Friday, November 14, 2008

Google's Chrome will change how we surf the net

Browsers matter because we all use the internet, at work and at home. We know that not all browsers are equal: some are slow, some are selective about which websites they work with and some just don't look as nice as others. Google's new browser aims to start again, quietly manipulating code in different ways so that it works at speed, with stability and reliability.

It uses your computer's memory in a different way so that when you close a page, the memory saved is more efficient, keeping the whole thing moving faster and preventing inefficient freezes or crashes. If one page does crash, it shouldn't affect the others.

So should you switch? After all, it looks different from other browsers – there's no toolbar and URL address bar at the top because the page tabs are there instead. Text entry happens in a box that is both address bar and search tool. You enter a URL or search term and it offers suggestions.

Once you're used to the styling it is accessible, logical and straightforward. And because it's so intuitive you can get used to its basics before moving on to the sophisticated additional features.

Such as the way you can simply click and drag a tab so it becomes a separate window you can place wherever you like. Handy if you want to see two windows at once. You can drag it back, too.

Chrome is certainly fast, too, with benchmark tests showing speeds of 35 per cent faster than rival Firefox, for instance. It's also particularly suitable for web applications, like Google Docs, providing good performance for them, too.

Don't be put off by the fact that it says Beta in big letters – the excellent Google Mail program still says that now and it's been stable and highly usable for over four years.

If there's a negative, it's just that you can only use it with Windows. Mac and Linux versions are promised, and Google says they're being designed by engineers who are passionate about the platforms, not just guys tweaking the Windows model. Still, it's a shame they weren't ready sooner as this is a great browser.

More on Google's Chrome>>

Google Chrome: Plug In Support Updated; Watchdog Slams ‘Privacy Threat’

Mozilla bounces backs from Chrome challenge

Google's Geolocation API Comes to the Browser

Google Chrome browser losing marketshare after initial surge

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