Google Chrome Internet Web Browser Review

by Mike Holman

Google released their first web browser yesterday called “Chrome”.  This web browser has some new advancements and will perform much faster than IE and Firefox according to their marketing material (in the form of a comic book).  Being the skeptic I am, I thought I would download it and give it a test run.

As I discussed in this post on how I surf, I use the FireFox browser which I estimate is the most popular browser for most PF bloggers and serious surfers. The release of IE7, which included tabs, closed a lot of the gap between IE and Firefox but for most people who already use Firefox, there was no reason to switch to IE. Keep in mind that I’m talking about a select group of surfers – probably 95% of surfers will use either IE6 or IE7 – whichever is installed in their computer.


chrome.jpg
photo by Incase Designs

Downloading and setting up Chrome

A download link for the beta version of Chrome is on the main google page or you can go here for the download.   The download file is the installer and downloads almost immediately.   After clicking on the exe file, it took about about 60 seconds to completely load up the browser.  Total time spent so far is about 2 minutes.

How does it look?

Like the Google homepage, the Chrome browser is fairly clean.  One of the efforts with this browser has been to decrease the clutter at the top of the screen – unfortunately I don’t have pic to show you but since it only takes a minute or two to load the thing – go look for yourself!  🙂  I would estimate that the non-surfing area is about half as large with Chrome compared to my version of Firefox.  Of course your own customizations of Firefox could change this ratio greatly.  The page tabs are right at the top of the screen where there is normally the title bar and there is no separate search box since the address box and search box are one and the same.  It will take a bit of getting used to but it looks pretty good.

Chrome vs. Firefox speed

To test the speed I just did some simple browsing (ie opening a bunch of sites at once) and compared the speeds.  Of course this test isn’t all that valid since it should be run on a clean test machine but since I was testing for my personal use – it’s valid enough for me!

First run – Chrome was incredibly fast. I was quite amazed at how fast it was until I looked at the browser results and I realized that most of the sites in the test folder required a sign in which Chrome couldn’t do yet – obviously this invalidated the first run. I went through the tabs and logged in – most of the tabs had the info in the sign-in screen but I still had to press “ok”.

After that I did some surfing and tried to determine if one browser was significantly faster than the other.  The truth is that I really couldn’t tell the difference – because of the poor testing conditions and numerous variables which I couldn’t control, both browsers appeared fast and slow at different times.  Things like slow websites, my own internet connection (which is not all that constant) served to interfere with the tests as well as point out that even if one browser is faster, it might not matter that much for my normal surfing.

Surfing anonymously

One of the neat new features of Chrome is the ability to turn on a “incognito” mode (click on the Control Current Page icon and select Incognito) which means that your browser will not keep any trace of your browsing history.  I can’t imagine why *cough – adult* anyone would possibly *cough – situational* have any motivation *cough – photography* for such a strange thing but I’m sure some enterprising surfers will find a use for it.

Conclusions

I found Chrome to be a pretty good browser, but I don’t know if I will switch from Firefox or not since it doesn’t appear to be all that different other than the looks.  I would imagine that a Firefox user who has a lot of plugins would find it difficult to leave for a new browser and would have to start over.  Personally, I haven’t gotten around to installing any plugins so that is not a factor for me.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mr. Cheap

Mike and Quietrose both mentioned Chrome to me today and I hadn’t heard a thing about it. I must be getting old and out-of-touch with the new technology…

2 Quietrose

Mr. Cheap– Bah! We are here to keep you up to date! 🙂

3 Four Pillars

Cheap – you really must spend more time aimlessly surfing! Then you would know about such things… 🙂

4 Patrick

After my first experience with it, Chrome seemed much faster than FireFox, but I also didn’t have any plugins installed and I wasn’t using anything that would be considered “intense” such as streaming video or music files. I’ll give it a try for a few days and see how it turns out, but until they get some plugin support, it won’t replace FF.

5 Four Pillars

Patrick – that’s a good point about the plugins or lack of plugins.

I would assume that Google will quickly come up with the same popular plugins that FF has. Until that happens there is no reason to switch if you like plugins.

6 guinness416

Between plugins, themes and greasemonkey. I’ll be hard pushed to drop firefox, which I do adore. I have it set up “just so”. Plus I’m not sure google needs to know any more about me than it already does. But I still downloaded Chrome just to say I did.

7 MoneyGrubbingLawyer

Okay, I’ve got a whopping 24 hours of Chrome under my belt now and I think I’ll be making the switch from FireFox.

Speedwise, I’m finding it to be faster than FF3, even with all my stanrdard plugins added in. I’m finding the layout intuitive, and the incognito mode has some usefulness ;).

8 Mrs. Micah

So far I’m liking it. I’m giving it a week (unless it does something crazy). I’ll probably switch back to FF3 for a little while and see how that compares in retrospect. Maybe another week. And then we’ll see what happens.

9 MultifolDream$

I heard good feedback from few friends and I have downloaded it few minutes ago and so far I can say that Google has done a pretty good job.

10 Four Pillars

Thanks for the feedback. I’m still trying it out so I guess I’ll see which browser I end up using more!

11 WhereDoesAllMyMoneyGo.com

Wasn’t there some news about the EULA being crazy? Anything that you browse or write or post through Chrome becomes property of Google without rights on your part. (Including your blog posts).

I think they are removing that and making it effective retroactively to those who *blindly* accepted the end user license agreement – but until they do, I wouldn’t use it. (assuming my info is good)

12 Four Pillars

WDAMMG – Everyone knows that Google will eventually be ‘big brother’. It’s better just to submit to them now! 🙂

13 Mat

The Incognito feature of Chrome is not exactly revolutionary. Firefox has the same feature and has had it from the get-go, its just not as neatly packaged, i.e. in Firefox, by going to Tools->Options, and then the Privacy tab, you can adjust the options to match the Incognito feature. I’ve been doing it for years now.

14 MoneyGrubbingLawyer

WDAMMG – the funky EULA issue has been fixed. Big Brother has been foiled again!

Mat – FF lets you set up restrictive privacy settings, but this then applies to all your browsing. Incognito allows you to have regular cookies and saved forms for regular browsing, but then lets you easily switch to private mode for more prurient pursuits, without having to erase all previous info and alert the wife ;).

15 deepali

So, I know someone who has been involved with this (but not from the tech side). He’s been using it for the past 2 months. He’s obviously biased, but his remarks are that it is definitely faster, and it has some sort of anti-crash protection thing on it.

And the incognito thing, , really, is for more than porn. Some workplaces don’t allow you to surf *any* site that is not work-related….

16 Jonathan

Faster, check.

I’m mostly into the “tab segregation” feature, so that one tab crashing doesn’t affect the oh… 100 other tabs I have open!

17 Four Pillars

Jonathan – I agree, that feature is a good one.

100 tabs is a lot!

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