First Look: Google Chrome
- By Will Kraft
- October 28, 2008
I've used quite a few of Google's other products (Gmail, Google Earth/Maps,
Docs, etc.) so I was more than ready to try its browser, Google
Several seconds after navigating to the Chrome Web site, I had the browser
package downloaded (the file weighs in at a light 475KB, which is rather impressive
these days). After an easy installation, Chrome automatically imported my Firefox
bookmarks, which was a nice touch.
At first glance, Chrome has the makings of a nice, lightweight browser comparable
to Konqueror or Safari. My average memory footprint was about 28MB on Windows
XP, which was considerably lighter than Firefox.
In terms of its looks, Chrome loosely resembles Vista's Aero. From a usability
standpoint, Chrome is fairly elegant; it has a minimalist interface with the
back, forward and refresh buttons displayed prominently. Like practically all
modern browsers, Chrome features tabbed browsing.
Because Chrome is still in beta, I was expecting to see some areas that needed
improvement -- and I did. The default start page has a nice feature that displays
thumbnails of your most frequently viewed Web sites (though it takes awhile
for this list to populate), but aside from that, it's strangely bare. Since
the people who are most likely using Chrome probably use other Google tools,
I was expecting to see tie-ins for Gmail or Docs. I also missed Firefox's extension
I also noticed that there was no way to subscribe to an RSS feed in Chrome.
Chrome's configuration interface looked a little bit sparse and didn't have
as many options and features as other browsers. Furthermore, I had to test chrome
in a virtualized XP environment, since there is no native Linux version of Chrome
at this time.
On the other hand, Chrome did better than Firefox on the Acid 3 test, scoring
an impressive 79 out of 100 over Firefox's 69 (although the Linktest failed).
Like Safari, Chrome uses the Webkit rendering engine. Chrome also routinely
downloads a blacklist and whitelist meant to protect users from phishing sites.
Chrome has the makings of a good browser, but still lacks a few important features.
Google's beta-quality software is usually very good (Gmail is fully usable despite
having been in beta for years now) so you may want to consider Chrome if you
need something fast and lightweight.