First impression: Google delivered, I’ve never used a browser this fast. It’s great.
Yesterday, a cartoon was prematurely leaked detailing Google’s vision for what a browser could look like. Now, 24 hours later I’m reviewing what until yesterday was a well kept secret.
So here’s my first impressions.
- Fast and responsive. What can I say? Firefox 3 was an improvement over Firefox 2 but this is in a different league. There’s still lots of issues with having many tabs open in Firefox. I’ve noticed it doesn’t like handling bitmaps and switching tabs gets unusable with a few dozen tabs open. Chrome does not have this issue at all. It’s faster than anything I’ve browsed with so far (pretty much any browser you can think of probably).
- Memory usage. Chrome starts new processes for each domain and not per tab. I opened a lot of tabs in the same domain and the number of processes did not go up. Go to a different domain and you get another chrome process. However, it does seem to use substantial amount of memory in total. Firefox 3 is definitely better. Not an issue with 2 GB like I have and the good news is that you get memory back when you close tabs. But still, 40-60MB per domain is quite a lot.
- UI. A bit spartan if you are used to Firefox with custom bells & wistles (I have about a dozen extensions). But it works and is responsive. I like it. Some random impressions here:Ã‚Â
- no status bar (good)
- very few buttons (good)
- no separate search field (could be confusing for users)
- tabs on top, looks good, unlike IE7.
- mouse & keyboard. Mostly like in Firefox. Happy to see middle click works. However, / does not work and you need to type ctrl+f to get in page search
- URL bar. So far so good, seems to copy most of the relevant features from Firefox 3. I like Firefox 3’s behaviour better though.
- RSS feeds. There does not seem to be any support for subscribing to, or reading feeds. Strange. If I somehow missed it, there’s a huge usability issue here. If not, I assume it will be added.
- Bookmarks. An important feature for any browser. Google has partially duplicated Firefox 3’s behaviour with a little star icon but no tagging.
- Extensions. none whatsoever :-(. If I end up not switching, this will be the reason. I need my extensions.
- Import Firefox Profile. Seems pretty good, passwords, browsing history, bookmarks, etc. were all imported. Except for my cookies.
- Home screen. Seems nicer than a blank page but nothing I’d miss. Looks a bit empty on my 1600×1200 screen.
- Missing in action. No spelling control, no search plugins (at least no obvious way for me to use them even though all my firefox search plugins are listed in the options screen), no print preview, no bookmarks management, no menu bar (good, don’t miss it)
So, I’m genuinely impressed here. Google is really delivering something exceptionally solid here. Download it and see for yourself.
Posting this from Chrome of course.