Google Chrome test drive

A couple of days ago I decided to try out Google’s Chrome browser. I had heard the browser was faster which is one of the reasons I wanted to test drive it. The other reason is that I had a lot of my other information already being serverd by Google (google reader, gmail, picasa, G1, etc…) that I might as well try out their browser. It is also kind of scary to think all my information is being managed by one vendor who’s business model is based on data they can mine from their customer base. But that is a concern I can live with when you consider privacy is relative when considering the federal gov’t has even more access to my life than I could imagine. Here are my impressions about the Chrome browser.

Clean Interface

First let me say that I am Firefox user and have not really used IE over the past year except to test displays of Web sites. After opening the Chrome browser I was pleasantly surprised by the clean interface. Google has been known for their very sparse search page but it is hard to imagine bringing that same layout to the browser wars. Gone are the traditional menu items File, Edit, View and History that you see in IE and Firefox. No longer is the there a Title bar with the vendor branding in the top left corner staring you in the face. It does take a little getting used to but after a few minutes of surfing, you start to appreciate the new found real estate.

Chrome and Firefox

Integrated Search

The Google Chrome browser also has an integrated search which displays results as you type text into the URL field. As you see in the image to the right, as I typed the word ‘banana’ the results continued to update after each letter of the word. If I was looking for the Banana Repulic Web site, I can now just click the URL. The search also looks through your browser history to find matches and displays the results. You can also see how simple it is to launch a general search for any word by entering the word in the URL field and clicking enter. 

Chrome's integrated search

Intelligent History

The last thing I’ll mention about the Chrome browser is the ‘new’ tab window. When you click on the plus icon to open a new tab, the new tab displays the most visited sites, recent bookmarksand recently closed tabs. As you can see from the image below, the layout is again pretty clean and easy to understand. This helps me a lot when I accidentally close a tab and it saves me from having to go to the browser history to re-open that site. It is also a very easy way to show me which sites I visit the most.  

Chrome - New Tab

Summary

I would recommend installing the application and taking it for a test run. Installation is pretty seamless and all of the your bookmarks get migrated over. I will note that some sites too a little longer to load initially (cnn.com), but now come as fast as ever. If you experience similar results with sites you go to, just be aware that the delay occurred once or twice. While I wouldn’t classify this browser as an innovation in browser applications, I give a lot of credit to Google development for not sitting back and copying what is the status quo in browser look’n feel and for incorporating usable features to make a very good browsing experience.

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