Google Chrome

2 09 2008
Well, Google’s come out with another application. Next to our beloved Google Mail, Google Earth, Google Documents, Google Calender, Google Toolbar, and Google Desktop, is the new Google Chrome web browser. Currently only in a beta version designed to run on XP and Vista, it’s an open source tabbed browser meant to be lightweight and stable. After Firefox 2’s memory problems, and Firefox 3’s tendency to run horribly slow if left on for long periods of time, plus the fact the Linux version keeps displaying images wrong on my server, I jumped on the download button when Google Chrome was released.

First impressions seem okay, it has most of the features as Firefox, with a slim look that leaves most of your viewing space left for the webpages. Instead of the usual toolbar with menus such as File, Edit, View, and Help on the top of the screen, there is just the bar with your tabs, followed by an address bar that has a few buttons to get to the screens you need every now and then. Firefox 3 running a few tabs takes 45,992K on my laptop. Chrome displaying the same pages runs with 17,020K. I don’t know why I insist on complaining of memory usage so much when I have 2GB of RAM, but I like programs that are small and don’t leave a huge memory footprint when I leave them running for days on end. Chrome also glides between tabs and windows with ease, smoother looking than Firefox 3 with the same processor. Another interesting bit in Google Chrome that I like is that the tabs all act as separate processes, if you end up crashing one somehow you can simply kill that tab and not close down the entire browser. Yet another little feature, the loading status on the bottom of the page appears and vanished like a taskbar that can be hidden in Windows. You can also move your mouse over it and it will automatically move out of the way to reveal the bit of the page it may be covering up.  

Only complaint so far is that there doesn’t seem to be an in-line spell checking plugin or feature yet, which is something I love about Firefox.

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