Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Monday, September 08, 2008

Have you tried Google Chrome?

As written about by Bob Toovey over on Computing in France, and announced Google's own Blog and on countless Websites last week, Google have decided to go head-to-head with Microsoft and Firefox and launch their own browser, Google Chrome.

Google have written a lovely cartoon to explain what Chrome's all about, but cutting to the chase, what's it like?

Well firstly it's absolutely blindingly fast. I just can't believe how fast it is, most pages render before they've seemingly had time to download, and it brings a real pleasure to browsing the web again.

Obvious parallels will be drawn with Firefox and from all accounts it's going down a storm across the Internet despite the beta and Windows-only situation. Over on ZDNet for instance they're already reporting that Chrome has overtaken Opera in browser popularity.

When I first heard the news I couldn't understand why Google had decided to build their own browser when they already make a massive funding contribution to Firefox, my initial thought was "surely they would have been better just improving Firefox?". But now I've tried it out I can see why they decided to plough their own furrow a bit.

You could be cynical and take the view that Google want to control everything on the Internet, starting with the browser and working backwards, but I don't think this is the case with Chrome on the desktop at least (on mobile devices it could be a different matter once Chrome finds its way into Android, Google's long awaited mobile operating system).

As Chrome is Open Source there's sure to be bits that find their way into Firefox and vice-versa. Many users are already complaining that their Firefox favourite plugins are missing in Chrome and I do agree with them, the lack of Mouse Gestures and Adblock are the two things I miss the most, closely followed by GreaseMonkey and a few of my favourite scripts (especially the Greasemonkey scripts I use to improve Blogger). I'm sure these gaps will be quickly filled and doubtless some form of Firefox/Chrome cross-browser plugin support mechanism will emerge.

I'm pleased to say my own website appears to work perfectly in Chrome and so far I've not found anything else that doesn't display properly.

So give Google Chrome a whirl, I think it's not going to be disappearing quickly.

Update 9th Sept: I spoke too soon about Chrome's great website compatibility. Discovered tonight that it doesn't work with the Flickr Photo Uploader



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