Google Chrome First Impressions

September 3, 2008

Many of us who are highish on the web adoption curve have downloaded, installed, and tried Chrome, the new browser from Google. Some of those further along the curve won’t try Chrome until it runs on Linux (or perhaps OSX). Here are some of my first impressions.

  • I don’t like the name Chrome. It suggests unnecessary, ornamental pseudo-features. I’d even prefer GBrowser.
  • The comic book by Scott McCloud is great. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better introduction to a product.
  • The browser is, by all accounts, fast. It seems that way to me. But in saying that, I’m comparing bare Chrome and extended Firefox. By bare I mean that the early beta of Chrome doesn’t allow extensions.
  • Yes, this is an early beta, and hence a real beta.
  • The design is very tab-centric, in terms of user interface and of architecture. I like that.
  • The lack of a “home page” button seems very strange. Apart from that, I like the sparse look of Chrome.
  • Chrome is open source software. To be specific, it’s under the BSD. So other browsers can incorporate Chrome code.
  • Following from that, it seems to me that Chrome is intended by the Google top brass to keep the browser market competitive, and hence to improve the experience of the web, rather than to kill any other browser or platform. But I’m not saying that Google would shed tears were Chrome to hurt Microsoft’s browser or operating system offerings.
  • I’m impressed by how well-kept the GBrowser secret was. I wonder if an impending leak was the reason for the release before Chrome had some key “openness” features, such as extensions and Linux support.
  • So much has been written about Chrome already that I decided not to link to any of it. That’s a reflection on the quantity, rather than the quality, or what I’ve read elsewhere.
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