Google Chrome : First Impression
As you may already know, Chrome is the new browser from Google. Windows version was released to the world on Tuesday Sept 2nd, 2008 US Time. Quite possibly because Sept 1st was Labour Day Holiday in US. In India, especially in Maharashtra, we have a major festival called Ganeshotsav on Wednesday, so I was busy with the celebrations. I did not get to this new Shiny tool till Thursday India time morning. Here are my first impressions (within few minutes after using the browser)
Download and Install
First impression was about the download itself. It was similar to other Google tools (I haven’t installed any Google tool since Gears) where user is not allowed to decide where on their hard drive does the tool gets installed. I do not like this. I would like to be in control of how my Hard disk space is used, and for what purpose. Some discussion and opinions about why Google did not allow me to choose here.
But this would mean, I need to install it separately for each user on same machine, as well as on each of my machines. Bandwidth is precious for me (at least in India) and I do not like the idea to download same software for my both the machines. Generally, I download the free software on one machine, and install on other machine if I like it.
The Browser Experience
In last few minutes I used this, I liked what I see. What Google considers Beta Quality is mostly better (in terms of stability at least) that released version of software from certain company in North West part of US :)
It used system wide proxy setting. It brings up Internet Properties Control Panel applet on Windows XP (SP2), when clicked on its Change Proxy settings button. Good. First few versions of Safari for Windows had problem working with proxy. So this was almost the first thing I checked.
In terms of Speed, it feels faster compared to other browsers. Specifically, my blog came up faster compared to Firefox 3. But then Firefox has several plugins, which may be adding to the delay.
The looks are bit different compared to traditional Windows application. There is no menu bar. The minimize/restore and close buttons on XP are similar to Vista style buttons, rather than native XP theme (I use Windows classic) The window begins at the top with tabs, and there is a “+” signed button to create a new tab. Standard keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+T for creating new tab, also work.
There are two icon buttons to the extreme right. One with Note like icon has menu options for the tabs/web pages. Other is familiar spanner icon for settings.
What is cool ?
Definitely the Task Manager :) I had never imagined an application having its own Task Manager. It shows CPU, Memory and network usage. You can end the process that may be hogging the memory or CPU from this Task Manager. Very cool indeed.
You can invoke the Task Manager using Shift+Esc, in case menu items aren’t responding.
What is missing ?
Firefox is obviously more mature product compared to Chrome. Chrome doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of plugins or extensions yet, but then it is out only for couple of days. Considering Google has released this as open source, it wouldn’t be long before we see the plugins.
Without talking about specific firefox extensions, what I noticed lacking in Chrome when writing this blog entry, was inbuilt spell checker. Indispensable tool for the blogger :)
Overall, I’m very happy with the browser, and intend to use it as my primary browser for next few days, or weeks, or till I feel the need to go back to Firefox 3 :)
- The Spell Check seems to be working in Gmail, but it doesn’t work in WordPress blog editor window :(
- Concern about every user on a single machine or same user on multiple machines having to download the chrome installer all over again, has been addressed by the offline installer found here.