My thoughts on Tech

Google Chrome – Impressions, Links And Running it in Linux using Wine

Much like most of Google’s projects Google Chrome was launched all of a sudden yesterday. Though it was “discovered” rather “accidentally” by one a Google insider hitting the send button containing the comic-book type images of Google Chrome’s workings(excuse me, a Google guy hitting the “Send” button accidentally? Yeah,right! (Santosh agrees with me too on this one). And the hype was unprecedented. Once the hype died down and everyone got to try – the impressions were rather more or less universal, mainly being

 

  • Its frikking fast
  • Its too basic
  • Chrome aims IE userbase rather than Firefox
  • Unless addons are brought in, most Firefox users would not switch to Chrome.
  Google Chrome is basically the best of Firefox, Opera, Konqueror, Safari and Internet Explorer all rolled into 1. You have the benefit of rendering engine – WebKit which powers Safari and Konqueror(since Webkit is a fork of KHTML which powers Konqueror), you have the equivalent of Internet Explorer’s InPrivate mode, Opera’s speed dial-like homepage, and Firefox’s addon capability(though not there at the moment).
Now what’s my take ?
Well for one, the homepage is similar yet different from Opera’s speed dial. Unlike Opera’s Speed  Dial which requires you to manually set the web pages, Chrome does so automatically based on which pages you most frequently visit –  One step better than Mozilla Firefox’s Most visited button.

Homepage

You can also search through your history pages, or open your recently closed tab pages right from the home page(Incidentally, it also shares Firefox’s shortcut for Reopening the recently closed tab – just hit Ctrl + Shift + T) and bingo!

I did like the UI – its plain, simple, and free from clutter – gives me maximum space for my web viewing purposes. Just have a look at the pic below – no irritation menu bars or huge buttons (thought the omission of stop button is unforgivable).

Chrome - Full

 

I also like the way the just 2 buttons which are placed next to address bar – these 2 allow you to configure most of Chrome’s options, and have links for openings new tabs, new windows, and the Incognito mode – which, like IE’s InPrivate mode, doesn’t store history, cookies etc of the sites visited under this mode.
Then there are also some neat touches that I like 
  • Re-sizable text boxes. – Unlike most browsers, Chrome gives you an option to resize the text boxes – perfect if you want to type some especially long sentences – say an address probably, but the default width provided was too less. Just hold and drag the handle the edge of the text box and resize
  • Popup status bar at the bottom – Again, unlike most browsers, you don’t have a fixed size status bar, eating away real estate. The status bar pops unintrusively while the page loads and then disappears. It again pops up while hovering over a link – real smooth!
  • Chrome is frikking fast – whether on pages which heavily use JavaScript or not – I suspect its because, like Opera, the WebKit rendering engine grabs and displays text first, images later – this is especially obvious if you’re using a slow connection like I am
  • Chrome seems to be localized to specific countries – For example in the Manage search engine page, Chrome offers me, in the list Choices of MSN India, Guruji, Yahoo! India and Rediff

Search Engines

  • The whole moving tab-thingy is neat! You can detach a tab from a window, and it becomes a separate window! Similarly, moving a lone window to an existing Chrome window attaches it as a tab!

Tabs Tabs detached

 

  • Chrome comes with its own task manager! You can kill any tab, or plugin. And as its been mentioned, every tab is a new process and hence even if 1 tab freezes, it doesn’t take down the entire browser – though Chrome hasn’t crashed at all for me.
Google Chrome is still in beta(the version number is 0.2.149.27) and it shows – there are several drawbacks:
  • One of the MOST CRITICAL drawback, atleast for me is the lack of RSS support – RSS is the killer, I use Firefox’s Live Bookmarks extensively, and can’t live without it. Is this Google’s way of telling we won’t give you an RSS reader, use Google Reader if you want ? Though I _do_ use Google Reader extensively, I would also prefer something like live bookmarks
  • No Addons/extensions as now, but hey, it’s still early days
  • Some pages don’t work with Chrome yet, most notably Google Analytics and Lively!
  • The save/retrieve password is bit of a miss – it suggests passwords based on domains only, and not on sub-domain, page basis
  • It may not consume memory but it _does_ eat up a LOT of CPU.

Task Manager

 

  • The options page is still simplistic, and looks like a direct rip from Firefox. And it uses IE’s proxy settings! Clcik on proxy, and it loads up the Internet settings used by IE – pushed out a little too fast?
  • And hey, WTF is it with that shitty 475kb Bootstrapper thingy huh ? 
All in all, Google Chrome has got a nice start – I will definitely be using both Chrome and Firefox – lets see what the Big G has in store for the future.
Here are some links 

 

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3 Comments

  1. September 8, 2008    

    Yeah,you are right.
    Most of us ff users will not switch too Chrome just because its too plain as compared to an add-on enhanced FF.

  2. March 12, 2009    

    Vertical scrolling doesn’t work with MS Vista Home Premium, Synaptic Touchpad and Google Chrome.

  3. August 11, 2011    

    Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you present. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information. Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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