The Frugal Browser: Google Chrome Reviewed

I’ll admit that when Google Chrome was first announced I was a little frightened at the idea of the company that has a near-monopoly on your every move online now has a browser that will no-doubt become one of the big hitters in a short period of time. Google Chrome has a very interesting set of theories behind it, and each one changes the way browsers function under the hood.

Let’s first take a look at the user interface. Browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox have added panels, toolbars, and various other equipment to the top and bottom of your browsing experience over time, giving you less real estate to view the websites you’re trying to browse. Google Chrome throws all of that away, and surprisingly has just one bar with a search/address function and options. You can add a bookmarks bar, but that’s pretty much it. This is as streamlined as a browser can be, and it does not leave you thinking it’s shorting you any user experience. This browser puts the page you’re viewing at front and center.

This browser is built to handle web applications with scripting in check. Each tab has its own sandbox that keeps your browser from crashing entirely if one site with a bad script happens to cause things to go crazy. If one tabbed website is causing trouble only that tab will be effected, keeping each tab in its own process. This is magic in so many ways for anyone that deals with a lot of intensive web applications.

They improved speed and responsiveness across the board, mainly by using WebKit as their base engine. This makes Google Chrome a cousin to Apple’s Safari browser. This may or may not have been a brilliant move by Google, considering the vetted Safari browser has recently been under attack for having quite a few security holes. Keep in mind with any browser, it takes time to plug the various flaws built in to the system.

Google Chrome utilizes a new JavaScript engine called V8 which is poised to handle more powerful web applications than the ones currently available today. This might be a really big deal down the road, so keeping an eye on this particular feature is advised. Google is not known for creating anything it isn’t already set to utilize.

Google is presenting their new browser as an open source project, which will have remarkable appeal to the open source communities. Google is taking an interesting leap forward with this new browser and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead. As a side note, however, I believe it might be a little intimidating to see such an overwhelmingly powerful and all-knowing company like Google throw their hat in to a new arena in such a bold move. This reminds me of Apple taking the leap in to the phone business, and it makes me wonder just how many people are going to make the switch to Chrome now that it’s advertised on Google’s front page.

I’m liking my experience on this browser quite a lot. This is a very well-rounded experience that makes me appreciate Google’s niche at minimalism. They never overdo user interfaces, and that may be one of the lessons other browsers can take from this. Less is more.

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