It was such a rush waking up this morning and finding Google’s web browser, Chrome, finally available for testing. We all know that Google is the all time favourite search engine, and as a company their presence is largely web based with their applications and products and services being mostly online, so it’s an obvious leap of logic that Google would want a web browser of its own to access the internet. The only surprise is how long it took to get here. Sadly, their own release comes on the heels of Firefox 3, which we all have been waiting for, and now love. Google had a deal with FF whereby the browser uses Google as its default search engine, as well as incorporating a search bar, while Google makes substantial payments to Mozilla. Firefox holds 19% of the market share for browsers while IE has 73%, and now Chrome comes in direct competition with its own ally. Only time will tell whether FF will hold its own, get incorporated into Google, or slowly die down. It all depends on how Chrome treats its users.
My browser needs are relatively simple. The browser should be ‘clean’, fast, visually attractive, sturdy, customizable and sleek. See, quite simple. The browser is a means, and not an end by itself, unlike that behemoth IE which takes forever to load up and then feel like a truck you are driving down the information highway watching all those cars zoom by. Google approached its design for Chrome differently, which I hope will widen our horizons for web browsing:
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 we set out to build.
After installing the browser, the design surprised me a bit. The browser really was stripped down. Really. There are no fancy graphics, no flashing lights, nothing that is visually exciting. The usual Google colour scheme is present, with its varying shades of blue, though I can’t quite understand why its called chrome since there are no metallic shades anywhere. It really is a bare bones browser. There isn’t even the usual File/Edit/View menu! But it loads very, very fast.
The compartmentalized browsing is a wonderful concept though. It’s really like using several browsers at once, and the tabs are dynamic. You can drag them around all over the place, and into new windows. The browser seems sturdy too. In FF when one tab crashes, the whole browser goes down. But Chrome claims that if one tab does down, the rest keep going.
At present, the irritating part is that you can’t configure a new tab to open without showing thumbnails of your history. Perhaps in later versions, that option will be given.
The browser displays the pages well though, I maybe imagining things, but pages actually look better on Chrome. For those of us who live on the web and value speed and functionality above other frills Chrome, just like Google Home Classic, might turn out to be our default tool. Only the weeks ahead will show us just how good it works, but for now, Happy Chroming!
I crashed a website running on Chrome (a quicktime plugin crashed it really) and while in other browsers the entire thing would close, on Chrome the area where the plugin was located turned black, but the browser didnt close. How wonderful!