Google Chrome – Likes and Dislikes

I just downloaded Google Chrome and am going to try using it for some of my day-to-day web browsing over the next few days. Here are my initial reactions:

Likes

  • Fast. Very fast, and small memory footprint.
  • Each tab is a different process. This will make it very easy to any single tab that is using lots of memory, without having to close the browser (unlike in FF).
  • Tab positioning over the address bar (as oppossed to underneath in FF) seems more natural.
  • No header or footer bars. Do we really need to waste vertical screen space just to tell me the name of the program and reserve space for status messages? Nope. Here there is no header bar (functions like close/minimize are squeezed to the right side of the tab area), and status messages and urls in links appear in a temporary popup box fixed to the bottom left corner of the browser window, when necessary. Seems like a very good use of screen space.
  • Address bar has the domain name of the site appear in regular type, with the rest of the url appearing in a lighter type. It highlights the domain, which very quickly highlights where you are.
  • Real warnings for potentially problematic domains. In IE and FF, you just get a small red box in your address bar. In Chrome, when you go to a page that is potentially troublesome (example: loads resources from a domain associated with malware) you have to go through a confirmation screen before loading the site. Seems like a much better way of implementing this than the halfway solution in IE and FF that everyone will tend to ignore.
  • Useful built-in developer extensions (View Source, Debug Javascript, Javascript Console, Task Manager).
  • In-page search is slick and improves on FF’s implementation. You now see all occurences of the search term highlighted on the page at once, while maintaining the ability to enumerate through the bunch.

Dislikes

  • Non-existent bookmarking. I like my delicious add-on and bookmarks toolbar in Firefox as well as my different bookmarklets (Note in Google Reader, delicious, Seed Newsvine). It gives me easy access to the pages that I use frequently (I know that they are stored in the Chrome history, but often just clicking on my bookmark link is more efficient than going to remember the title or url, typing it into the address bar and sorting through the results to find the one that I want). I take it back. Ctrl-B attaches a bookmark bar to the bottom of the address bar. 
  • No page titles. Since there is no header bar, the page title is squeezed into the tab for that browser window, which in almost all cases is too small to see the page title. 
  • Clicking my mouse scroll bar doesn’t bring up the scroll pointer like it does in almost every other application.
  • I like having the search box separated from the address bar like it is in FF. 
  • No FF add-ons. No Firebug, Greasemonkey, Adblock, FireFTP or IE Tab).
  • No built-in support for RSS. I would at least have expected them to include an auto-subscribe to Google Reader.

This is what I can come up with after using Chrome for 3 hours. So I like it better than IE7 (haven’t tried 8 beta yet), though it does not beat out FF3 (yet).

Running Two Versions of Internet Explorer Simultaneously

Multiple versions of Explorer for Windows on a single computer have revolutionized CSS bug testing for websites, but sadly the different IE browser windows appear identical to the eye, potentially leading to confusion and testing mistakes.

Although Internet Explorer 7 (which your Windows XP computer should have already automatically downloaed and installed) is definitely a step up from its predecessor, some people (ie: web designers and developers) will still have a need to run IE6. If this is your case, read Taming Your Multiple IE Standalones (reference from Robert Nyman)