When I woke up today and combed through my morning email I was shocked to see that yesterday Google announced that they would be releasing a browser today. Usually these things leak out sooner, but I hadn’t heard anything other than the same type of vague rumors that you hear about a gPhone or gOS.
Google Chrome, as it’s called, was released today at noon and can be downloaded for XP/Vista (Linux and Mac soon to follow). After reading the comic and watching the video, I was excited to download it and take it for a spin. While all of the features sounded nice, I didn’t know what to expect. Just because they say that they “started a browser from scratch” and that it’s designed for “today’s web applications and not the web pages of 1998” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s any better than IE7, Firefox 3, Safari, Opera, etc.
After playing with it for 10 minutes I feel confident in saying: it is better than all of them. Noticably better. It is now my default browser.
Here are my thoughts:
- New tabs aren’t blank. Instead they show thumbnails of your most visited sites, a list of your most recent bookmarks, a search box to search bookmarks, and a list of your most recent searches.
- Gone is the search box in the upper right. Everything is in one bar – your history, your searching, and your web addresses. The first drop down for anything you type is “search on Google”. Subtle yet awesome.
- Less clutter – I’d say I have an extra 5% viewing space than I do in FF3. Despite that, it’s still super simple to find everything. Nothing I can think of that other browsers have is inherintly missing. It just works.
- It appears to render exactly like Firefox, which is what I figured it would do (since portions are modeled on Mozilla’s engine). This is good news for developers.
- Did I mention it’s REALLY FAST?
Download it and see for yourself. It installs in seconds and imports everything from Firefox or IE so you can pick up right where you left off.
I have yet to really consider how much of a mainstream impact this could have and how it could change the future of the web. For the time being I’m just enjoying a new browsing experience (I’m typing this post in it right now). In the past I’ve been critical of all of the half-assed crap that Google releases and slaps “beta” on, but this is different. It is very refined. Microsoft should definitely be worried. Google is creeping more and more into our everyday lives where Microsoft used to be. Can’t wait to see how this unfolds.
P.S. The spacing on this post was messed up when I first hit submit. Guess it isn’t perfect yet.
P.S.S. I had some trouble in phpMyAdmin (which is how we access our MySQL databases). Chrome wasn’t executing queries. It’s no longer my default browser. That lasted all of 30 minutes. Oh well, I still stand by everything I said above. For most browsing it is still fantastic. I’m sure they’ll work out the minor kinks soon.