I find the naming of Google’s new open source “Chrome” web browser to be ill-fitting to say the least. I dunno about you, but I associate “chrome” with shiny parts that do little to make things go faster or better – bling for bling’s sake and little more.
Thankfully, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Google have gone the other way with this browser. I have found it to be low-bling. Not terribly shiny and without any fuzzy dice or spinner rims to weigh it down. At first I thought having the tabs on top of the whole thing was a little too unconventional, but after spending some time with it, it kind of feels more logical that way. There’s no bottom status bar although a semi-transparent one makes itself visible to let you know if a page is loading, but then tucks itself away minimizing wasted space. Nice. I haven’t played around too much with the settings, but the settings dialog seem oddly simple and straightforward at first glance. Whether that’s a function of limited feature or not, I’m not sure.
And from the various mini-screenshots I had seen, I was expecting something typically Google-Ugly.. But y’know, this isn’t. It’s pared down to be sure. It’s not shiny. But it’s still attractive. Kind of in a subdued, purposeful way. Hard to explain really, but I like it.
Now I may be imagining this, but across just about all sites I’ve tried so far (and that’s probably 95% of the sites I use day to day), this thing is F A S T. I had assumed they would get their own sites optimized (Gmail, GCal, GReader etc.) but even other sites I’ve tried feel significantly snappier than in FF3. Pages load faster, and images seem to render faster. Again, maybe that’s part of the limited feature set. But I assume it’s a function of Webkit, which Google Chrome uses.
There are also major differences in the way Chrome handles multiple tabs (as separate processes actually) which is supposed to enhance security and stability
While a single afternoon doesn’t guarantee the browser’s success, I have to say that if the Mozilla folks are ‘not worried’ about Google Chrome, they should be.
Google Chrome can be had at: http://gears.google.com/chrome
Right now, it’s only available for Windows, but there are instructions at http://bit.ly/19mvDV for those who want to build it on Linux. This browser has impressed me enough that I just might give that a go.