My Impressions of the New Google Chrome Browser

Written by Mark Sanborn: Sep 3, 2008

Google Chrome is the new browser that was just relased by Google in an attempt to capture the browser market to give them a significant advantage to their search/advertising business. With Chrome Google will be able to track what actions the browser takes to further narrow down pagerank of sites.

Google Chrome uses Webkit as its rendering engine. WebKit is also the name of the Mac OS X system framework version of the engine that’s used by Safari, Dashboard, Mail, and many other OS X applications.

The install file is a download file which I really didn’t care for. What if I want to redistribute to multiple computers? I believe this is probably used on release day to minimize bandwidth usage and will change later.

The first thing I noticed was that the browser was going to import my contacts from Internet explorer so I selected, ‘Customize Settings’ to change that. I was a little disappointed that Opera wasn’t in the list of browsers to import from, but no biggie. The really cool thing I saw was that the browser DIDN’T try to make itself the default browser on install. It was actually unchecked by default. Which I thought was very classy since many apps try to force their settings on you.

Things I liked

  • The first thing it asks you is which search engine you want to use. Although I prefer Google Search over all the others I am glad it at least asked. Microsoft products NEVER ask.
  • Incognito mode (Ctrl+Shift+n)
  • Seperating each tab and process into its own sandbox
  • The UI is appealing yet very simple
  • The status bar is dynamic, meaning it only shows up when you need to see information.
  • marksanborn.net loaded properly in it

Things I didn’t like

  • Like most browsers, they took ideas from Opera (Speed Dial feature, and history search in address bar) and didn’t give them any credit or even give the option to import bookmarks from Opera.
  • No plugins/extensions. I am sure these will come soon however.
  • It used a lot more memory than Opera
  • Hardly any options to customize the browser
  • No built-in content blocking
  • It isn’t supported in Linux yet

Read the Google Chrome Story Book for more information on the technology side of it.

Conclusion

It’s too early before I can make my conclusion on this browser. I think it has some really innovative features and the UI is great but I think it needs more options and customization which I am sure will follow shortly. I look forward to see what Google does with this. What do you think?

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