Google Chrome first impressions: Fast, clean & not evil

Downloaded it a few minutes ago and gave it a test run. Noticed a few minor rendering glitches here and there on some sites, probably due to non-standard coding — but most sites looked perfect. It’s a basic browser with only core functionality, which I guess focuses on what needs to be done best: Browsing. Some will find the lack of features an issue. Others will like the clean, minimalist look geared for fast browsing and a quick start-up.

What I like about it

1. It’s not evil: Upon start up, Google actually asks you if you want Google to be the default search engine or not, and offers you a chance to choose a rival. Nor does it try and muscle in on being the default browser on start up and shutdown (you set this in the options menu). Wow this must confuse the walled gardens…

2. Great UI: It’s fast, minimalist and clean. Google’s browser is rightly about what’s in the viewing pane, and the viewing area is maximised, with ultra-thin browser borders and browser buttons taking up a small part of the viewing area.

3. It loads up quickly, like Firefox. It’s something Internet Explorer never quite cracked.

4. It seamlessly and quickly imported my bookmarks and passwords from Firefox.

5. You can open a window in “incognito” mode, just a right click. Very simple. That should make Henk Kleynhans of Skyrove happy.

6. For the developers: A quick right click on any area of the page and selecting “inspect element” allows you to see the code behind it. (Happens a bit easier and quicker than Firefox).

7. On startup you can set it to open multiple homepages. That, I like.

8. Choose a new tab and you get option to select from your most visited sites. Saving me time already. Why didn’t the others think of that?

9. Task manager pretty cool for the multiple window & tab freaks.

10. To search, you just type your search term in the address bar. Nice and simple.

11. The important part of the url in the address bar is highlighted, the gunk low-lighted.

12. The ability to easily create application shortcuts on your desktop and toolbar to web services, like email, is a nice feature. Your online application then opens in a dedicated window without browser buttons and other functionality, much like an app would do. Broadly speaking, it is further evidence of the shift whereby the web is becoming a platform. In the future, the web will be your OS. Offline desktops will belong to the early web era (ie. now).

13. I love the 3D, industrial Chrome icon and logo.

What I dislike about it

1. No add-ons and extensions. Going to miss them… Google Chrome’s help does hint that it may be a temporary situation, but why launch without this key component? It’s one of the key things that has made Firefox what it is.

2. Where’s Google’s own toolbar? Some useful stuff there.

3. Lack of RSS feed integration could be a deal-breaker for some (I suppose Google will say: use Reader). (Thanks Duncan Mcleod).

4. What about the Mac-ionistas? An important early-adopter constituency, surely?

Read more about what Google has to say about Chrome on the official Google Blog

Comments (8)

  1. kpeguero wrote::

    So far nothing new.

    No. 8 is also present in FF.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 9:38 pm #
  2. JT wrote::

    For what I don’t like, the status bar is a bit clunky. But that’s nothing compared to the whole browser, this is great.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 9:48 pm #
  3. Bill wrote::

    Just wanted to let you know that you can easily set multiple homepages in firefox as well.. just use a | in between each url.

    Like this:||

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 10:01 pm #
  4. Mandy de Waal wrote::

    “It’s not evil”

    Damn. That made me chuckle.

    But it’s early days yet – be interesting to see what MS does with IE 8 and whether the ability block ads will be a big enough reason for users to trade speed for control.

    Google’s open source platform (I believe) will be a big advantage in the long run though. From a strategy perspective I think MS will be left flailing.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 10:12 pm #
  5. Rupert wrote::

    Just benchmarked Chrome against the other big guns. Fastest on the block. Not bad for a beta…

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 10:13 pm #
  6. Steve Webb wrote::

    When you download something, then close the download ‘bar’ at the bottom of the screen, the full browser pane doesn’t re-paint unless I maximized and restored the screen size. Just a tiny glitch, but makes it feel a little beta-y.

    – Steve

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 10:15 pm #
  7. matt wrote::

    @kpeguero & @Bill tks 4 yr comment — i wasnt comparing it to FF, just noting that i like these features and the way Chrome applies them. @everyone a gremlin meant that comments were closed for a while… now open! 😛

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 1:27 pm #
  8. Richard Catto wrote::

    be interesting to see what MS does with IE 8

    I have to admit that there was once a time that I waited and longed for some new software that Microsoft was hyping before its release.

    Those days are long over.

    I think what makes Chrome special are its:

    * speed – scrolling is uber fast
    * sleek lines
    * isolation of each tab in its own process
    * ability to drag tabs into their own window and then put them back together again, in any order
    * ability to place a gmail icon on my desktop, start menu or quick launch which opens up an even sleeker browse window with the address bar stripped out

    Obviously with certain key features missing, Chrome cannot meet all my browsing needs, but it meets most of them and gives me new features that I never had before.

    Also Chrome is proving to be really stable. Firefox 2 became very unstable and crashed very often. Firefox 3 is much better but still has the ability to crash even my Internet connection.

    Opening up a lot of tabs in Chrome uses up more memory than other browsers, for reasons Google explains (each tab is a separate process), but that is not my problem – I have sufficient memory. My problem that they appear to have solved is lack of stability.

    Chrome gets two thumbs up from me, so far.

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 8:28 pm #

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