Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Quick Look at Google Chrome

With the exception of Barack Obama, I am not a person who embraces change. While I do like updates to things, more often than not I find myself tweaking a personal page and then almost immediately changing it back to the way it was. I have been using Firefox for several years, and despite some Firefox crashes, I am pretty happy with it. However, as I was waiting for school closing updates on Tuesday night, I noticed a number of advertisements on YouTube for Google Chrome, Google's web browser. Since I had nothing better to do, I decided to download it and give it a whirl.

The best thing I can say about Google Chrome is that it is very simple and streamlined. The browser doesn't have a lot of clutter; the address bar also doubles as the search bar, and the toolbar at the top of the browser is positively austere. The upside of this minimalist approach is that it allows for more of the screen dedicated to web page itself. The browser also boasts a bookmarks toolbar that allows for easy access to your favorite pages. Although this pared-down browser threw me for a look since I am used to the bells and whistles found on Firefox, it was fairly easy to navigate and to import my bookmarks from Firefox.

Another neat feature that Google Chrome has is the ability to let you go incognito and browse without the fear of another user finding the page you were looking at in the browser's history. While you could certainly use this for many a nefarious purpose (internet cheating, reading porn, looking at firearms, etc.). it does have some positive potential uses as well. The most benign example would be if you were looking for a gift for a spouse or loved one, and you decided to research an item online. This way, you could research and shop to your heart's content without the fear of your wife/ husband/ son/ daughter/ life-partner inadvertently ruining the surprise by finding the information in the browser history.

That said, I'm not ready to get rid of Firefox and convert to Google Chrome. I've noticed that Google Chrome tends to run a little slow for me, and it does not always respond as quickly as I would like. There seems to be a 7-second tape delay whenever I try to close a tab, access a new tab, or drag a tab into its own window. Also, I like my Firefox setup, which allows me to easily copy and paste information and clip information into Evernote.

With all of this said, I'm not super-savvy when it comes to computers, so I know I have probably left out a number of Chrome's features. If you want a more in-depth review of Chrome's pros and cons, check out this one from PC World magazine.