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Your New Favorite Browser

Posted by Scott

chrome3
My friend turned me on to Google’s entry into the browser market today and I have to say I am pretty impressed. Chrome is a lightweight, search-centric take on the web browser which aims to speed up the browsing experience. So far it’s lived up to that lofty goal for me, all while taking up only 34MB in memory (less than half that of FireFox).  The installer is a svelte 475KB and it even did a seamless import of all my Firefox settings. You can take it for a spin over here. Sorry, but it’s Windows only for the time being; chalk that up as at least a temporary win in the Windows UI/UE column.

Via Steve Kustin

Update: Alex / HDP noted that a nice graphic explanation (pictured below) of the purpose / uses / drawbacks of Chrome can be found here. It all starts to hit home when you read the line "we’re applying the same kind of process isolation you find in modern operating systems". Now, when you consider the overarching concept of web apps (I am now completely dependant on Gmail and Gcal) and the still nascent concept of Instant-On Operating Systems, well, you start to get the big picture: Google is potentially positioning itself as an operating system. If you thought MS had a monopoly, imagine a world where the same company makes the OS, browser, and search technology you use. The only thing missing is the hardware, and who knows, I am sure there is a hardware research division somewhere deep within the sprawling Google campus. Oh, and that’s not even counting the fact that your phone could soon be running a Google OS.

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24 Comments Leave A Comment

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Alex / HDP says:

September 2, 2008 at 4:44 pm

I got a few quick moments to poke around…pretty cool so far, although I found myself looking for a home button, being a FF and before that IE user, I never got used to Safari’s lack of a home button, nor the explanation from fellow Mac users– who needs a Home button?

Here’s a cool little comic they put out explaining Chrome, how it works, why they are doing it, what it means, and even the drawbacks…very helpful in explaining what’s going on without getting too too bogged down in the kind of speculative bs being spewed forth by the media:

http://www.google.com/googlebooks/chrome/index.html

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Scott says:

September 2, 2008 at 4:51 pm

alex-
yeah, the lack of a home button threw me for a second, then I realized google is my homepage in firefox, and since you can search from the address bar in chrome, it’s useless to me.

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Mike.Ducarme says:

September 2, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Very neat browser so far, i love how light it is and i’m seriously in love with their “recently visited” page. The lack of RSS feed support and multisearch is the only thing keeping me from swapping from FFThree, but i’m guessing this should be changed within a few patch.

also, you can add a home button by checking the “add home button” checkbox in the options.

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colm says:

September 2, 2008 at 5:05 pm

annnndd we need another browser why?
we’re already spoilt for choice, with Firefox, Safari, IE, Opera, and whatever other lesser known open sourceries.

having another monster on the block is just another compatability pain in the ass for web designers.

who needs 4 major internet browsers to choose from?
what google should’ve done is put a bid on buying out Opera instead of putting a cat amongst the pigeons.

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Scott says:

September 2, 2008 at 5:09 pm

colm-
I am with you on that, but I think the idea was to reinvent the browser, not make another variation. fortunately from what I have seen so far, chrome seems to render CSS the same way as FireFox (the correct way in my opinion), without all the strange variances of IE.

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Eric says:

September 2, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Alex/HDP:

Not sure who’d try to justify the lacking home button — Safari does have one. Cmd+click the button area and pick “customize toolbar.” It’s just not shown by default because not many people use it.

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Kenny says:

September 2, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Been using it today. When I say it starts fast, I mean fast. I have a 1.4 Ghz Celeron with a 1.5 GB of RAM running Vista. I can’t imagine how it runs on dual or quad core processors, my guess is really fast. I am very impressed with the simplicity and elegance of the GUI.

It seems like a start from scratch browser. They took code/parts from Webkit and Firefox and the guys at Humanized Inc. also devoted time to designing the GUI. Pretty good software for a beta.

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Mark A. says:

September 2, 2008 at 6:21 pm

i was complaining to – why another browser. Then I red this comic and used the browser on the first five sites coming into my mind and – what should I say… bravo!

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Kenny says:

September 2, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Google buying Opera is actually not a bad idea. The Opera browser is installed on the Nintendo Wii , DS and many mobile phones. Buy ‘em out and release the source code into Mozilla.

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Frederik Krogh says:

September 3, 2008 at 12:43 am

The chapter about plugins was rather abstract. I’m looking foreward to test flash. With the more ambiguous javascript engine, i think adobe should consider, making some changes to flash and maby go open source. The only reason google will spare flash is because they own youtube :)

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Daniel Carvalho says:

September 3, 2008 at 1:30 am

Yeah, I read up on Chrome yesterday. Gave it a try today and I must say my first acquaintance with it is an enjoyable experience.

The search bar and address bar combined into one is awesome, so logical. Another feature I found so intuitive was the fact that when I “opened in new window” by mistake instead of “opening in a new tab”, I could simply just drag the new window back on the parent window and it automatically docked it in. Nice.

Smooth and fast.

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Bas says:

September 3, 2008 at 4:47 am

I’m running Chrome since yesterday and I’ve already made it my main browser. I love the space (how the tabs use the upper bar), the fastness and the search bar.
Didn’t expect that Firefox could be beaten for now, but Google has done it again. Chapeau.

I’m missing the Firefox extensions, like McAfee site advisor and FoxyTunes, but I can live with that. The bookmark system is also not ideal, but since I don’t use it that much anyway, it’s not a big problem.

But I will be using this browser, it’s very cleverly done.

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Mariusz says:

September 3, 2008 at 5:26 am

I would watch it — Chrome’s ToU basically says that everything you put on the web using Chrome, becomes the property of Google.

By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any content which you submit, post or display on or through, the services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the services and may be revoked for certain services as defined in the additional terms of those services.

More here:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10030522-2.html

I’ll stick with Safari or Firefox.

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Jan says:

September 3, 2008 at 5:28 am

I read that comic about chrome just yesterday and was excited to try Chrome.

I just installed it and the first 5 minutes we’re amazing: download and installation were really fast, and when the browser appeared I wondered “that was everything?”.

I like the clean and simple look, although I hope that they’ll give users the chance to change the color of the bar (grey would suffice, I’m not a fan of Google’s color palette).

Some things were a bit irritating but know I made it my main browser. I don’t miss anything from Firefox. The new “omnibar” is awesome, and that “recently browsed” site, when you’re opening a new tab is really comfortable.

For the info: Chrome features a Home Button, too – you can set it up in the options.

Their “first steps”-page helped a lot during the first minutes: http://tools.google.com/chrome/intl/en-US/welcome.html

I don’t know if it’s a good development that google becomes bigger and bigger and “invades” new markets like Mobile OS and Browsers, but as long as they keep releasing high quality open source programs and sharing their APIs, I cannot resist their stuff. It’s always easy to use, simple and intuitive.

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Bob says:

September 3, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Google doesn’t hardware because if Kurzweil is correct, hardware is becoming obsolete an an ever quickening pace. Google will be the first OS of cloud computing.

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StigC says:

September 8, 2008 at 9:49 am

After reading this post, I wanted to try Chrome out.

But it’s funny – it does not render CSS as FF2 (my usual browser), but I’m not sure if Firefox changed how they render CSS in FF3 ??
My own site – which I do know have some CSS problems – were rendered as it usually is in IE 6 and 7.

So is Chrome based on FF3′s rendering engine – and was that engine changed after FF2?