Google recently made available for download a beta version of Chrome
, their vision of an open source web browser
. This post presents my preliminary thoughts after a few days of “testing” Chrome.
Chrome makes available a whole lot of space
for displaying the web page, having only the navigation bar and the tabs to occupy non-functional space. Generally it seems to follow a minimalistic design
approach, something that I received with pleasure.
The interface is very clear
with a number of innovative features built in, such as:
- drag ‘n’ drop a tab to turn it into an independent window
- incognito browsing window where whatever you do there will be no traces left in the browser and its cache (hooray for all porn lovers -no more clearing up everything manually!);
- one-click to turn a web page into a “standalone” application with a shortcut on your desktop or start menu! For example, you can access your Google calendar from a shortcut in your desktop as an independent application (i.e. not inside Chrome)
- recent pages you have visited appear as clickable thumbnails when you open a new empty tab
Regarding the underlying “machinery”, I do not have a solid opinion yet, but I do believe it is slightly faster than both Firefox and Internet Explorer
at the moment. Now…
No support for Google Toolbar!
I cannot go anywhere without my toolbar! I understand that this is still a beta version and I hope the final release will support the toolbar. Otherwise it doesn’t make much sense, does it? Google Chrome not supporting Google toolbar?!?
Zooming is dubious
to say the least. It seems a bit broken at the moment. And it will not zoom into flash movie windows! Which means we are going to get a headache from focusing too hard on those tiny-tinee porn clips!
Confusing Memory Thingy
Regarding memory, Chrome is a roller-coaster. First off, about a gazillion processes start when Chrome starts up
! OK, maybe it is not exactly
a gazillion, but still… There is one big-ass process for the main Chrome engine; one process for the Flash plug-in; one process for Google Gears, which is the engine that allows the standalone web applications mentioned above; and finally one process for each separate tab. Now, that’s what I call ‘a lot of processes’! On the other side, Firefox has one
This creates some congestion issues in the process manager. However, it gives Chrome a major advantage: since each tab runs independently of the main browser engine and the other tabs, if a tab crashes it will not take down everything else
with it! Hooray!
Furthermore, overall memory consumption was much less than Firefox: for the same 6 web pages opened (no porn this time), Firefox occupied around 220MB
, while Chrome stayed at 168MB
! However, the guys at Lifehacker have run a serious series of tests
(or perhaps a series of serious tests?) and got slightly different results.
But there is another twist in the memory story: Chrome has a nice task manager that gives you statistics about its own processes, just like the Windows Task Manager does but with individualized details such as human readable descriptions etc. But the memory metrics presented by Chrome are much less than what the Windows Process Manager states
! For the same example of 168MB
, Chrome was stating only 126MB
usage! What is going on here?!?
Chrome is a nice lightweight browser with much unrealized potential and hopefully the final version will include all the nice thingies that Firefox has, plus more. Of course, ‘final version’ is a term Google engineers are not aware of
… Have you noticed how GMail is still a beta version