Tuesday, January 26, 2010 | Posted by Jay
Unless you live under a rock and don't concern yourself much with the digital age, you'll remember that Google came up with a new browser Google Chrome
in late 2008 for Windows PC. Late last year they just released the Beta version for Mac users.
Yay for another browser to deal with? XP
After a few weeks of working with Chrome, I came up with a few observations versus Safari (my primary browser as I am a devout mac user) and Firefox. Please note that this review doesn't compare browser stats such as browser speed or coding differences. This is just my take on the convenience and user-friendliness of a new piece of software.
Neat and convenient features in Chrome
1. A smarter way of opening links in new tabs
Gotta love this one. Rather than opening links in new tabs at the very end of the chronological line of other open tabs, you can open a new link in a tab that shows up next to the tab you're currently on. It's a small detail that saves you the trouble of sorting through all the other tabs you've got open in a smarter, relative order.
2. Dynamic Downloads at the bottom of the window
This one is a step up from a feature already in the newest version of Firefox 3.5.5. When you download something, it shows up at the foot of the browser window. You get the see the progress bar while browsing through other stuff, and you also get to manage the files without opening a Downloads window.
3. Pretty History Listings
This isn't usually an important feature to me, and it certainly isn't something new, but the way Chrome cleans everything up in a more reader-friendly format instead of the traditional listing of garbled and encoded links and timestamps. Very clean user interface here.
4. New Tab: Top Sites
When you open a new blank tab, you arrive at a default page with a customizable "top sites" list in thumbnail format (you can change this to textual lists). This isn't something we haven't seen before - Apple developed a much prettier version of this in Safari (compare the screenshot of Chrome on the left vs the screenshot of Safari 4.0.4 on the right). What IS new in Chrome is you have a few more options in choosing which sites you want listed, such as Recently Closed sites.
5. Googling: Even Easier
This is a really nifty feature where you can google directly on the search bar itself. Keeps things simple and clear, instead of having to install extra toolbars to use the world's favorite search engine. On a side note, I admire the fact that you can figure this out almost intuitively (I almost never read manuals or how-to documents, so I can appreciate the dummy-efficiency).
Not so convenient things about Chrome
1. No RSS Feed Reader?
This was the biggest problem I had with Chrome - enough that I decided to switch back to Safari and Firefox. I use feeds all the time to check on updates from my favorite sites, and i was very disappointed to find that (1) Chrome does not have a feed reader that can list everything in a neat, human-readable format and (2) Chrome does not offer a default solution to notify me when there IS an update (i.e. in Safari, there's a little parenthesis "(5)" next to the feed bookmark, telling me how many new updates were made since I last visited).
Google addressed this issue this month and there is indeed a "bookmarklet" script you can install.
2. Gmail Error
Google Chrome 4 - "Some Gmail features have failed to load"
Google Chrome 4 users might see this error message on trying to sign in. To work around this issue, you can either try another browser or use a different version of Google Chrome, either the current stable version or a dev channel version after rev. 35761.
Well I wasn't so sure what to think of this one. I hit this error several times with my Gmail account using Google's own Chrome browser. But apparently this is a known issue in the beta, so hopefully this will be fixed soon.
Overall though, I did enjoy the thrill of playing around with a new browser. Google certainly has enough reputation to warrant a look at their newest project.
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Who is behind TJN?
Read more about Jay
My name is Jay Lee, and I have traveled to the East Coast of the United States, studied in Kyoto, Japan for a time, and currently live in Southern California.
My preferred art mediums include: digital on adobe products, corel, web; fine on oil-on-canvas or charcoal; photography in black and white, with a focus on portraiture and music; and classical music on piano.
I work as a graphic designer and web developer with a primary interest in marketing, advertising, and business.