Google Chrome: First Look And Full Review

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Whenever Google enters competition, it always comes up with a unique product. This time Google has entered in an on going browser war with Google Chrome, which has some unique approach of handling websites which we will review in details below. So lets dig in to Google Chrome to see where it stands.

 

Installation

The installation of Chrome was smooth and fast as with every Google Product. The setup file was only 500 KB in size, but it downloaded the installaton files from the server which weighed around 7 MB.

chrome-downloader

After installation, the browser closed all Firefox windows to import every bit of information from bookmarks to default search engine etc. It also imported the stored usernames and passwords from Firefox.

chrome-setup

First Impression: User Interface

The browser gives an impression of sleek, smooth and uncluttered user interface. Google actually designed the browser to be lightweight, fast, and to have a minimalist user interface, and to resist crashing under the heavy JavaScript demands of Web applications (I have heard from few users that their Chrome browser crashed too, maybe Google will fix this in full release).

chrome-intro

There are two buttons placed on the top-right side of the browser – a Page button and a Tools button. These two buttons contains most of the browser’s  functions and options. Since the user interface is exceptionally stripped down, the Options menu is where you often find many hidden features. In Chrome, the Options menu (found under the Tools button) offers only three tabs, which doesn’t overload you with choices. You’ll mainly find basics such as whether to display the home page icon, where to store your downloads and so on.

options

options 2

Address Bar Is Now OmniBar

There’s no actual status bar in this browser, although another semi-transparent tab appears at the bottom of the screen showing the status of loading pages. The OmniBar works as an address bar as well as a search box all together in one place. Like Firefox, it auto completes the search term or url address from the browsing history of visited pages or from bookmarks, as well as making suggestions of its own based on popularity of web site or a particular search term.

omnibar

Crash Proof Browsing

Google chrome has taken one step forward, the way tabbed browsing is done, It gives every tab a separate process, which comes useful in situation when one of your tab isn’t responding, this approach won’t let you close the whole browser oppressively, you can easily kill the particular process, allowing you to save other tabs.

tab

You can see in the picture below that this browser is completely multi-threaded, whereas other browsers are single-threaded. IE8 has a similar approach but its more of a hybrid model: It creates multiple instances of the iexplore.exe process but doesn’t specifically assign each tab to its own instance. This feature of Chrome allows each tab a separate process with even large number of threads involved, its evident that this feature can be more useful for multiple core processors with heavy web centric activities.

process

Another unique feature regarding tabbed browsing is that it lets you rip off or ‘drag and drop’ a particular tab into desktop or some other window, giving you total control over the tabs.

drag

New-Tab Page

The new-tab page is one of Chrome’s most useful design elements. This is the default page that comes up every time you launch the browser or open a new tab. It shows you nine snapshots of the Web pages you most frequently visit, and a search box to search your history. The new-tab page also shows a list of recently bookmarked pages, and another list of recently closed tabs. All of this is managed by Chrome automatically, you don’t need to custom create the page.

new page

Incognito Mode

This mode of the browser lets you browse the web in private, which means that whatever webpages you visit will not appear in the browsing history and won’t even leave other traces, securing your full privacy. To browse in this mode, click control the current page option and then select new incognito window.

incognito

Privacy And Security

Chrome supports all the latest functions you’d expect like anti-phishing tool and a pop-up blocker. When you visit a website which Chrome detects a phishing attack, it displays a similar warning screen as Firefox. This is because this feature was jointly built by Google and Mozilla for Firefox.

chrome_phishing

Built-in Download Manager

Chrome doesn’t pop up with an extra window to show downloaded content, it has a built in download manager which download within the same page allowing you to view the download status without even popping up an extra window. This is great !

download2

Instant Bookmarks

Again adding a website in bookmark list is simple and easy, just press the star in the address bar and you’re done. The only places that bookmarks can appear is on the toolbar, or in folders on the toolbar. The toolbar folders can be user-created, and Chrome also comes with its own folder for miscellaneous bookmarks, called “Other bookmarks,” on the right end of the toolbar.

bookmark

Google’s Own Task Manager

This browser comes with a novelty of task manager, which is a nice addition in the browser world to show the memory usage of each and every tab, Just press Shift+Esc key and you’ll see a task manager with the memory consumption list of all the tabs. Task manager shows all the instances of the Google chrome browser, that is for each tab it shows a record with memory, CPU usage and Network. This is quite helpful if you want to see which applications that are eating most of your memory and kill them. There is also a link in the task manager that reads “Stats for nerds”, if you click that link it shows detailed stats of the memory it is using. If other browsers are opened up, it will also show those stats.

task manager

Find Feature

Finding text in a website is easy enough, Press Ctrl+F and it will start its search feature almost instantly, it highlights all items on a page, then moves through them.

find

About:Internet Pages

Chrome gives you useful information about your Internet connection and information regarding stats and network graphs, other browsers could only think of, just type the below mentioned code in your address bar and see it for yourself.

  • about:memory
  • about:stats
  • about:network
  • about:internets
  • about:histograms
  • about:dns
  • about:cache
  • about:plugins
  • about:version

memory

stats

Search Capabilities

The way Chrome search within every aspect of the browser is far more intelligent than any competing browser’s. When you visit any website, that site is immediately added to your search engine list. At any point, you can make that search engine your default, or you can do a fast search with the Tab key shortcut. And also you can remove any search engines by using the Search Engines options screen. It even lets you search within a website, just type the initial letters of any URL if you have visited the website before it will autocomplete it and press the Tab key and you can search within a website too.

chrome_search

search

Flash Support

The support for flash content is built-in, with seamless navigation of media sites, streaming music and video handling, it handles flash objects smoothly. It seems that Chrome is actually made for media savvy web activities with support for AJAX and Web 2.0 applications almost at its fingertips.

youtube

No Plug-ins For Chrome At The Moment

Unfortunately, there are no extensions currently available for this browser, this will be the main reason for many people not to take this browser as a default one, extensions allow users to simplify and personalize their browser, but since Chrome is in Beta stage, we will have to wait till its final release. Google says that API support is coming soon, APIs will enable developers to write extensions for this browser, it’s remained to be seen the effectiveness of the extensions in future.

Final Thoughts

Ofcourse Chrome has launched just now, and is still in beta stage, with no extensions or plug-in support, even Google groups or Windows live Hotmail does not support this browser yet, but this problem is faced by every browser in the beginning stages, let alone Chrome which got built from scratch.

There are many shortcomings and missing features in Chrome, like, when closing tabs it doesn’t confirm like Firefox whether to close multiple tabs or not, and if the browser crashes, it has no feature to resume the web activities, these are some small points that do add up in user experiences.

If only Google promises of fast JavaScript rendering, security and extension support other browsers may have a very tough competition heading towards them. Its not the right time to switch this browser to default one but its good enough to use it as secondary browser for now.

Download Google Chrome Here(Supports only WinXP SP2 and Windows Vista).

Was this review helpful? Want to ask something or add something, just leave a comment and we will be in touch with you.

Update: Do you want to crash Chrome? If yes, then type “about:%” in the address bar. Now who said Chrome can’t crash?

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  • Good post. I have been using Google Chrome as well as Firefox and I.E. and I must say I find Chrome is lightning fast.

  • Alex Paton

    What about the fact that Google’s EULA gives them full access to any information you enter into the program, which is interesting when it comes to data gathering. They can utilize your surfing to understand the internet usage better, but they can also have full access to your passwords and usernames, and distribute them however they see fit.

    Of course that is something I hope that Google would never do, but simply the fact that they CAN is enough for me not to use it. Power is a dangerous thing to allow anyone to have

  • @ Alex

    Have you ever searched on Google, or used any Google’s product. If yes then your privacy has already been breached. Google just uses this information to help them understand users better. They don’t collect it to bombard your computer with spam. So no need to worry about it.

    Again there are 120 million worldwide users on facebook, and facebook monitors them all, so it does not mean your privacy has been breached.

    This practice has become normal today. Without collecting information about users, no company can improve its technology.

    I will try posting a topic on the case of Privacy sometime soon.

  • Robskys

    Welp, Google’s just gonna buy Firefox when they realize they can’t compete with it just like they bought Youtube after Google Video failed.

  • Umair Khan Jadoon

    This is the best review! I loved it 😀

  • First Look at Google Chrome