Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 2, 2008
Talk about the speed of hype. Yesterday I was just sitting here at the computer, following Twitter traffic, when I see this little flash about Google having a new browser coming out called Chrome. Then there was talk about when they’d release it, and many were speculating that, since they’d just signed an extension of an agreement with Mozilla to continue with Firefox for another three years, that the earliest it would be coming out would be a year. And there was a link to a cartoon talking about it all.
Within an hour, though, things drastically changed, and the talk was that it would be released today. There was a link to Matt Cutts of Google talking about it, and, lo and behold, it was released today. I’ve not read anyone else’s reviews yet, though, based on the Twitter traffic, it seems to be more against than for.
I’m not about to change that. The download for Google Chrome was something in and of itself. I can’t remember the last time I saw a download have an EULA (end user licensing agreement) beforehand; not sure I’ve actually ever seen one. Then the download seemed to take some time before finally coming to the computer; maybe there’s lots of people trying to download it to give it a shot.
Next, time to load it onto the computer. This also took awhile, much longer than Mozilla ever has, and at least Firefox waited until it had loaded and one was trying to launch it before it started asking for extra internet access. Chrome asked for it a few times; that was different. But it finally loaded and actually started on its own, trying to move over all bookmarks from my Firefox browser, but couldn’t because I had Firefox open; that’s okay, though. I knew I was just in test mode, unless it absolutely wowed me.
It took a long time to load anything; I was kind of stunned by that. I’m not sure what was going on, but it said it was having problems with Shockwave Flash; according to the cartoon, that problem was supposed to be easily solved. When things finally did come up I tried a few websites, including CNN, and it was horrible. A couple of sites it couldn’t even load, which were a couple of mine. Then, of all things, it crashed; weirder still.
Since it created a quick launch icon, I opened it up again, and this time it went much faster, so I could take a good look at it. The look is somewhat different than what I’m used to. It offers way more visible screen, but that’s because it starts off with no toolbars. Well, that’s not quite accurate. It does have the address bar, which doubles as the toolbar, but I couldn’t find any options to add any more toolbars except a bookmarks bar. If you want to save a page, you can click on the star in the address bar, though Ctrl-D also works. The browser is also almost pure white reminiscent of the Google homepage; I guess that’s to be expected, but I was hoping it would adopt the colors I use for the rest of my Windows programs.
It has tabs just like Firefox, and if you open new tabs you’ll see screenshots of past pages you’ve visited, which is interesting. The reload had it running much faster than the first time around, which is a good thing, but not faster than Firefox. It does another interesting thing with the addresses. If you look at pages within a site, you’ll see the domain name in black, but the address of the extra pages in red; another nice little feature that looks good.
Still, when all is said and done, what one misses, at least for now, are the little add-ons that Firefox has that Chrome doesn’t have. Cutts said it was going to take time, because they first want to make browsers that are compatible with both Mac and Linux before going back to add extra functionality. Chrome is very clean, and it’s not bad, but, in my opinion, it’s not better than Firefox and therefore just okay. It’s not bad; I’ve seen some worse browsers to be sure.
So, just like Firefox 3, I’ll be waiting for more before I decide whether to switch or not. But it’s not a bad first effort.