type an address, get some tabs going.
The stroke of genius comes in from how simple and efficient many of these tasks were made. Not only do you use the address bar to type in http://bmbufalo.blogspot.com
but you can also kick off a Google search (or those other guys search engine…if you really want to change it) and have direct results. It was a pleasant surprise to find but Google may want to make it a bit more obvious. It took me about an hour of using it to figure that part out. The new tab screen shows you your most frequently used items that gets more accurate over time as Chrome gets used to your surfing habits. Also the tabs are independent of each other so if your Hotmail craps out on you you can still feel safe that your porn is still there.
Not to mention that if you do frequent some less than questionable sights and don’t want someone to know, you can use the incognito feature and surf without retaining any of your browsing history, similar to what the Beta of Internet Explorer 8 has.
If some tab’s become sluggish or unresponsive, Chrome has a task manager independent of Windows Task Manager that lets you see what process are running and end those nasty pages while (supposedly) keeping everything else going.
My favorite feature was the ability to create independent applications a la Prism of your favorite web applications like Gmail, Remember the Milk, and FriendFeed. With a click and a couple check boxes I can have seamless access to my most used programs. Google Gears is built into the browser so everything syncs up nicely on or off line.
Under the hood there is a very powerful new Java engine as well as the same rendering setup Apple’s Safari has, WebKit. Initial testing (which I will have to post in a follow up) shows Chrome has a much lighter system resource footprint and just feels much snappier to respond to that any other browser out there.
Not to say this is a gush fest. The most common complaint I’ve see of Chrome is the lack of extentions or support for Firefox extentions which I second. But this is a beta release and adding in extentions to trouble shoot while trying to fix your own code could be a small nightmare so I don’t really blame Google for not including that in their first release. That is not to let them off the hook, though. I expect it in the near future! There is very little clutter. This is both a strength and a weaknes for the browser. While there is not a whole lot to to scare a new user, if you are used to a whole bunch of options being thrown in your face, it may take you a bit longer to find. The only other thing I can find to complain about is that when I middle click on a link it doesn’t open up in a new tab like I have become dependant on it Firefox. But again…something to hope for! Google Chrome’s beta release for both the average, and, even the power user is a very enjoyable web expreience.