Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Shiny new toy from the Big G!


Just announced (via comic book) yesterday and released to the masses today, Google's new open-source jaunt into the browser world, "Chrome," aims to help us get more done on the Internet with less junk in the way.  

Read about Chrome's nifty features here, and download it here.  

I downloaded in about 15 minutes ago and am immediately impressed.  It has a very Safari look to it, which is alright, but the first neat thing I noticed was the lack of a normal Windows title bar at the top of the window - talk about getting things out of your way!  I also promptly missed my Firfox extent ions, specifically mouse gestures and Focus Last Selected Tab, but Chrome imported all of my bookmarks without any problems (other than having to close Firefox to do it), and everything seems to work.  Since the "awesome-bar" name was already taken by FF3's spiffy new multipurpose address bar, Google called theirs the "omni-bar" since it's the one place to type anything at the top of the screen.  It seems to work very smoothly though, ever smoother than the 'Fox's.  

The other big thing is where the tabs are in relation to the address bar.  They're above it.  Each tab has it's own address bar, bookmark buttons, etc.  This may seem a little bit weird, but it really matches the way Chrome works - each tab is its own process in memory, so it doesn't have to share and when you close it, it's actually gone.  This lets Chrome handle memory much better than Firefox 2 or 3.  With four tabs open it appears to be consuming about 42 MB of RAM for the program itself and then 4 to 16 MB for each tab, depending on what each is doing, each in their own process.  While not exactly light weight, this is certainly not bad.  I will have to keep an eye on it to see how it goes after a couple hours worth of surfing.  

Of course, being Google, this new browser was released in beta form, but it definitely will be taken as a shot across the bow and a direct challenge by Microsoft.  Since Google's Chrome browser is written from scratch and with the open-source community in mind, I'm not sure how the other open-source browser, Firefox, will react to this development, but I think this is just what we needed to kick the browser wars up a notch.  

Give it a try, lemme know what you think!

Also, check out Lifehacker's screenshot tour here.  

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