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For beginnings, I do not like the name, but I definitely like the performance.

Chrome is the latest trick pulled from Google’s hat. It is their web browser introduced last month as beta for Windows users, Vista and XP.

I finally gave it a full testdrive today and thought I would share my experience.

Like everything else Google does, the interface is extremely simple, yet extremely elegenet and classy. I am honestly so impressed for a reason I cannot describe. Google decided to ditch the menu bar and the status bar for good. Title bar is gone too and replaced by Tabs which makes this browser literally “tab based”.

First thing you will notice about Chrome is how fast it is. Either functioning or browsing this thing is faster than anything else I tried. I currently run IE7 and FF3 on my machine, and I feel that Chrome is a nice confusion of btoh. Page rendering quality reminds me of Safari’s super smooth finish, it really makes everything look nice.

As for the features, like you would expect from Google, the main strength of the browser lies in its search technology: “Omnibox”. There is no small search bar beside the address bar anymore. The folk behind Chrome decided it might be a better idea if both bars are combined so you get to use Omnibox to enter URLs, search the default search engine of your choice, search your local bookmarks and history, or even search the current site your are browsing.

As you start typing, google starts suggesting results from all of these. One cool functionality I like is the command based search. You can type something like: Yahoo mazenville. and one of the suggestions would be “Search Yahoo! for Mazenville”. So you would not need to browse to Yahoo! then type in your search string, or even change your default browser to be Yahoo. Sites recognized by Google already work with this syntax plus any other sites you would like to add to it.

Really cool stuff.

Besides search, my second favorite feature is the “incognito mode”. You can basically open a new Chrome window in “incognito mode” so any search or browsing you do won’t be archived or added to your history. A simple Ctrl + Shift + N does the trick :)

My third favorite feature is the homepage. You can either set a default homepage for your browser, or you can use Chrome’s homepage. The page shows you thumbnails of the pages you most visited (reminds me a lot of Pagebull), plus bookmarks on the lower right, and above them search bar to look up stuff within your history.

From this window, you can drag and drop bookmarks below the Omnibox to build up a bookmarks bar.

Finally, Chrome comes equipped with developer tools, namely a JS debugger, a JS console, and a cool Task Manager which shows you the functions running in the browser and how much resources each consume on your machine. You can kill processes or expand into a full “Stats for Nerds” view. A treat for myself I believe :D

The other usual features include a pop-up blocker (Google Gears) and a phishing filter.

I browsed hell loads of many sites to test compatibility, I was really pleased with the result. I did not really face any issues with sites full of Ajax and Javascript. I got minor issues here and there but nothing fatal. The only thing that did not work properly is the Zimbra web client (Yes we ditched Exchange and using Zimbra at work).

It is worth mentioning that I run a WIndows XP SP3 machine (yes SP3, not a typo). I heard Chrome is behaving differently on different machines.

For a new beta browser, I really am impressed. Not sure if this will replace IE for me though, Firefox could not, I can only tell you once Chrome is fully released – this might take sometime knowing how long Google like to extend their beta products.

Download it for free here.

Happy Chroming!

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2 Comments to “Chrome – Google’s latest trick”

  1. Imthiaz Says:

    I tested it on windows and I really loved the interface and its speed. Safari and Chrome uses the same rendering engine web kit. The JavaScript engine and the tab isolated managements is the special highlight of the browser. Waiting for it to be released on Mac.

  2. Governor Says:

    The usual concern with google remains:
    How much data will this browser capture.

    Pretty scary.

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