Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Chrome

So I just downloaded Google's new open-source web browser, Chrome, which you can download here.

I'm pretty happy with the latest version of Firefox, but I thought I'd give it a spin anyway. I've done my daily browsing with it, and I'm actually pretty impressed.

The good things:

1) It looks very clean, and maximizes the page viewing area.

2) The first page that starts up defaults to some of your most recent sites, which is pretty cool. But it can also be set to a permanent home page.

3) You can just click and drag the current URL to your bookmarks bar. In general, the interface is very slick and intuitive.

4) The address bar can be used to either enter URLs or as a search engine.

5) Incognito mode is pretty neat. It lets you open a window which lets you browse without accepting cookies or recording browsing history. The guide says this is to allow you to "plan birthday parties in secret" (in other words, it's for guys who want to look at videos of mules having sex with midgets, and not have their wife stumble across it).

6) It's open-source, which means that any programmer can get in under the hood and modify it. Some of the next-gen iterations of the product will probably be really cool.

The not-so-good things:

1) It's not very customizable, which is also kind of a good thing. The menus are uncluttered, but there aren't many options. For example, I'd like a new window to open full-screen, but I don't think that's possible.

2) Speed. Chrome is supposed to be faster than other browsers, but so far I haven't noticed any change in speed. I think the bottleneck for the vast majority of users is their internet connection speed, so I don't really see that page rendering speed is all that big a deal. And yet they're hyping it.

3) It is a beta version. I've already had it freeze up on me a couple of times. Waiting for a bit solved the problem, so it didn't crash the program. The program takes several seconds to recover after closing one of the windows (I prefer new windows for content, rather than tabs). It's annoying.

4) Apparently, one of the main reasons Google even put out a browser was to...make more money. But the way they're doing it with Chrome is apparently that the new browser makes it easier for them to gather information on browsing, advertising, and buying habits. I don't consider this a big deal (unless it impacts my browsing experience), but some might.

Anyway, so far there's more good than bad. I'll keep using it for another day or so before I decide to stick with Firefox or make the switch. My very first impression was not all that positive, but it's starting to make me warm to it, so we'll see.

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