My take on Google Chrome

Here's my take on the Google Chrome browser, which was officially released in beta yesterday.


  • Tabs run in separate processor threads, which means the whole browser doesn't die when one tab crashes/freezes, just that individual tab. Sounds good, but I haven't encountered a crash yet so I haven't seen the "sad tab" face (see page 5 of the Chrome Comic).
  • Separate threads for separate browser tabs also means potentially less memory bloat when you've had your web browser open all day, and opened and closed hundreds of tabs. In principle, closing a tab means killing off each individual processor thread, so the memory footprint shouldn't become a monster after a day's worth of unclaimed memory leaks.
  • The task manager sounds like a fun tool for control freaks like me. Even if I don't need to manually kill individual threads, it's great to watch the stats on the processes. I especially like the almost-hidden "Stats for nerds" view (also available by typing "about:memory" in the omni-bar).
  • A new, faster javascript virtual machine, combined with Google Gears, should be quite helpful for making js-heavy Google web apps (Gmail, Google Calendar, etc.) really fly. As a heavy user of these apps, this sounds awesome, and should keep them running fast as they get more feature-rich.
  • Since it's built off the Webkit rendering engine, it doesn't introduce any new standards or compliance issues. As a developer, I'm pleased to see that I won't have to test sites against yet another browser. And hopefully, it'll help push Webkit toward becoming the de facto standard, which means less variation amongst browsers, which means less work for me.

Cons (and these are major, far more important to me than the pros listed above):

  • There's no extensions support yet. No PDF Download, no ScreenGrab, no IE Tab, no Greasemonkey.
  • The native DOM inspector isn't that feature-rich, and a poor substitute for Firebug. Until Chrome supports extensions, it's unusable as a web development tool.
  • There's no setting that forces Chrome to jump to newly opened tabs.
  • No bookmark editor. As far as I can tell I can't easily move around large groups of bookmarks at a time. This became especially annoying when Chrome imported my Firefox bookmarks into a "Imported Firefox Bookmarks" folder.
  • In an attempt to maximize window real estate, there's no status bar at the bottom. Unfortunately for me, I prefer having a dedicated status bar. Text sometimes pops up down there in the bottom of the Chrome window, such as revealing the destination of a link, or giving highlights of "page loading" status, but it's an annoying flicker on the page.

Verdict so far: it's fun to play around with, and it has nice animations, but it's not robust or complete enough to switch over fully yet.

Tags: ,


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.