Get off my lawn.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


(No, not the shiny metal that comes on aftermarket Harley parts, or the idiotic Trace Adkins song that makes me want to stab myself in the ears with an icepick.)

I'm also not referring to the "chrome" that lurks in the belly of the Firefox web browser. 

"Chrome" is Google's new browser that they apparently developed either in total secret, or cranked out overnight between Labor Day and today. 

I'm using it right now, on Windows. I haven't formed an educated opinion about it yet, but I'm not letting that stop me from posting something about it for the whole world to read. 

Here's what I know in the 2 minutes I've used it:

First of all, it's fast. Firefox 3 was a noticeable improvement in browser speed over Firefox 2, which itself is many times faster (and better) than Internet Explorer. This is a big improvement over Firefox 3, even on this Windows box I'm using, which typically feels a little bit sluggish.

Chrome runs each tab in a separate process. Right now, I have one Chrome browser running with 4 tabs open, and there's a separate chrome.exe process running for each tab. There's a couple of other ones too, and I figure they're probably just there because it's a Windows tradition to run extra stuff for the purpose of junking things up a bit. (Nice job, Google.) Google chose to run each tab in its own process to help prevent memory fragmentation, which results in eventual memory bloat when the browser has been running a long time. 

Most of the shortcut keys I'm familiar with in Firefox seem to work here. Except F11 for full-screen. In any case, the familiarity is a good thing, because there's no menu at the top of the Chrome window. I have no idea how I'm going to get into the preferences window and screw around with Chrome's settings.

No, wait... scratch that. There's no menu, but there is a little picture of a wrench, which gets you to a bunch of settings. There's also a picture of a document, which for some reason is the entry point for a plethora of other things. These include a JavaScript console, a debugger, and a task manager so you can kill tabs that are running wild on your system.

Google has published a whole document about the design of Chrome, with hand-drawn appearances by some of the industry's leading minds in browser design. Pretty informative, and it also reminds me of those Gospel tracts that Chick Publications has been putting out for 40 years.

Chrome features the ability to open an "incognito window" for anonymous web surfing. It deletes all cookies after an incognito session, and doesn't remember anything about what you've been doing (unless you download a file or something). This is analogous to a feature Microsoft is calling "Porn Mode" in its upcoming browser, IE8. Firefox doesn't have that feature, that I know of.

So far, I'm impressed. It seems to be a pretty cool browser, for people who get excited about that kind of thing. 


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