As first impressions go, most people seem to be satisfied with Google Chrome, the browser launched by the search giant only last week, which they claim now accounts for 3-6% of browser market share.
The first thing that strikes users about chrome is its speed. The browser installation is really quick. It opens up faster than Firefox, and pages certainly load faster than Internet Explorer. The interface is quite clean, without too many icons, menus, or toolbars that clutter up the page. However, there is also a disadvantage to it as some everyday tasks take longer in the absence of toolbars.
Most surprisingly, the browser does not even take up space for branding. During normal operation, there is absolutely no indication that Chrome is a browser made by Google, except on the start-up screen alongside the most visited websites and when the browser window is restored.
The regular address bar, however, has been very smartly hijacked by Google and turned into an “Omnibar”, which now also works as a search box with in-built search and URL suggestion.
It is possible to move tabs from the main window to separate windows, and then back to the main window – a feature that has limited use, but looks cool nevertheless.
Chrome also has a multi-threaded setting, as opposed to the single-threaded setting on other browsers, which means that it is at least crash resistant, if not crash proof. In theory, this means that when a webpage opened in one tab freezes, it is not necessary to close the browser or PC or press CTRL+Alt+Del. Instead, with Chrome, one can just shut the affected tab, and the system then continues working as before. This does not work as well in reality, though, and once a user starts multi-threading with more than 3 or 4 open tabs, the browser seems to be much more prone to crashing than Firefox is.
Another nice feature for everyone who enjoys a bit of Internet porn is Chrome’s ‘Incognito’ mode. When the browser is set to incognito, users stop leaving a trace in the search and browser history, so that their online activity remains private during that session.
While most regular browser features are present, the option to ‘send this page’ is missing, form history does not seem to work or is missing and RSS feeds are not automatically imported or supported. There are no plug-ins either.These could be just teething troubles, which are bound to occur during the initial stages, and can be easily taken care of.
After all has been said and done, Google seem to have come up with a winner, especially when one thinks about the possible damage this could do to Microsoft if Chrome became the defacto browser of choice for all users, instead of Internet Explorer.