Well, I have it. You download it directly from the Google site and, well, I’m underwhelmed.
Like a lot of Google products, it’s not flashy at all. Indeed, a browser is hardly very sexy but I think Google has managed to make it even less so. It’s practical but not much else.
But the thing that stands out, or rather doesn’t, is it’s total lack of anything that makes it worth having over, say, Firefox. There’s no plugins, no way of synchronising my bookmarks. In fact, I’ve just moved over to the tagging function in Firefox 3 so all my bookmarks are now in totally disorganised folders and I rely on the tags to find what I want. That functionality isn’t in Chrome but, instead, it ports over my messy folders.
They’ve tried to be different by moving the tabs to the very top of the window and by having a “funky” home page (but nothing different to what Opera and Firefox can do, with the help of a plugin).
The Acid3 test fails – which is odd, as it’s based on Web Kit and Safari has got it to pass. Weird.
Install size wise, Chrome takes up about twice the footprint of Firefox and, for some reason, it doesn’t install in your usual Program Files folder, but a hidden Application Data folder instead.
Running, Chrome has about a 15 MB smaller footprint in memory than Firefox but as the technical guy from Adobe was most adamant about – memory size means very little in these days of virtual, paging memory. Launching Gmail in both increases both by a further 35 MB, so the 15 MB difference remains. Speed wise, well I don’t have proper testing facilities, but they appeared to be very similar, although Chrome does appear to be a lot quicker at launching.
Java doesn’t appear to work with Chrome but Flash and Shockwave test fine. I hit it a bit harder with high quality, full screen iPlayer, but it didn’t bat an eyelash. However, I noticed some weird corrupting of the text in the top left hand corner of the BBC page – something I couldn’t recreate even in Safari.
One nice addition is the ability to create “an application” out of a webpage – essential this is a shortcut to Chrome where the site will run without the usual toolbars, etc – I assume this is for running the various online Google apps. Nice, but as I’ve demonstrated within this blog, it can be done easily with IE and, I’m sure, Firefox as well.
[review]Java not working is a bit of an issue but surely the lack of any kind of plugin functionality is really going to impact on Chrome’s popularity. Conclusion… unimpressed. But I look forward to future releases.[/review]