I have been, once again, doing some more work in Windows Vista than usual as of late and so I took the opportunity to set up and use Google Chrome for most of my online activities. First, I would like to list my reservations, so that this does not turn into too much of a schmooze fest. What I do not like about Chrome:
- It is from Google. I love Google's products, which almost irks me at times, because I do not like the idea of a Google monopoly or lock-in any better than I do a Microsoft one. Microsoft was not always the evil empire that it is now and we may assume that, given enough time, Google will become truly evil.
- Privacy concerns. To some extent, this is related to the above, but there was actually an interesting bru-haha about this browser in particular. Please see the Ars Technica article regarding the Chrome Eula controversy. Interestingly, a friend and I noticed this and held off using the browser earlier. This is all on top of the history and key stroke tie-ins that Google has.
- It is not cross platform. One thing you have got to love about Firefox is that it is more or less the same on any operating system. You can count on it being present and on the vast majority of the add-ons working, as well. Chrome, however, is Windows only for the time being. No, Wine does not count.
Now, for what I like. The good in Chrome comes in the UI, which is not surprising given that they used an existing rendering engine (I would have done the same; a new rendering kit is a great way of spending a lot of time and effort on creating a toolkit that, if it is of any use, is also incompatible with the rest of the world).
- All of Chrome has a smooth, easy appearance which is very pleasant on the eyes.
- Chrome feels fast. How much of this is the actual engine, I do not know, but it is a pleasant experience none the less.
- The search dialog is smaller and less intrusive than Firefox's or IE's dreadful popup box. Because of the way it tucks away into the upper corner, it stays out of the way better on average.
- The ability to use the address bar as either an address bar or a search engine is very, very nice.
- I like what they have done with Opera's speed dial page. the addition of a search engine and history are useful additions.
- I am glad to see them getting rid of the menubar. Firefox really ought to do this as well.
In conclusion, Google's browser offers some nice UI improvements to the browser. It will be interesting to see how Firefox and Opera react. Safari is unlikely to take much, for good or ill. Apple marches to the beat of a different drum.