Updated: Chrome - first impressions

First impressions are that its very fast – various tests have been released showing that Chrome is slower than Firefox or faster than Firefox and Internet Explorer, but benchmarks can be used to prove anything, and on a totally unscientific basis, Chrome is definitely fast

Tags: BrowserGoogle ChromeGoogle Incorporated
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By  Mark Sutton Published  September 3, 2008

First impressions are that its very fast – various tests have been released showing that Chrome is slower than Firefox or faster than Firefox and Internet Explorer, but benchmarks can be used to prove anything, and on a totally unscientific basis, Chrome is definitely fast.

Its also a lot more stable than other browsers. I’ve had quite a lot of issues with Firefox 3 across several different systems, and really, instability in a browser is a big no-no. Its not so much that what I am working on is ‘mission critical’ but when you’ve got a half dozen tabs open doing various different things, and the browser crashes – well – Firefox can restore the whole session quite quickly, but I’d rather it didn’t go down in the first place. So far so good with Chrome, which is nice.

The interface is almost a bit too sparse – I found myself looking for a menu for things like history that you know are there in firefox or IE, but instead, there’s just five or so icons – browsing history is there, but you have to hold down on one of the other buttons. Shortcuts make a lot of operations faster, but I do think that Google will likely add more buttons as they develop Chrome.

Colour coded autocomplete suggestions for web pages is very useful. Chrome’s nav bar mixes up so many different bits of information that I thought it might get confusing, but colour coding helps to find what you are looking from the history of pages and websites that pop up.

I did miss things like autocomplete for forms – the fairly sparse help documentation didn’t show any reference to this at all, so I’m guessing its not there. While Chrome will remember passwords, I still find there’s a lot of other info that I’d like the browser to remember for me, and let me worry about the security of form autocomplete.

The bookmarking shortcut is basically the sames as Firefox’s little star in the nav bar, that just has to be checked to bookmark the current page.  Bookmark management is a lot cleaner than Firefox though – I still can’t work out Firefox 3’s bookmark menu system, and seem to keep losing bookmarks because of it.

There have been to critical security vulnerabilities reported so far with Chrome, although Google has already released a patch for these.
So far, I’ve stuck with Firefox for some of the functions that Chrome doesn’t have – fast is better, but my memory doesn’t need anything more to remember than absolutely necessary.

And as to Google’s grand plans for Chrome? I’ll leave that to wiser commentators than me – but needless to say, its about the cloud, stupid.

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The download site for Google Chrome has gone live - you can find it here - http://www.google.com/chrome.

Worth noting first of all though, after merrily skipping through the terms and conditions without reading them, I then read this article on CNET... It looks like Google wants rights to use anything the user might post up through Chrome. That doesn't sound very good, given that part of the rational for Chrome is that you can do more things directly through the browser. Is Google really trying to get its hands on pics, video clips, docs, blog posts, etc?

Oh well - the browser certainly looks fast and shiny, I'll worry about copyright later.

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