Google Chrome Revisited

In September 2008, I wrote a review on this blog concerning Google Chrome. It wasn’t the most positive review, but it was brand new and I said I’d check it out again at some point. That point is now.

First, let me tell you why I’m doing it. I’m a Firefox guy, but as you may remember, I wrote in August about some of the problems I’d been having with it. The sucker was constantly freezing up on my computer and I couldn’t shut it down via the Task Manager, so I’d have to reboot to use it. Also, this problem started with CommentLuv in the past month where I’m visiting blogs and having to refresh a few times to leave a comment so the program will pull up any of my posts. My hope and test was that Chrome would alleviate those issues.

Installation is still goofier than anything else I’ve seen. You still get this super long EULA before you can download it, and I decided to read the entire thing to see if there were any traps in it. If there were I missed it, but I made sure not to allow it to add anything else to it when I downloaded the loaded it up.

It says it installs fast; trust me, Firefox loads at least 10 times faster. And when the browser finally showed up I have to admit that it looked a lot more like Opera than what I was expecting. There were two tabs at the top, with a plus sign where I could add more tabs, and a menu bar; that’s pretty much it. I pulled up the Help link so I could figure out how to use a few more things, such as wondering where toolbars were. Seems they don’t use toolbars because they say it slows things down; I’d never heard that before, but I did some reading and they’re not the only ones saying it, so I’ll leave that for now.

To set things up, everything starts by clicking on this little wrench at the top right. I did change a few settings, nothing overly brash, but one thing I set that didn’t seem to change anything was making the default fonts bigger. When I closed and reopened the browser, that setting didn’t take hold, so I found myself having to enlarge every page I went to later on.

I’ll say this; pages do load pretty fast. I turned off pre-fetching, which can slow things down, and I’m sure that helped. I also changed the theme, which is under one of the default tabs when the browser opens for the first time, so that was pretty cool. I learned how to import bookmarks from Firefox, and one of those was my bookmarks toolbar, so that’s one toolbar I got back, and all the other bookmarks are aligned under this button to the far right that says “other bookmarks”; that makes sense.

As for plugins or extensions, there seems to be a lot of them but not the one I’m looking to use, unfortunately. I like being able to see PR or Alexa rank when I visit new sites, and the closest I could find that works with Chrome was SEO Quake, and I don’t like running that all the time. But that’s a personal preference thing; I’m sure you could find something to use.

The important stuff now. I can’t tell you if the browser will lock up and shut down like Firefox had been doing, but I have to admit that Firefox hasn’t messed up in this way for me in the last month or so. There’s no way to test for that, I’m afraid, except to leave it open for a month or so; that’s probably not going to happen. I did check resources and it’s using about 2/3rds less than what Firefox consumes, so that’s a benefit.

But when it came to CommentLuv, it seems I have the same problems with what’s going on with them on Chrome as I have on Firefox. So, at least this tells me it’s not a browser issue; heck!

So, once again, I don’t think it’s bad, but it doesn’t fix the main issues I have with Firefox and thus don’t warrant my changing just yet. But it will be another browser I’ll use to look at new webpages as I create them.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home






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Google Chrome Is,… Okay

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.

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