Test drive: Google Chrome

Earlier this month, I posted an article on the Noobie web site talking about Firefox as an alternative to the little blue “e”. The little blue “e”, as it is often referred to by noobies, is the Internet Explorer browser by Microsoft. The purpose of the article was to let noobies know there are other choices, some would argue even better choices, than just using the free browser that comes installed on your computer.

Google Chrome

The article also mentioned a few other browsers such as Safari, Opera and Google’s Chrome. After posting the article on the web site I realized that I hadn’t really given Google Chrome much of a run-through. Yes, I installed it when it was first released but I never really gave it much of chance. I just sort of fired it up, said yup, it’s a browser and then never used it again.

After a week of using Google Chrome

So this week I decided to commit to using Google Chrome exclusively as my Internet browser. Here’s my observations:

  • I like the default home page that shows large thumbnails of the recent sites you have browsed. These thumbnails are also hyperlinked so clicking on them takes you directly to the web site. Kind of a neat feature but I can potentially also see this as an invasion of privacy. For instance you may not want your roommate knowing you just submitted a profile to match.com.
  • Several people told me that Google Chrome was really slow but I never really noticed and significant differences in speed. I suppose if you put a stopwatch to it, it might come out a little slower but nothing real obvious to me.
  • One of my biggest hangups was having to save every single attachment before opening it. I guess I’m spoiled by the download toolbar in Firefox.
  • It took me a while to get used to typing in Google search words right in the address bar of the browser to do a Google search. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, in Google Chrome you type search words like “top digital cameras” in the same spot you would type “www.noobie.com”. Google Chrome knows the difference between a web site address and Google search and reacts accordingly. Ironically, a friend of mine just told me that Firefox can do the same thing. I just never knew it.
  • There’s not a lot of fine tuning you can do with Google Chrome. In fact the options basically boil down to three groupings: Basics, Minor Tweaks and Under the Hood (Google’s words not mine). I know Google likes to keep things simple but I feel there should be a few more user-customizable options than what exists now.
  • I’ve saved the best for last. I love the Google toolbar. One-click access to my email, calendar, RSS reader. Auto-fill options on web forms. Page ranking. The whole nine yards. Well, guess what browser the Google toolbar is not compatible with? That’s right. Google’s Chrome.

Better than Firefox?

Despite the few oddities mentioned above, I still think Google Chrome is a perfectly acceptable browser. But tomorrow I’m still going back to Firefox.

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2 Comments

  1. Joshua Roof

    I’ve been using Google Chrome for linux and I love it.  I use a lot of Google apps like email and docs and it is definitely faster than Firefox for linux.  I’ve been using Opera (http://bit.ly/Nlgbr) but am close to making Chrome my default.

  2. Patric Welch

    @Joshua: Thanks for adding the linux perspective. I don’t have much (read that “any”) experience with Google Chrome on linux.