I counted down the days until Google's new browser Chrome would be available to download. Initially, I was hooked on it, but each day I find myself clicking that familiar Firefox logo more and more. For those Mac users who can't download it yet, here's a quick review of features.
The good things:
- Tabs on top. While Firefox and IE (ewww) have tabs below the address/favorites toolbar, Chrome does the opposite. The tabs are located at the very top of the page, so that each tab has the feel of being its own little window.
- Full-screen feel. Tabs on top and lack of a file menu give Chrome the feel of a full-screen all the time. It's a really effective use of screen space.
- Speed dial. For those of you who have never used Opera browser, Speed dial is a set of "most visited" sites that appears when you open a new tab. Speed dial goes beyond a basic list and shows the actual screenshots of your top pages. While convenient, for our multi-tasking generation, it can also be very distracting.
- Resizable text boxes. This wasn't a feature I saw a lot of publicizing about. But, when I started using Chrome, I realized that my text boxes on Gmail's chat feature and on Facebook comments had a draggable corner for resizing. As trivial as it seems, I always want. I hate having to scroll to read what I'm writing.
- Clean design. The sleek, classy look of Chrome means a lot in a browser. I often find in Firefox that the top navigation feels cluttered and messy, so I'm constantly renaming bookmarks to shorter words to make it feel more clean. Not the case with Chrome. Google knows simplicity like no other.
- Dragging out tabs. Sometimes you just have one tab that deserves its own window. In Firefox, you have to copy that URL, open a new window, then paste it again. In chrome you just drag it out. Why didn't we think of this before?
- Ads misplaced. When using Myspace, I found that ads from the right side of the page (presumably placed in iframes) were somehow bumped to the middle of the page, covering content. I'm sure it's a little bug they'll work out.
- Can't type keywords into address bar. For example, on Firefox, if I were to type "Mustang Daily" into the address bar (no http:// or www or .com), I would automatically be directed to the top search result for Mustang Daily. Although you'd assume Google would follow suit (much like the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button on Google homepage), it does not work so flawlessly. Instead, it takes you to a Google search results page of listings.
- Security issues. In Firefox, to retrieve saved passwords, there is an option for a required "Master password." This means, if someone steals your laptop and tries to view all your passwords, they can't access that information without having an additional password. Google hasn't stepped up its security game yet. If you save your passwords and someone steals your laptop, you're SOL without a master key.
- The logo. Although this has nothing to do with how the browser functions, having to look at that logo drives me crazy sometimes. The older generation probably doesn't get it, but for generation y, notice how it resembles a multi-colored pokeball from Pokemon. Yuck.