Google Chrome is here – A short review

Google’s open source web browser project released its first baby namely Google Chrome yesterday! The beta version of the new browser is available for free download for all. I took a quick look at the new browser with a lot of enthusiasm and Google, as usual, did not disappoint its end users at all! In fact, I was really wondering why Google waited for such a long time before launching a web browser of their own as their market is always around search and browse.

First impressions

Google Chrome Though the installation file download size is claimed to be 470KB, in reality it took quite some time to actually download and install the product on my Vista laptop. Finally on the disk, it occupied about 65MB of space which is much more than what IE, Firefox or Opera would take. But the bad thing ends there as when I clicked on the quick launch icon it was like I switched on a light bulb. The application load was so amazingly fast!

And the very first thing that anybody would notice is the simplicity and the amount of browsing space available. The space utilization is excellent as they managed to club the tabs with the title bar. Now that’s a useful and innovative design! If you launch Google Chrome for the first time, the main area did not have much to show you. But the subsequent launches will be showing the thumb-nailed view of your most visited pages. The default page also shows a quick search widget for your history.

Another interesting thing is the usage of the address bar. When you start typing there you have a few possibilities there. Auto completion of previously visited URLs, possibility to search Google for what you typed in, or go to a closest matching URL/most searched phrase are the possibilities I saw. It is definitely a greatly usable address bar in that aspect.

And if you want to quickly visit a page that won’t leave any traces of doubt, there’s a feature called an incognito window that comes as a popup (tabs within this popup possible). The incognito windows will not leave any cached pages, history information or cookies on the disk unlike regular visits.

Google Chrome Screenshot

Other Major Features

One of the things that is exceptionally good in Google Chrome is the text zoom feature. A few posts back I talked about this topic in the context of blog themes. I was pleasantly surprised at the way in which this new browser handled text zooming. Also, the rendering and moving of windows, tabs etc is ultra smooth.

Another thing I liked so much is the Developer menu group that listed View source, Javascript console, Debug Window and the Task Manager (not Windows TaskMan). The page source viewer has color coding which looks very nice and this loads really fast as well. This simple logical grouping of menus, probably shows the amount of thinking that goes into the design of each Google product. Please remember that Microsoft is yet to figure out a way to simplify their Internet Explorer Tools Options page.

Google Chrome runs its individual tabs in separate process spaces. So if you keep your Windows Task Manager open, you can see a new chrome.exe getting spawned every time you open a tab window for browsing. Another thing – Every single time you click or open a new URL yet another chrome process is temporarily launched and this can be seen in the TaskMan as well. Despite some of these additional security measures (or otherwise), the browsing experience is extremely good.

Good, Bad and…

In fact, I did not find any real bugs with this beta release and that is something really great. The only time that the browse waited a little while was when it was looking for the proxy information, otherwise it was super smooth and no alignment, tag or style issues with respect to the content as well. I love this browser!

What does this mean to the browser market?

The emergence of the new browser means different things to Firefox and Internet Explorer. IE will continue to loose another portion of their market share. Firefox has been tied up with Google so far and they had managed to be successful together in the past two or three years. Now, we can see both taking different routes which might essentially kill Firefox in a couple of years.

And for Google, well, they could bundle their other services with the Browser as well? You never know. While Google keeps us guessing, you could download the new browser using this link and enjoy!

Comments

  1. vijay :

    Very good review, 2 more points from my side.
    1. Google architected this browser in such a way that it can be used as an application container. May be in future desktop application can be executed through this browser with minor/major changes.
    2. Address bar will serve the purpose of search bar as well

    vijay’s last blog post…Review Mahindra Renault logan – Petrol

  2. @Vijay, very good points… the second point was already mentioned by me, but the first one is a very relevant one.

    Also, I wanted to write something more about the cool javascript/debug windows as well.

    Cheers,
    Ajith

  3. Nagraj :

    Hi Ajith ,

    Nice reveiw………..even i started using this browser now ……….as i was able to transfer all my firefox data to chrome………….so it was convenient to use immediately……it seems good so far……….fast and never crashed so far……….the new firefox does crash often for me…………

  4. How to crash Chrome? The first major bug is already out on the web.

    Just type in :% (colon and percentage without any spaces) in the address bar and the Google Chrome browser crashes!

  5. Hi Ajith,

    Based on your review, Google Chrome sounds like a great browser. I’m going to check it out. Thanks!

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post…Open Mic – The Need For Speed

  6. I have been writing about Google Chrome as well. I have compiled a list of shortcuts on my blog.

    Syed Balkhi’s last blog post…5 Must Have Features in the Blog Sidebar

  7. @Barbara, yes it’s great browser, sadly available only for the Windows platform. Surprisingly, they don’t support even Mac (though Safari – the codebase came from there – was originally from Mac)

    @Syed, great… hope this browser takes off as expected.

    – Ajith

  8. Hussein :

    I haven’t tried yet this Google Chrome. Is it better than Firefox or Firefox is better?

  9. @Hussein, it’s a decent browser…download time may be a dash slower than other browsers but the app load time, smooth rendering, space utilization etc are great

  10. moserw :

    Absolutely rocks in every way. Google has once again proven that it has what is needed to deliver great products.

  11. Welcome back Rajiv. Yes, they have been quick learners – the new browser has taken all good features from other browsers plus they have fixed a few technical issues.

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