Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Is Google Chrome really so Shiny?

Chrome is making headlines worldwide but what’s it really like to use and does it match everyones high expectations?

After seeing the ‘Chrome comic book’ I spent the whole day waiting to get my hands on the first beta version and as soon as it was released I had it up and running at home.

First impressions? Well, I liked everything from the download experience (I remember how it took 30min just to get through to the website for Firefox 3 on the launch day), through to the simple installation and the colourful logo – which actually is very similar to Windows Media Player. Was that intentional?

What is shining? The design, colours, tab management, easy and understandable configuration, visual chooser of recently visited websites after opening a new tab and last but not least the address bar (named ‘Omnibox’) which is really helpful with its suggestions while not being intrusive at the same time – worked a charm for me. I also liked the way the ‘incognito mode’ (known as ‘private browsing’ in Safari) is introduced – with darker colour window and adequate graphics in the left corner.

What is less shiny? The browser seems ‘memory hungry’ – especially for my old laptop. There were some other minor glitches (scroll working one way, some Java applet display faults) but then again this is a beta.

The final impression? Chrome isn't dazzling yet but when it becomes final and receives some decent add-ons sunglasses might come in handy.