Google Chrome: First Impressions


So as you may know, Google launched their own browser, Chrome (in Beta form) today. It was relatively quick to download and installation couldn’t have been simpler. The first big difference from other tab-enabled browsers is that the tabs appear at the top of the window, not below the address bar. There’s also no search bar as the address bar and search bar have been combined into what Google call the “omnibar”. If you just start typing keywords in the omnibar it will default to searching using whichever is the default search engine.

From a stability point of view, Google have made each tab a completely separate and isolated process with it’s own thread and memory, which means if something goes wrong in a tab, or it hangs, it doesn’t affect any of the other tabs or the browser. You can also easily drag the tabs away from the browser, as their own separate window, or drag and drop them to change their order. While dragging a tab it appears as a slightly transparent small window with the contents of that page. 

For developers the View Page source shows a colour coded view of the page source as well as offering you an element inspector – right clicking on any element of the page and selecting Insepct Element gives you an overview of the HTML element within the DOM as well as the associated style sheet information. The task manager (press SHIFT+ESC) shows you each tab, CPU time and allocated memory usage. You can also close any tab from there. 

One thing I noticed, which I didn’t like (which Firefox has as well) is that if you allow the browser to save passwords for various websites that they are accessible from the options page and allow you to view them as plaintext – serious security risk in my opinion if anyone accesses your machine while you’re not away (not a problem for me as I instinctivly lock my machine whenever I’m away from my desk).

Okay, I think that’s enough for now – if you want to have a look at a Screenshot Tour of Google’s Chrome browser go and take a look at the following post on Lifehacker’s website.

Want to try it out for yourself, go and download it now (remember it’s still in beta).

[UPDATE]

If you open up a new tab and you’ve visited other websites, like Amazon, and used their search functionality, you’ll notice that you can now search their site directly from the new tab page, without first going to the website, nice! 🙂 

The guys at Lifehacker have done a great job doing a speed and memory comparison between IE 8, Firefox 3 and Chrome – take a look and see the comparisons.

[UPDATE 4 September 2008]

For those of you who have been reading numerous posts about Chrome’s Terms Of Service (ToS) where you give up your right to any content you post and/or view through the Chrome browser: Google have updated Chrome’s ToS in this regard and you retain ownership of anything you post through the Chrome browser and they will not take any content and do with it as they please. (This was an “oversight” on their part as they simply used the ToS from Google Docs.)

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9 Responses to “Google Chrome: First Impressions”

  1. Hey boet! What is this Blog business? You seem to have a lot of time on your hands? I will have to speak to David Jacobs and tell him that you don’t have that much work to do. 😉

    This looks interesting. I will have a play on the weekend.

    Have a good day.

  2. I have work to do, BTW, it’s called research and development 🙂

  3. Now .. now .. children, we must all play nicely. 😛

  4. Odds & Ends …

    A friend in the US did some testing and said Google Chrome uses the rendering engine which is shared by Apple’s Safari and, therefore, it has a Safari look and feel.

    http://tools.google.com/chrome/intl/en/webmasters-faq.html#useragent

  5. despite the rumors, i’m finding Chrome’s speed to be inconsistent; it seems to alternate between going lightning fast and then hanging for no apparent reason…

  6. @koukla: correct, Chrome was built using Webkit, which was also used to build the Safari browser. This means that pages render the same in both browsers but they have a distinctly different look (the actual browser application) from one another 🙂

    @kingdom media: we tried it extensively in the office this morning testing various loads and the only two tabs (processes) I found that were a bit sluggish at times was 1) microsoft.com (surprised?) and 2) stats for nerds page showing all the processes and memory utilization which is expected. Remember also that the product is still only in beta.

    The separation of the tabs by running them in their own thread and utilizing their own memory space works really well. You can (through Windows Task Manager) kill one of the Chrome processes and you’ll see that tab “die” without crashing the rest of the tabs or the browser.

  7. If you like Chrome’s stripped down Web Inspector, you will love the original, full featured version in the WebKit nightlies. Cheers!

  8. […] on in September I told you about Google Chrome being launched and subsequent to that I gave you my first impressions regarding Google’s browser. Today I read on TechCrunch that Google Chrome, after nearly 3 […]

  9. […] Google entering the browser wars with their own web browser, Chrome.  Then next day, I gave you my first impressions. If my job didn’t require me to develop web sites in Internet Explorer and Firefox I’d […]

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