Here are my thoughts on Google Chrome. Yup, I’m following the blogging pack about a week late. First off, the install process was smooth. The comic book stated that the rendering engine is Webkit, which should make testing relatively easy. This is borne out by the user agent string: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/0.2.149.29 Safari/525.13

They give you the ability to change the search engine, and other options, easily. It definitely follows a Macish configuration processs–you don’t have to apply or save the config changes you make, you just make them and close the options screen.
As Farhad Manjoo mentions, there is a lack of addons. (Addons are pieces of functionality that are extend the browser’s behavior [think adblock], as opposed to plugins which extend the browser’s ability to handle content [think flash]). I didn’t see much about addons or plugins for Chrome searching today, other than some strong desire for it. I don’t remember any mention of addons in the comic book or on the Chrome website. Also, as Manjoo mentions, opening a new tab by clicking next to the existing tabs doesn’t work (though there is a plus icon up there which it should not take too long to get used to).

It looks like there is already a way to create simple desktop applications like a calculator that use chrome as their ‘shell’, javascript as the programming language and HTML for user interface definition. That’s very similar to Adobe AIR (at least the ajax version) and something like the C#/XAML pairing as well. Let’s hear it for declarative markup for user interfaces!

The custom start page seems pretty neat, with the ability to have bookmarks not in a pulldown menu, but right on the start page, which also includesthe ‘most visited’ sites. Machine learning of this type can be a great time saver.

From a development standpoint, there is a javascript/DOM console, which looks similar to Safari’s. It is, however, much more responsive and stable, though I still can’t figure out what the ‘search’ box does. However, the wealth of development tools that I use everyday in FireFox (web developer, yslow, firebug, whois, live HTTP headers) will take time to migrate over to Chrome, if they do so at all. This will continue to make developing in FireFox first and testing in other browsers my default strategy.

Finally, Cringley has some interesting comments on Google’s motivation.

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One thought on “Google Chrome First Impressions

  1. votetheday.com says:

    It’s bugged, and it’s bugged a lot. It’s almost official – http://www.votetheday.com/polls/googles-chrome-173/
    I’m disappointed in Google – yeah, it’s beta, but remember, how Gmail beta looked like… Looks like guys had to deliver it till deadline (10th birthday, maybe), and they were obviously short of time…
    It’s better than IE, but FF will live excellently long until Google fixes everything and makes enough plug-inns and versions for Mac/Linux…

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