Friday, October 10, 2008

Google Chrome, Looking Good

It seems almost everybody is taking a strong liking into Google Chrome these days and almost everybody who has downloaded it seems to be appreciating it a lot. So I myself thought of giving Google Chrome a trial run. 

However I have to say that my first impression on Google Chrome was not a very good one mainly due to the fact that it’s only available for the Windows platform at the moment. I’m an open source fan and that makes me naturally dislike anything that won’t run on Linux out of the box. However I think I can forgive Google for that. I believe they just wanted to keep the things simple by focusing on one target platform since this is only a beta release. Also they probably wanted to get the maximum possible test coverage out of this release. In that case Windows is the only logical solution since whether we like it or not Windows still dominates the client side system software market. (and it will probably remain that way for a long time :-( )

Other than the above mentioned glitch my experience with Google Chrome has been a fairly good one. It’s easy to install and configure. I really like the wording and labeling convention used in Chrome. It’s simple and casual English that anybody can understand. Not a single technical word is used so that even someone who is browsing the Internet for the first time can easily get used to Google Chrome. Even the buttons that are usually rendered as ‘browse’ buttons in other browsers will be rendered as ‘choose file’ buttons. 

The user interfaces are pretty cool too. Chrome UI designers have clearly dumped the approaches taken by IE developers and Firefox developers to come up with their own style. It has no menu bars and no tool bars. All it has is the address bar with few more additional controls embedded into it. The address bar can be used to type in both URLs and search queries. One advantage of this organization is that it makes the browser’s main Window large so that the user can see more content without having to scroll much. But the problem is for someone who is so used to IE or Firefox, figuring out how to control the browser is going to be a bit of a pain.

In my opinion it has slightly better performance compared to Firefox-3 and IE-7. (well at least I feel that way) I have experienced frequent browser crashes with both IE-7 and Firefox-3. But I’m yet to experience that in Chrome. 

Perhaps the most enticing feature of Chrome is that every time a new tab is opened a new process is forked off by the browser. This way each tab gets its own set of resources. This will hopefully rectify most of the memory related issues experienced by other browsers. If you are a regular Firefox user you know that as we continue to open new tabs in Firefox the overall performance of the browser degrades significantly. This is because all the tabs have to share the same set of resource (memory in particular). By dedicating a separate process for each tab Google Chrome effectively deals with this issue.

I will continue to test Google Chrome in the days to come. I just started with Chrome and I will be in a better position to give a comprehensive feedback after another couple of weeks. Until then ‘good job Google’!

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