Google Chrome

The big news today is the release of Google’s new web browser, Chrome. The big ‘selling point’ for Chrome is it is faster because of the way it handles the tabs. Unlike Firefox, IE, Netscape, Opera, etc. where the browser is one huge process, Chrome allocates a process to each tab. So if there is a problem says JavaScript is hung-up in one of the tabs, only that tab will go down, not the entire browser. However, something doesn’t seem to make sense here. The screen shot below of my task manager was taken with Chrome open with 6 tabs, so then why do I have 8 processes for chrome.exe? Further there is no way to tell what process is associated with which tab unless you look at the order your tabs are opened.

Click for full-sized image

It does appear to load pages bit faster than Firefox and handles YouTube videos well. However, it did seem to get a little choked up when I tried to load My Yahoo! Home Page.

There are some weird things about Chrome. For instance, by default the ‘Home’ button is not displayed. But then again, I got to thinking how often do I use the ‘Home’ button in Firefox? Close to never. I always have my home page opened in one of the many tabs I have open. But still, why hide the button by default? Further I find it humorous that my default search engine is Yahoo! (this is after all a Google product). Also for whatever reason, I can not get to my Windows Taskbar (auto-hide) when Chrome is open. Lastly, there is no status bar, or even an option (at least that I could see) to enable one.

Chrome Options

Some of the other features of Chrome include an integrated search/address bar. Also, when you open a new tab you get a screen which allows you to perform a Google search or go to one of the sites you have visited most or chose from recent bookmarks.

New Tab Content

Chrome is fast for the most part and is simple. Great for people who don’t use the web that heavily or may be use a lot JavaScipt content where keeping the tabs as separate processes would come in handy. It is a nice and simple alternative to Internet Exploiter. Would it be something that would replace Firefox, no. For those who use Firefox would find they would be lost without a lot of the functionality they get from extensions. Oh and one more thing, it may not import your settings from Firefox, only Internet Exploiter.

32 Comments on Google Chrome

  1. David Gerard | September 2, 2008 at 4:22 PM |

    “We are so, so happy with Google Chrome,” mumbled Mozilla CEO John Lilly through gritted teeth. “That most of our income is from Google has no bearing on me making this statement.” –

  2. i’m willing to try it out just to see if it works more efficiently than FireFox… if it’s faster than Firefox, has tabs and isn’t IE, then i’ll use it

  3. It imported my Firefox bookmarks just fine.

  4. If you press Shift+Esc from within Chrome you’ll get an in-app “task manager” for your open tabs.

  5. I chose a “custom” installation and then was able to select importation of my Firefox bookmarks. Seemed to work just fine.

    Also, type about:memory and get a memory report. I was running both Firefox and chrome at the same time and it actually showed a comparison between the two. Appears to be using about 1/2 the “real” memory of Firefox, but the other memory usage types are a bit funky.

    type about:cache and get a list of cached items.

    Seems “cute” but no stunner. Maybe once more “plugins” are released and it can be modded….

    I give it a few days (few weeks tops) of attention before the tech-o-sphere has enough and moves on. Then Google coders will be able to slowly and quietly march forward with mods/tweaks and stealthy improvements.

    I’m with you. I’m not going to abandon anytime soon for Chrome. To be honest it is a curiosity at the moment and comes in steps below Firefox, Opera, Safari for Windows, heck even IE 8 beta. But I have a gnawing suspicion that it’s plain simplicity will appeal to certain groups of web-sufers (young/old/NetNoobs) and it will gain a small but faithful niche following.

    And for Google, that’s likely to be counted a big success!

  6. 1. Shift-escape shows the chrome task manager. You have 8 processes running because of 6tabs + chrome itself + a plugin of some sort (probably shockwave) = 8. Check the taskmanager to find out what.

    2. Default search engine is your default one from IE or FF. It was google for me.

    3. Extension support not yet include, it’s the first day of the first beta.

    4. Chrome WILL import FF history, bookmarks, and passwords, etc. You wouldn’t want to important settings from another app.

  7. Hi,

    If you look further into Google Chrome (I’m using it right now) you will see that everything does make sense.

    I am a web developer and know 10+ languages, and proficient in most of them, expert in some, have been using the internet for over 13 years… I’m not some “young/old/netnoob”.

    I won’t switch away from Firefox until they have extensions, obviously, but the points you brought up… well let’s just look at them:

    1) You said there are 6 tabs but 8 processed, why is that? If you read (they have a 40 page comic explaining everything) They not only have an individual processor for each tab, but for each plugin, like Flash on a web page. This will show you what is eating your memory CPU, and it’s great for testing.

    As mentioned by Claus Valca, hit Shift + Esq and you can see what each tab and process is in Chrome, you can close them individually and everything will run fine.

    2) I don’t believe Yahoo is the default. It wasn’t for me. I imported my settings (from Firefox, which worked completely fine). Google is my homepage and so is it still. Why remove the home button? Even you said it yourself, it’s rarely used. They are keeping the interface as CLEAN as possible as is Google’s style. Remember when Google first came out, how clean it was in comparison to Yahoo! Homepage?

    3) Yes, yes there is a status bar. It just isn’t there by default so you have maximum page viewability. Hover your cursor over a link and look in the bottom left-hand corner. Or when you go to a page, it will say something like “Resolving host…”.

    As for Yahoo! Home Page loading slowly… what uncached browser doesn’t load it slowly? As for not autohiding your task bar, I agree, that is something that would need to be worked on. It’s not perfect, but it’s still in beta. I think it will easily be competition for Firefox, and Firefox has got to step up and use some of their code if they will want to stay in the race, which I believe they will.

    I love Firefox and have been a supporter for years, just don’t dismiss Chrome because of your love for it.

  8. First impressions are good. Simplicity IS the key word here, no excess baggage. Everything imported from my FF install no problems and all my favorite websites so far appear to function without issue. Faster than FF? I would have to say yes, noticeably, but not blistering.
    The taskbar hiding problem was a real pain to start with but I manually resized the Chrome Window to not quite maximized and that has overcome the issue for now, I’m sure Google have been bombarded by reports about this by now and a fix is imminent. For me at the moment it won’t be replacing FF but I will certainly be looking to put it on my kids computers as a ‘no frills’ browser for them to use.

    Overall, thumbs up Google.

  9. Chrome processes. In regards to the extra processes I ha just one tab my My Yahoo home page but 2 processes running when I did the Shift/Esc. It appears the Chrome Browser itself is 1 process and the tab within it another. I say this because it identified one process as simply Browser and the other as Tab – My Yahoo

  10. I had no problems with importing my settings from Firefox. What bugged me most was that the language was automatically localized to Bulgarian (my native language) and it took me 10-15 minutes to set it to English.

  11. On installation, Chrome offered to import my Firefox bookmarks… and not my IE Favorites. Good taste, I thought 😉

    I’m finding many of my Firefox extensions aren’t necessary with Chrome, but the one thing that I’m finding really awkward is the lack of either a “copy as plain text” or a “paste special” editing function. On a browser intended for use as with web apps like Gmail, Gdocs, and Blogger, this is an oversight.

    Last night I pasted content from another blog into the Blogger post editor, and my formatting went all over the place. When I tried to correct it, I ended up with a horrible mash of mucky html – reminded me of html generated by MS Word 2000 – yuk! – and full of odd tags such as [span class=”Apple-style-span”] (replace square with angle brackets) that weren’t there in the orignal post, and weren’t there in the material I’d pasted in.

    I had to copy the HTML into Notepad2 and take out the worst of the rubbish, but it still ain’t elegant, and it rather defeats the point of “everything in the browser”, as would using an external app like Windows Live Writer as a post editor. (WLW has an excellent paste special function.)

    Otherwise, it’s fast, stable and clean – and the download manager’s a dream, as is the very neat “find-in-page”.

    Last thought – no status bar? Doesn’t really need one – there’s a little field bottom left where status information pops up when relevant, and disappears when done. Nice!

    Overall, I like Chrome. No, it’s not a Firefox killer – but it’s a far more usable browser than IE or Safari, and more likeable somehow than Opera.

  12. I could not get Chrome to import Firefox settings at all. It never offered the option and choosing to import bookmarks from the options, only IE bookmarks are an option, not FireFox. I am using the latest version of FireFox but Chrome does not seem to see it at all. I am curious how other people are getting it to work.

  13. I’m using Firefox version 2, and it worked just fine, importing my settings without a hitch. Perhaps that is the key?

  14. I’ve installed Chrome on 3 machines – 2 of them automatically “found” and imported my Firefox settings, but my home machine only recognizes IE. Firefox is my default browser, so I’m puzzled and trying to find a solution as well…

  15. I have been using it and can assure you there is a home button, you just have to add it from the options menu… I have found some of the text is blurred though, but that is probably just a minor glitch!

  16. too bad it doesn’t handle expressions in CSS

  17. i probably should try this

  18. Yahoo! is default search engine – not true (and it wouldn´t make sense)
    Doesn´t import Firefox settings – not true
    Calling Internet Explorer Internet Exploiter is ‘funny’

  19. Funny half the things you wrote happened exactly the opposite with me …

    Yahoo my home rendered very quickly, Youtube was the biggest problem! Whole system froze many times… Firefox settings were easily imported !! (Actually it imports settings from the default browser … my guess) and google was the default search for me !!

  20. Gary M. Mugford | September 3, 2008 at 11:25 AM |

    For me, Chrome will be a viable option on my desktop … when I am working in the Google cloud. Obviously, Chrome will be optimized to work with Google Apps. So why not use it, when working there–if you work there?

    Otherwise, I’ll continue using Firefox. Heck, now that I’ve seen that the latest TabMix 3.01-capable add-in fixes that idiotic folder-clicking behaviour that ignores the “when I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately” setting, which I leave unchecked, I’m even going to upgrade from FF2 this weekend.

    Nothing in Chrome has me re-thinking that plan at all. Nothing in Firefox has me thinking I won’t have Chrome at least available.

  21. One problem for people like me that have a proprietary system (Gateway) is that it will only work if you’re at least running XP SP2. If you aren’t or can’t (in my case) run at least service pack 2 then you’re sadly out of luck. Oh well….. at least I can still run FF, Opera, and K-Meleon (my preferred main browser) without a hitch.

  22. Immanuel Kant | September 3, 2008 at 9:37 PM |


    Found Google Chrome to be very fast/intuitive; it opened pages probably 1.8 times faster on both my old (Pentium 3) and new (AMD ATHLON 64 X2) PCs.

    The status bar does exist; hover over a link for instance a fancy thingy with the links address fades in though it does not tell how much you are zoomed etcetera (How using this)

    The only problem I found, except the autohide things, was that I could not scroll up using the wheel on my mouse for some reason, could scroll down though (Weird Aye ?). Such issues are however to be expected; this program is in a beta stage.

    All over I must say, I found to be the best browser in user experience to date, something like a neater looking Mozilla. Also, resizing textboxes was nice.

    Lastly, the plugin problem will resolve as the program is in a later stage of developement and my principle complaint is that it is not yet released for Linux; I had to install my copy of Vista again to try it :p. Also, it would be good if Google was to develop it to be compatible with Firefox plugins/extensions. Finally finally, it would also be good for them to enable user to zoom in/out using Ctrl+_ mouse wheel

    La forta knabo estas.

  23. I see I’m not the only one who’s been having trouble with Chrome not allowing me to get to my task bar when full screen. I know it sounds like a small thing, but it’s really annoying not seeing the Windows task bar.

    Aside from that, this is a really nice browser. Having all the tabs, plugins and JavaScript in separate processes is VERY nice (and it’s about damn time someone did that), the minimalist GUI is great (you kind of get used to FF or IE taking up the top 150-200 odd pixels until it isn’t there any more), it just needs a few more settings that can be changed.

    Aside from the covering of Windows Task Bar, the only other problem I’ve had with Chrome is that it doesn’t play nice with the Java proxy at uni. Kind of ironic since it’s supposed to be so good with JavaScript 😛 But then again, it’s more likely the proxy’s fault *hates on the proxy some more*


  24. You’ve done a very poor job at reviewing Chrome, in my opinion. Many “issues” like the status bar (which only appears on the bottom left corner when there is any activity) or the task manager issue (where you can control each tab individually from INSIDE chrome – right click the tab and select Task Manager) are actually flawed design features of the current popular browsers, that Google has addressed and seemingly fixed – or at least revolutionized.

    Perhaps rather than jumping to put an article out there ASAP, you should have taken a few more hours of exploring.

    My $.02

  25. @Ovi a lot of this was addressed in the follow up post. This was post was more of ‘first thoughts’ in using Chrome.

  26. David Espinal | September 7, 2008 at 4:22 PM |

    yes , with Chrome you can see that Flash and other plugins are the responsable for the high memory consume when you are browsing on the web , not the browser in self

  27. Vishal Pipraiya | September 8, 2008 at 1:31 AM |

    I think it allows you to import bookmarks during installation from whichever is your existing default browser at that time.

    I installed it at work where IE is default (firefox is secondary) and it gave the option to import them from IE.

    I installed it at home where firefox is default (IE is secondary) and it gave the option to import from Firefox.

  28. drutakatalyna | September 22, 2008 at 8:45 AM |

    Test measurements on Google CHrome with our product revealed that it’s faster than Firefox 3.0 and it’s way ahead IE 6. See the graphs:

  29. I have installed chrome today and its working fine.

    but, whenever I try to change network settings (LAN), its showing me the network settings of IE. but, I want chrome to display the network settings of Firefox, as it was the default browser previously. I don’t want to use IE settings anyway.

  30. I dont browse the net now without a anonymous proxy like, it protects my computer from the nasties on the net

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