Thursday, September 4, 2008

Google Chrome Enters the Internet Browser Market

Google isn't new to innovation or stepping into new markets. Their Gmail e-mail service, Adsense advertising program, and purchase of YouTube are just a few examples of their smart business practices and forward-thinking mindset. They are just about universally praised for their company work ethic and various products, and now they're entering the crowded internet browser market with their open-source project, Google Chrome. Borrowing features from popular browsers such as Firefox, Safari, and Opera, they combine it all into one simple, easy-to-use interface that keeps things basic and low-key. Although it's only currently available for download to Windows XP and Vista users, it is still in development for other operating systems. You can read their informative web comic to find out why they decided to develop a browser and a more detailed look at its inner workings, but here is a brief list of some of its features.

One Box For Everything
Web search. Web history. Address bar. Suggestions as you type. One unified box serves all your browsing needs.

Dynamic Tabs
You can drag tabs out of the browser to create new windows, gather multiple tabs into one window or arrange your tabs however you wish -- quickly and easily.

Crash Control
Every tab you're using is run independently in the browser, so if one app crashes it won't take anything else down.

Application Shortcuts
Use web apps without opening your browser. Application shortcuts can directly load your favorite online apps.

Safe Browsing
Google Chrome warns you if you're about to visit a suspected phishing, malware or otherwise unsafe website.

One of the biggest differences with Google Chrome compared to other browsers is the amazing speed difference. The change is noticeable compared to its competition, which should please consumers who are using slower machines or anyone that wants a faster browsing experience. Everything loads much faster because each tab is loaded as its own separate process as well as improvements like its new Javascript engine. It even comes with its own task manager to allow users to see what is taking up the most memory and terminate them. But unlike its competition, Chrome takes a minimalist approach to its user interface and features. Rather than bloating the browser with tons of extensions, cluttered tool bars, or other options to slow things down, everything is pretty simple. But like Google's homepage, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Their new tab features are really nice, being able to seamlessly move them in a new window and back without skipping a beat.

Most of their advertised features have already been done before in other browsers either as a built-in component or a third-party extension. Their smart address bar was a much touted feature in Firefox 3, although Google modifies it slightly to utilize its search engine capabilities. Safari is also capable of detaching tabs into new windows, although it is not capable of reattaching them. They also have a custom start page that has large thumbnails of most visited pages, recent bookmarks, recently closed tabs, and other similar information that looks very similar to Opera's Speed Dial feature. Incognito mode is also just another phrase for private browsing. But Google has acknowledged all of their competition for laying the groundwork for all of these great features, which is better than just outright stealing.

Only time will tell how Google Chrome will evolve and if it will resonate with consumers. Competition is a never a bad thing and should inspire Mozilla, Microsoft, and all of the others to improve their product. The fact that their browser is open source is great for users that want to tweak and experiment with the code. Google always keeps things nice and simple, and Chrome is no different.

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The Nuggetist September 4, 2008 at 7:02 PM  

I got Seth to download it...he says he doesn't use any of firefox's features, so it may be the perfect thing for him. I'm gonna check back with him in a few weeks to see if he's still using it.

therese,  September 4, 2008 at 11:54 PM  

Thanks for the review. I was curious about it, but didn't want to go through the hassle of researching and comparing with Firefox and IE. My big question is whether I will have any issues viewing videos or graphics and other features on the new system. I sometimes have trouble with Firefox and it's annoying having to switch back to IE just for that purpose.

Redskyy September 5, 2008 at 12:22 AM  

I'm unsure of all the details, but you may run into a couple of snags here and there. The browser just recently launched and is still in beta phase, but I wouldn't expect any issues outside of typical Firefox/IE problems. Chrome uses Apple's Webkit interface that have been used in their Safari browser, so the foundation is pretty solid.

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