Chrome, Google’s New Browser

 

Google has released the beta version of a new browser called Chrome four days ago.  As a big fan of Google, I didn’t waste any minutes and immediately tried out the new browser   So far, I am very impressed with Chrome’s performance and its smart interface.  Like Google search engine, Chrome is speedy.  It takes less time to launch the application and access Web sites with Chrome than IE, Safari, Opera, or even Firefox.  

With the explosion of the Web 2.0 applications, Google sees the Web as a platform for the software applications that currently run directly on computer operating systems.  Google believes that the future, more powerful and sophisticated Web applications will rely heavily on javascript.  Chrome was designed to be the fastest browser at handling javascript.  Interestingly, Chrome is based on the open-source project Webkit, the same rendering engine used by Apple Safari. If a page renders in Safari, it will render in Chrome. Webkit is also the basis for Android, Google’s mobile platform.  Apparently, Google is planning to use Chrome in mobile environments as well.

When you launch Chrome from your system, you can tell it looks quite different from other browsers on the market today.  Google wants Chrome to focus on the applications and pages viewed by the users rather than on the border with its tools.  From the browser window, you will not find any text or window bar at the top of the browser window.  Also, there are no traditional menus. No “File,” “Edit,” “View,” “History,” “Bookmarks,” and “Tools” menus like Firefox.  So, it is kind of scary for the first minutes of working with Chrome.   However, you have a wrench for a selection of customization settings and a button to the left of that where you access the menu items you normally find in “File,” “Edit,” and “Tools,” along with a Developer option.

Like many first time Chrome users, the “tabs-on-top” interface is kind of strange at first. I got so used to tabs being below the URL bar.  However, I feel more comfortable after using it for the past few days.  You can open a Web page in a separate tab.  It is interesting that each tab in Chrome is running independently in the browser.  So, if one application crashes will not take down the entire browser.  This is a great feature.  Also, Chrome groups related tabs.  If you open a new tab from a link in a page that is already open, that new tab appears next to the originating page, rather than at the end of the row of tab.  In addition, you can drag tabs out of the browser to create new browser windows or gather multiple tabs into one window.

There is no separate search bar from Chrome. The address bar, Web search bar, and Web history bar are combined into one search box/address bar called omnibox. So, you basically conduct everything from this ominbox. If you type anything but a URL into the omnibox, Chrome will do a search instead. When you enter the URL or keyword in the address bar, Chrome will provide you suggestions for both search and Web pages. So, I typed “y,” my Website [yuen.us] was ready for me to load into browser. It was nice and convenience.

Another good feature offered by Chrome is the thumbnail of your top sites. When you launch Chrome or open a new tab, you will find a set of thumbnails of your most visited pages, lists of recent search engines you have used, recently used bookmarks, as well as recently closed tabs. In addition, you can use Web application such as Facebook without opening your browser. You can simply create application shortcuts from Chrome that allows Web applications load directly. Finally, you can choose incognito mode for private browsing. Using the incognito mode will not allow the pages you visit to show up in your Web history.

Currently, only the Windows version of Chrome (Windows Vista/XP SP2) is available for download. Unfortunately, Mac and Linux users will have to wait much longer time to try out Chrome. Google has released Chrome in 43 languages and in 122 countries.

I have been testing Chrome for about four days.  Personally, I think Chrome has made a great start considering this is the first beta version.  Chrome is speedy, smart, and clean browser.   However, Google wants Chrome more than a Web browser and hopes to make Chrome a sort of Web operating system that will eventually challenge Windows and Macintosh one day.  Well, we will wait and see…

If you have already used Chrome as well as other browsers, I am interested to know your choice of favorite browser.  Here is an opportunity for you to vote for your favorite browser.   Thanks.

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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Web 2.0 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Chrome, Google’s New Browser

  1. Rongfei says:

    I am now typing some response to your blog about Google Chrome browser inside Google Chrome browser. As a web developer, I have been using different types of browsers.

    When I was in China, I have been using Maxthon for several years, which was a browser based on IE’s kernel program, but had been optimized in many features such as multi-tab browsing, more space for user customization, faster loading speed, more friendly user-interface, and the ability to restore tabs that was there when the browser was closed in last time. Maxthon used to be my favorite browser for several years. Yet for a certain period of time before my graduation, Maxthon had been very unsatisfactory because it constantly crashed and was not able to restore the tabs of last-time closing the browser. I then decide to change my browser and make a survey online.

    The survey was distributed via the largest social networking site called Xiaonei.com by then (now its name changed into Renren.com). The participants were all Xiaonei users, and most of them are college students and y-generationers. I did some research online and listed several popular browsers, the list include: 遨游 – Maxthon (MyIE2), 火狐 – Firefox , 网景 – Netscape (AOL), 谷歌浏览器 – Google Chrome, IE – Internet Explorer, 世界之窗 – World Browser, 腾讯TT浏览器 – Tencent Browser, Opera, MagicMaster, GreenBrowser, 其他(请注明) Others(Please Spesify), Safari.

    The results was like this:

    遨游 – Maxthon (MyIE2): 18(21%)
    火狐 – Firefox : 13(15%)
    网景 – Netscape (AOL): 0(0%)
    谷歌浏览器 – Google Chrome: 5(6%)
    IE – Internet Explorer: 27(32%)
    世界之窗 – World Browser: 3(3%)
    腾讯TT浏览器: 13(15%)
    Opera: 1(1%)
    MagicMaster: 0(0%)
    GreenBrowser: 1(1%)
    其他(请注明): 2(2%)
    Safari for Windows: 0(4%)

    To my surprise, IE was still number one and Tecent Browser ranked three just as Firefox. From the survey I concluded that excellent browsers such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox was still not popularized in the China market. But anyway, I picked up Google Chrome after that just because its speed and larger browsing area compared to other browsers, and it has been pretty stable. So far as I know, the “most visited site” thumbnail function was initiated by Google. I am now currently using Google Chrome in my Windows OS platforms.

  2. Rongfei says:

    Dr. Yuen,

    I am now typing some response to your blog about Google Chrome browser inside Google Chrome browser. As a web developer, I have been using different types of browsers.

    When I was in China, I have been using Maxthon for several years, which was a browser based on IE’s kernel program, but had been optimized in many features such as multi-tab browsing, more space for user customization, faster loading speed, more friendly user-interface, and the ability to restore tabs that was there when the browser was closed in last time. Maxthon used to be my favorite browser for several years. Yet for a certain period of time before my graduation, Maxthon had been very unsatisfactory because it constantly crashed and was not able to restore the tabs of last-time closing the browser. I then decide to change my browser and make a survey online.

    The survey was distributed via the largest social networking site called Xiaonei.com by then (now its name changed into Renren.com). The participants were all Xiaonei users, and most of them are college students and y-generationers. I did some research online and listed several popular browsers, the list include: 遨游 – Maxthon (MyIE2), 火狐 – Firefox , 网景 – Netscape (AOL), 谷歌浏览器 – Google Chrome, IE – Internet Explorer, 世界之窗 – World Browser, 腾讯TT浏览器 – Tencent Browser, Opera, MagicMaster, GreenBrowser, 其他(请注明) Others(Please Spesify), Safari.

    The results was like this:

    遨游 – Maxthon (MyIE2): 18(21%)
    火狐 – Firefox : 13(15%)
    网景 – Netscape (AOL): 0(0%)
    谷歌浏览器 – Google Chrome: 5(6%)
    IE – Internet Explorer: 27(32%)
    世界之窗 – World Browser: 3(3%)
    腾讯TT浏览器: 13(15%)
    Opera: 1(1%)
    MagicMaster: 0(0%)
    GreenBrowser: 1(1%)
    其他(请注明): 2(2%)
    Safari for Windows: 0(4%)

    To my surprise, IE was still number one and Tecent Browser ranked three just as Firefox. From the survey I concluded that excellent browsers such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox was still not popularized in the China market. But anyway, I picked up Google Chrome after that just because its speed and larger browsing area compared to other browsers, and it has been pretty stable. So far as I know, the “most visited site” thumbnail function was initiated by Google. I am now currently using Google Chrome in my Windows OS platforms.

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