I thought I'd try something different, and Twitter lets you make quite off-the-cuff remarks in short spurts, meaning you can zip round an idea and have it jotted down before it leaves your brain again. So, I've done a little review as such of Google Chrome, and I've detailed my thoughts on my Twitter profile. I might make it a habit in fact (to the Internet: I hereby claim responsibility for the creation of the 'twittereview' blog category!)

I first went into my %programfiles%\Google folder, to see how big the installation is (because the 474kB 'Installer' does nothing more than download the app from Google when you load it) - lo and behold, Chrome isn't installed into the common Google folder.

>Where is it? Well, it's shuffled itself into "C:\Documents and Settings\Christopher\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application"... And there it sits, all 75 megabytes of it. (Cor!) Not exactly the tidiest or smallest of browsers, but the User Data folder takes up 27.9Mb on its own. I can also see a "chrome.7z" file, clocking in at 21.8Mb - I noticed ZoneAlarm ping me as the Google Installer was spawning 'expand.exe', so this makes sense; distribute the en-US release as a 7zip archive, then customise it with the en-GB dictionaries after download (which it did on its own). Typing in Google.com when in the browser also redirects me to the UK site, which is what I prefer, so Chrome's installer must perform a similar geolocation operation (although it may also rely on the locale of your Operating System as well) to detect which country you're in when you install it.

That's nice as a time saving feature, although I hope there's a way to change it in the future (because not every person living in a country necessarily comes from that country - thinking of people who have permanently emigrated to another country here, or those people who are on holiday in another country).

Anyway - if you want to know what I thought about Chrome as I reviewed it, just head over to my twitter profile and look at all the tweets labeled GCreview - or use flaptor (recommended, a simple URL hack shows my tweets from oldest -> newest, making them easier to follow), Summize (also good - click here for the tweets, start from the bottom and read up), or tweetscan, and look for all posts containing 'GCreview' from the user 'christopherw'.< From initial observations, Chrome is obviously positioned as a little sideswipe at Microsoft with its forthcoming browser - features such as Incognito Mode and enhanced modular handling of tabs' memoryspaces suggests that they have more coming. Unfortunately, there's just a few too many gaps in the user experience to warrant it becoming a regular browser, but hopefully using the Google Updater infrastructure they already have in place for the toolbar and other apps, this can be improved by pushing out new builds quickly and efficiently.

Underneath the surface, the browser uses WebKit, with some enhancements (the new 'V8' Javascript engine for example, plus the aforementioned modularisation of tabs' memoryspaces, meaning that one crashed tab won't necessarily take down all the others with it, one of my primary annoyances with other browsers)

According to the About dialog, my current version is

Official Build 1583

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/525.13

And IPChicken accordingly reports the raw user-agent as

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/525.13

... Which corroborates their claim that it shares some components with Firefox and Safari (indeed, the import of my bookmarks and favourites looked very similar to Firefox's import facility). For the moment, it's a good nascent start to what could well wind up being a very potent little utility. They need to make it downloadable (and portable, that'd be even better!) as it has some nifty security features. For now though, having done all the tests I need to to make sure my own code stands up to yet another browser's rendering engine, I'll sit this one out for a little while and wait for the second revision of Chrome to be pushed down to my machine. There's just a few too many little 'nags' and features missing for me to be happy with this as my primary or secondary browser.

My final thought for the moment is an annoyance: it sometimes makes pointless noises. If you open a new tab in Chrome, then click out of the address bar (so it loses focus), then press Alt+D again to bring focus back (to type something in)... Chrome prompts Windows to make the 'Windows XP Ding' noise. Why? It's completely unnecessary, and gets quite annoying after a while. Should I be reminded that I've just given focus to the Address Bar each time I press the appropriate key combination?

Chrome does this whether you hit Alt+D on a new tab or in an existing tab where you've been clicking around or working, and you suddenly decide to go to another web site. Grr. Anyway, I'm sure it's on their buglist to fix in the next revision.

Found anything I've missed? Like to comment on anything I've said or think I've missed something fundamental? Feel free to reply to this entry below, I look forward to reading your comments and opinions. Let the browser wars re-commence!

[Update: ...And this is what happens when a plugin crashes (click for full size):

Image courtesy of Brian Butterworth, freeview.tv<

[Update 2: Courtesy of twitscoop, a nice realtime-generated graph showing just how the blogosphere has jumped onto Chrome like a shiny thing [I'll get my coat]:

More stats, and realtime twittersphere tracking here.

1 Comment:

  1. Valentine said...
    About the XP-ding noise. I'd love to know the reason for it. It sounds like I'm doing something wrong when I hit Alt+D. If I press F6, which also focuses the addressbar there is no ding. But using F6 is horrible, I have to move my hand over half the keyboard, and focusing the address bar is probable the most common thing you do in a browser.

Post a Comment


Copyright 2006 onwards Christopher Woods. Some Rights Reserved.
ITU uses a (highly) modified version of the K2 theme by GeckoandFly,
originally Bloggerised by Blogcrowds. Credit where credit's due. :)

Into The Unknown is licenced under a Creative Commons License.
(Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales, Some Rights Reserved).

Creative Commons License