Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Chrome - Test Drive

Last night I finally got some time to take Google Chrome for a spin. Earlier in the day I came across a URL address that was supposed to be the download location (http://gears.google.com/chrome) but navigating to that location and trying to download the application, I encountered javascript errors galore and was not able to download anything. I then found the link (http://www.google.com/chrome) and I was able to download without any problems.

The installation was not painful, all you had to do was agree to the TOS agreement, and determine if you want to participate in the usage statistics and crash reporting (this option can also be turned on/off after you install). Per google enabling this option will send crash reports to them when Chrome crashes as well as usage statistics. "When you choose to accept a suggested query or URL in the address bar, the text you typed and the corresponding suggestion is sent to Google. Google Chrome doesn't send other personal information, such as name, email address, or Google Account information."

Once the application was installed I was prompted to import IE bookmarks and settings. I guess that it only asked for IE since on my laptop that is my default browser (I do have firefox installed). I will have to test this on my desktop as firefox is my default browser there.

Once the installation was through, I double-clicked the icon on my desktop and Chrome launched instantly, quicker than any other application I have ever seen. 


To see what kind of footprint Chrome had, I launched both IE and Chrome and lunched 5 tabs to websites I frequent. Under the wrench icon at the right -> Developer -> Task Manager you can see all of the tabs running as well as the memory CPU and Network that each is using. Down at the bottom of that window there is a "Stats for nerds" link that brought me to the window you see at the left (the about:memory page) Interesting enough they included IE as a process they are monitoring and put it up against Chrome. I guess the developers wanted to ensure that whatever they built knocked IE by alot. In most cases Google Chrome utilizes 2x resources but looking at its shared memory footprint - its 5x less than IE!.

Adrian from Hardware 2.0 Blog shows the benchmarks he ran against the other browsers. Spoiler: Google Chrome blows them all out of the water.

So Chrome is amazing and all, but it lacks some of the same features that firefox does and IE doesn't. Microsoft Sharepoint sites which I run in house for collaboration still require you to enter your network username and password. IE under the covers knows how to handle AD authentication.

I really would like to see Google use the WebKit engine in the next version of their Blackberry Gmail app.

What do you think about the new browser? Let me know.

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