Google Chrome – The next major browser?

posted by on 9th September 2008, at 11:35pm

If you’ve been following my writings, you would have seen my Browser Review earlier this year.  However, we may have a new competitor that wasn’t even anticipated at the time of writing.  Google’s new open-source browser, Chrome.  

Chrome wasn’t announced till a few days before its release, actually through an ‘accidental’ click that sent a comic to people early, explaining their reasoning behind their creating a new browser.  After hearing about this, I for one, was quite eager to test Google’s promising new browser, and headed straight to the download site.  Unfortunately it wasn’t released till the next day, but I got it as soon as possible.  

A typical Chrome window

A typical Chrome window

If you’re not using Chrome now, here are a few tidbits you will be interested in.

–  Chrome is based on several of the leading open-source browsers currently available – Mozilla Firefox, Webkit (the engine behind many OS X applications, such as Safari).  Being open source, Google does release their source code, available to anyone willing to tinker around. 

The About Chrome window

The About Chrome window


–  It’s free.  What can you argue with something that is free, especially if it works well?

–  It’s from Google.  You know, that huge company that makes some of the simplest and easy to use web based software available?  

The immediate noticeable improvement when compared to other browsers is the blazing performance of JavaScript, in many tests it has trumped IE and Firefox’s own performances many times over.  In addition to faster JavaScript, one of my favorite features is that each tab has its own separate process, enabling one tab to crash without having any adverse effects on the rest of the browser.   Even the tabs have become somewhat intelligent, in that when you have many tabs open and you decide to close one, they do not resize past your mouse.  This enables you to close tabs faster, and without many miss-clicks.  

One particularly interesting feature, something especially so if you really hate to use the downloadable client off of the RuneScape homepage, is the ability to create psudo-applications off of websites.  This is used namely for Google’s applications, or any other online application, but can be useful if you have no need for an actual browser while you are doing a certain task (such as using the RuneScape applet).  The option to ‘Create Application Shortcut’ is another great feature, and if you’ve got no other reason to have the browser, but you use some online application quite a bit, this is the reason to download Chrome.

The last interesting feature that I’ll mention is the wonderful Task Manger built in to Chrome.  It isn’t the typical Windows Task Manager, but it serves the same purpose.  It shows the amount of RAM each tab is consuming, as well as a neat little function for us nerds.  The ‘Stats for Nerds’ will show you not only what Chrome is using, but what any other browser running is using as well.  This is great for little comparisons between browsers, trying to see which can have the smallest footprint, while still providing the major necessities.

With all of the great features, there must be a down side, right?  Of course there are some downsides to Chrome, several of which will keep many people from even attempting to switch for a while.  First off, Chrome currently doesn’t support add-ons, so none of those great features you added to your old browsers will be useable while on Chrome.  Google does promise add-on support later in the development cycle, after all they are still in Beta.  Another feature that I personally miss is the ability to center-click on the Home button.  Considering that would just bring me to my homepage, Google, I suppose control + t (opening a new tab) and using the Omnibar will suffice.

So will Google Chrome become a major competitor in the Browser Wars?  I’d like to think so.  Google does supply more than 70% of Mozilla’s funding, so it could be conceived that Google could stop funding Firefox.  This probably won’t occur, especially since Firefox has nearly a 20% market share, and switching to Chrome isn’t really a conceivable option for most users.  If nothing else, Chrome will help change other browsers to implement several of the features previously mentioned.  I can’t imagine Google ever giving up with Chrome, so expect to see Chrome as a competitor in future Browser Wars.

Oh, on the topic of Google’s design choice for the logo of Chrome, take a short look at the link below
Chrome Pokeball?

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  • Jamie Aka Doombionics Says:
    10th September 2008, at 2:27pm

    🙂 nice, i downloaded it a few days ago, but i like my favorites tab on firefox, i don’t think i could live without that now, once i figure out how to do it on chrome, I’ll switch over 🙂

  • Pfkninenines Says:
    10th September 2008, at 2:32pm

    I forgot to mention the importation process…Quite easy really. Everything, including my old passwords, are in Chrome.

    Your bookmarks get moved to ‘Other Bookmarks’ if you don’t have them in your bookmark toolbar. Not too bad, just have to remember to go to the right.

  • Zerkammy Says:
    10th September 2008, at 3:08pm

    just got it and I love it! It is sooo much better then Firefox!

  • Pfkninenines Says:
    12th September 2008, at 8:24pm

    I wouldn’t say it’s better than Firefox just yet, but I’d like to think there will be a day it could compete. Think I’m going to stick with the beta of Firefox for now, though I’d LOVE to see Chrome improve. Heck, since it’s open source, I’d REALLY love to see Firefox improve just the same.

  • Addiv Says:
    14th September 2008, at 10:29pm

    I’m glad that Chrome has upped the ante by vastly improving JavaScript performance. Client-side programming is a huge bottleneck in a lot of applications I work on. Maybe this will shame other browsers into increasing in the area as well.