Monthly Archives: September 2008

Google Chrome: First Impressions

I’ve just downloaded Google Chrome, Google’s latest free-and-beta offering – a fast, lean and mean browser. And here are some of my first impressions:

  • It’s positively a small download.
  • Borrows a lot of concepts from other browsers, most noticably, Opera:
    • The URL bar auto suggests existing sites, sites you’ve already visited by explicitly typing in the URL, and options to search using Google or any other search engine you prefer
    • A recently closed tabs box to reopen tabs closed recently
    • Ability to retain sessions across Chrome / Computer restarts, and auto open with last session (tabs etc. are retained)
  • An incognito mode that allows you to surf the web without leaving any traces whatsoever (provided the window is closed)
  • No browser title bar, more screen real-estate
  • It’s really fast, and they kid you not. And believe me when I say this – I’m an Opera fanatic and Opera is / was the fastest yet. This is in concern with the page rendering speed.
  • The internal task manager and separate process for each tab, with the ability to kill each tab separately does wonders to stability and reliability. Awesome work Google. And I thought that I’d need to sign in to my services explicitly – like GMail and Orkut, but apparently signing in at one place seems to work for both – maybe they share cookies
  • Javascript optimizations – I need to see this in action, as of now I’m seeing minor improvements in GMail, but can’t say for sure
  • It’s a lot more fluid than any other browser I’ve seen so far
  • Importing works, but only just. Opera isn’t supported, and a friend reported a crash when importing from Mozilla
  • Stats for Nerds is interesting for those who want to explore
  • I’m missing a complete status bar already – I need my data of how much is downloaded, how much is left
  • Pre-fetching may be a PITA for some users, works decent on broadband
  • Moving tabs around and into their independent windows is uber-kewl. Getting them back is even kewler!
  • Downloads: Mixed first impressions. I like the concept of simplified downloads, but I need download history. And dragging and dropping the download to a folder of my choice (such as the Desktop) means it is going to copy the whole file from the default folder where it downloaded it to my selected folder. I’d want this to happen when I start the download and not when it’s done. There’s an option to do this, but it’s not turned-on by default. Personal quirk.
  • For once, opening windows in new window (such as in Google Searches) works as expected, by opening a new tab and not a new window. New windows are old school – pre-IE7. Now that even IE supports tabs, high time “Open in New Window” opens in a new tab.
  • I’m sort-of skeptical about long-term usage of the browser – memory leaks and other things – Opera has reasonably mastered that, and works great for days altogether. Am yet to test this with the Chrome, will post a comment later.
  • Chrome is confused with my tablet strokes. Flicking to go back makes it go to the first page, instead of the immediately previous page for some reason.
  • Mouse gestures are missing, but they wanted it to be minimalistic
  • Security features are interesting – auto updated real-time lists, highlighting the domain name are good additions for the dumb user. I’m a bit concerned about how they do it though – they use their page ranks and frequently visited pages database to target this info, so some privacy concerns are looking back at me.
  • I’m yet to explore the Cache management, Cookie management and support for other plug-ins. Out-of-the-box Flash and Java seem to be working fine.
  • This passes Acid2. 🙂

Overall an excellent product – something we’ve come to expect from Google these days. More details to follow later.

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