Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chrome-plated internet

Usually I use Firefox, but I've been trying Google's new browser, Chrome. Here's a review.

Chrome works well. During installation, it loaded my Firefox bookmarks seamlessly. They're in the right order and all. It took a little getting used to having them over on the right instead of on the left like Firefox,

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but that's not a problem. It also added the "Sub with Bloglines" widget that I use with Firefox.

The interface is a little different. Chrome has a really clean look, with nothing above the address bar. There's just two little buttons, a picture of a document image and a picture of a wrench, at the end of the bar and above the bookmarks. Most of the stuff you might need to do is in those two pull-down menus.

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It looks nice. By comparison, Firefox looks really cluttered.

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OTOH, I think the Firefox interface is a little easier to use. All the stuff is right there, and clearly labeled.

Supposedly, Chrome is able to load pages faster than other browsers, but to be honest, I can't tell the difference. Maybe it will matter in the future, but it doesn't seem to now. Chrome apparently uses less memory -- Firefox is a big memory hog -- but I've never had any problems with that on my machine.

One nifty feature I like is that when you manually open a new window or tab, it shows pages you visit often, with a list of recent bookmarks next to it.

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But new windows don't open in full screen, even though that's what I'm browsing in. With Firefox, new windows open in the same mode you started in.

It also has a strange bug. I was looking at a series of pictures on Facebook, when suddenly Chrome started looping. It would start to load the next picture, but then it would jump back to the last one I was looking at. It was impossible to look at another picture. Weird.

Anyway, my overall assessment is that, except for that one bug, Chrome works fine, but I see no reason to switch from Firefox. I would switch over from Internet Explorer in a second if those were the only two alternatives, but fortunately they're not. For now, I'll stick with Firefox.

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