So, how does Google Chrome fair? Does it live up to the expectation? I too had the same questions in my mind and I thought of trying it today and I have explained my experience in this post.
(For those who are wondering what Google Chrome is all about, read my post Google takes the browser war one step further with Google Chrome.)
As I mentioned in my previous post, Google Chrome promises a lot of “innovative” things and claims to be designed from scratch to serve “applications” and not merely web pages. I chose to bring firefox to do some comparisons so see how well Google Chrome has done. Ok, does it live upto it’s promises?
First let us start with some good things I found Google Chrome ( Yes, you are right, there are “some” bad things I found as well!)
THINGS I LIKE IN GOOGLE CHROME
Full marks to Google Chrome here. For us who are used to see a “blank page” or a “Google page” as the start page, Google Chrome has taken a completely new route by displaying the “most visited 9 pages” by you as well as a “search” function to search your history. Smart!!
In an era where even the simplest of text editors offer tabbed viewing, can you imagine a browser without tabs? Google Chrome is no different. But how does it differentiate itself with others? Enter Google. Yes, the address bar is a fully functional “search bar” as well. By default, the address bar can search as you type using Google search engine. However, you can customize this with other search engines as well. Tabs in Google Chrome differ from that of firefox in quite a number of ways. First, all tabs in Google Chrome contain a address bar “internal” to it, where as, in firefox, you have only one address bar. Another difference is tabs in Google Chrome are separate “processes”. Yeah, they run independent of each other. So if one tab crashes, the others are not affected. And ya there is one more interesting feature, whereby you can just drag a “tab” from one Google Chrome window to another. Cool. But if you are an firefox user, you will miss things like “undo closed tab”, alert message while closing multiple tabs, coloured tabs, embedding IE inside a tab etc..etc..
Google Chrome has a nice little utility like windows task manager to show the memory used by each tab/process inside Google Chrome.
I noticed, Google Chrome starts up somewhat faster than firefox. But to be fair, I didn’t notice much difference when I started firefox without plugins (safe mode).
Source Code Viewer:
The source code viewer is developer friendly and it displays “clickable” links, which I didn’t find in firefox.
Source Code Inspector:
Google Chrome comes with a pretty good source code inspector by default. In firefox, you need to download a separate plugin to inspect the page elements.
THINGS I DON’T LIKE IN GOOGLE CHROME
IE Style Interface:
Not much innovation here. Much of the user interface resembles IE 7. This gives us a glimpse that who is Google’s target. The good thing here is IE 7 users will feel at home.
I can understand that Google Chrome is in beta. (But almost all Google apps are still in beta for many many years ) But unless users of other browsers like firefox find equivalent and compelling plugins, it will be very hard for them (atleast for me ) to move to Google Chrome.
Though users might initially feel that Google Chrome is very performant, things start to change as you open more and more tabs. I tried it myself with a simple test case. I opened four web pages in both Google Chrome and firefox and found that Google Chrome is using 30% more memory than firefox. Kindly note that the pages I took for my testing are:
Note: I didn’t refer to Google Chrome task manager but to Windows task manager. Infact, I found the results displayed by Google Chrome task manager and Windows task manager are different.
And I was shocked to see “chrome.exe” occupy my task manager when I opened more tabs in Google Chrome. Is this the “multi-threaded” approach that Google promised?
Though Google has promised that Google Chrome will be available for mac, linux operating systems shortly, I personally feel it’s a huge minus point. Does anyone know about Google Talk available for linux?. When was Picasa released?. You expect Google to be different, right?.
Though Google Chrome looks very promising, it’s not fully there to take the likes of Mozilla Firefox or Opera. With it’s current incarnation it might be a good alternative for Internet Explorer. I still couldn’t understand the need for a browser from Google. But I hope it’s not just for the sake of tackling Microsoft to bring in more ad-revenue. And Google should not compete with Internet Explorer but with Mozilla Firefox and Opera. If Google Chrome’s main target is Internet Explorer, well it’s not for me, atleast