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Chrome: Strong Out Of The Gate

Yesterday I wrote about the Chrome technical comic. Later in the day, the Chrome download link started working again, and I grabbed a copy. I've been using Google's new browser for a day and a half now. My review: I like it.

Chrome Pros

  • The "one-box" address bar is excellent. One single box for URLs, for searching, and for history. I found myself typing fewer URLs today. Very handy. (Browser autocompletion crushes the search funnel and, imho, works in favor of online retailers -- more on that in a subsequent post.)
  • Chrome seems to runs Javascript apps faster. For example, CustomInk has a neat tshirt layout designer . Their drag-and-drop app is smoother under Chrome.
  • The UI is pretty and intuitive. Pulling tabs off the browser onto the desktop, and dropping them back -- very slick.
  • Chrome starts up quicker than IE.
  • Chrome feels like it renders pages quicker than FFox and IE.

Chrome Neutrals or Minor cons

  • Some websites had minor rendering bugs. For example, the text in the buttons on CustomInk's app mentioned above were sliced off vertically. The splash image on my wife's lab site didn't appear at all.
    chrome-cut-buttons chrome-missing-image
  • A small number of websites -- PetSmart.com and ComputerWorld for example-- rendered glacially slowly in Chrome, repeatably taking over several minutes. I wager it was some sort of redirect or ad serving issue. No speed problems for the same pages on FFox or IE.
  • Password manager shows cached passwords in plain text. This is a security hole -- if you leave your browser open and unattended, anyone could grab your bank or email passwords, if you let Chrome save them.


  • Multiple sites are reporting Chrome is a memory hog; I personally did not notice memory usage patterns between IE, Chrome, and FFox. The memory use order depended on the specific pages and tabs.


  • The rendering engine has minor spacing differences (image below).


Chrome Significant Cons

  • Plugins. Currently, Chrome lacks plugins. Plugins are what make Ffox so great. For me, for example, Firebug is a must-have.
  • The default font is too small. Smaller than Ffox or IE. Made me squint. The small font could make Chrome harder to use for older folks, but Google could easily bump this up. Yes, I know about "control +"; I'm speaking generally.



I predict Chrome will steadily eat share from Ffox.

I predict Google will soon cut deals with computer manufacturers to make Chrome and Google Docs a productivity suite option ("Save $200 -- Google Docs vs. MS Office"). These deals will materially eat into IE browser share.

The browser wars are back! Chrome download link


Update: Google is now advertising Chrome on the Google homepage.


That is extremely dear real estate -- Google counts characters on that page -- so "cluttering" the homepage with Chrome Beta on the day after launch indicates just how seriously Google intends to push this browser.

Microsoft, watch your back.

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