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Chrome: first impressions

Chrome: first impressions

Chrome: first impressions

We mentioned this morning that Google had entered into the browser market with Chrome, designed to be a lightweight and rapid open source browser.  Quite a few of us were looking forward to having a play around with it (I'm actually using it to write this blog!).  So I thought it would be a nice idea to get a few people's thoughts on how they're finding it so far. I've got a nice little cross section of opinion.  We'll start with Wojtek, one of our web designers.  Then we've got Bob, who probably one of your more advanced web users and ending up with me, someone who'll just use a web browser to view a few webpages and not really bothered about having tonnes of plugins, RSS feeds and so on. Wojtek's feedback is pretty straightforward.  He says "the interface kicks ass, usability-wise. It's easy to use, plain and clear".  So that's one happy customer!  He likes the way how each tab has its own process, it works faster and that makes Wojtek happy. Bob's feedback is a touch more extensive (as you'd probably expect if you knew Bob!).  Luckily, he's summarised it for us Smiley

 Likes: UI for pop-up blocking - I like the way you simply drag the window into view from the status bar, although not being able to see how many pop-up windows have been blocked is a pain. Look, feel and speed of web-browsing - It looks sexy and seems really nippy. Download interface - I like the way it stacks downloads in the status bar and lets you interact with them from there, although I don't like the way that it seems to save every file you download even if you choose to automatically open it. Create application shortcuts from any webpage a la Prism - I don't really need to use this, but it's quite funky nonetheless. Incognito - similar to private browsing on IE8. Each tab runs in a separate process so one tab can't crash the browser - This is a godsend! Try pressing shift-escape, it gives you a bespoke task manager for each tab/plugin, very clever! Drag a tab out to the desktop background and it removes it from the original window and into a new one. Dislikes: Tab behaviours - e.g tabs open next to the existing one which I don't like. I can't automatically focus on newly created tabs, I can't open new tabs from searches, I can't open my homepage on new tabs. I can't middle-click the back button to open the last page I was viewing in a new tab  (and focus on it). It's for these reasons that I worship Firefox's TabMixPlus plugin. Lack of settings/bookmark synchronisation feature like in Opera 9.5 or with the Firefox extension Foxymarks (I'm surprised they didn't incorporate a Google Browser Sync hybrid). Lack of integration for social networking/bookmarking, e.g stumbleupon/digg - I have a lot of Firefox plugins that allow me to interact with these sites using my browser's toolbar or right-click context menu. Does it do RSS feeds - They certainly don't render to cleverly when I try viewing them. Doesn't behave well over remote desktop  i.e can't minimise the window.

As for me, like Wojtek, I'm really liking Chrome.  I've been using it for most of today and whilst I haven't found that all webpages load faster, I reckon the Community Site loads fractionally quicker and some website are definitely much faster.  I really like the pop-up blocking feature, where all pop-ups are hidden at the bottom of your screen, unless you drag it into your main window.  I also really like how if a webpage that you're running on a tab crashes, I don't need to close the whole browser, just close that pesky tab! What do you think about Chrome?  Have you had a play with it yet?  What do you like and dislike about it? Let us know! James 

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I don't think Chrome is really aimed at geeks like us. Firefox is amazing for people who like to customise but most people just want something that works and looks nice. Chrome is the iPod of browsers: it doesn't do much but it does the things that matter and it does them well.
Dan
Grafter
agree with Tam. For those who like some of Chrome's cooler features but prefers Firefox, here's a useful link describing how to get FF to do the Chrome thing http://lifehacker.com/5044518/enable-chromes-best-features-in-firefox
Plusnet Staff
Here's an interesting blog aimed at allaying fears that Chrome reports everything you do back to Mommy http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/google-chrome-communication/
Grafter
Chrome doesn't seem to render valid XHTML 1.0 -- my CSS (tested in IE7) is ignored or mangled. The update process tries to run at Windows startup (I usually deny it firewall clearance for the heck of it). If you remove it from the startup routine, it seems to write itself back. Perhaps coincidently, my bank is no longer accepting my sign-in details since the first time I used Chrome. No, I have no idea how the two things could be connected! I continue to sup with it, but I'm using a very long spoon....
Community Veteran
I've been using it on and off for the last day or so on my Windows machine (since it doesn't support OS X) and I'm reasonably impressed with it... it does give the appearance of rendering pages quicker than Firefox, but I'm missing lots of the extensions I use Sad