Launched just one week ago, Google Chrome really managed to generate some buzz. After using it for about 6 days, these are the things I like (for now) about it:
- It's fast. Until now I considered Opera to be the fastest one, but after using Google Chrome on websites that take forever to load (i.e. Digg) on Firefox/IE, Chrome is my new winner. I don't know if it's because the engine they use (webkit), the fact that each tab it's actually a different process, or simply because their developers are that good, but Google Chrome's main advantage is that is fast and uses less resources than FireFox, IE or even Opera.
- It's open source. The fact that it's open source gives me less reasons to doubt on what Google collects regarding my browsing habits, as if there was any suspicious code someone would have found it (then again, it's been only one week). Plus, open source means that plugins, addons, themes will be there to follow from 3rd party developers (just like FireFox). And full of hope I say that maybe a RoboForm addon will follow.
- The Incognito window. It's not that I don't have the cache emptied each time I close my current main browser (Maxthon), but the Incognito mode Google Chrome gives you a certain trust that what you do on the web will be known only by you (and hopefully not by Google too). No wonder they call the Incognito window "porn mode". However, there are certain things that you don't want your employer to see you've visited (job sites), or your girlfriend (gift ideas) and so on.
- Google Chrome's Task Manager. This is just lovely. You right-click Chrome's taskbar icon (or the top window of the browser), select Task Manager and there it is, a way to kill individual tabs in the browser that are slowing you down. Countless times I had problems with Maxthon/Firefox where a tab would simply block the entire session. Not to mention the Stats for Nerds feature where you see much more information about memory consumed by each tab. Bravo, any chance a keyboard shortcut will be added for this?
- Type and search. You type a word in the address field, and you see search results for it. Same behavior Maxthon has and I love that they've added it in the first beta version.
- Startup history, search downloads, history. In a similar way that Opera shows it, the Startup history page shows you the nine most visited websites from your browsing history (if you haven't been using Incognito mode). Plus, you get to use Google's search engine for the downloads and the history.
- Scroll-wheel click-n-close. If you have multiple tabs opened, you can close one of the existing tabs by clicking on your scroll-wheel (if your mouse supports this). However I wonder why they haven't added the double-click to close behavior, but there's still time.
- Import bookmarks and settings. You can import bookmarks, history and saved passwords from other browsers. Another plus.
- Tabs on top of the address bar. Unlike the other browsers, they've moved the tabs above the address bar. I don't know if I like it because it's simply different, but I consider it to be more intuitive than the way the other browsers do it.
- Shortcuts to web applications. Almost forgot about this, but I like their way of letting you create shortcuts for certain web applications (gmail, analytics) and when you double-click that from your desktop you can work only on that (no other things loaded to consume memory, like address bar, bookmarks, ...).
- Paste and go. I remember the first browser to introduce this functionality was Opera, where you copy a link, go to the address bar, right-click and select Paste and Go. After that it was added in other browsers too, as in Maxthon. Google Chrome has it, and the nice part is that you don't have to select the entire existing address from the address bar to use the Paste and Go option, you simply have to right-click in there. Plus, if you have selected a bunch of text, the option transforms into Paste and Search.
- Chrome Calculator. If you start writing in the address bar, Chrome returns suggestions based either on your history or its internal search. However, you can also use Google Calculator this way. Try typing 1230 divided by 5, you'll see that you get a Search Google for = 246 which is the result of the calculation. This works with many other things, for instance 10 km in miles will show you the exact conversion result. It seems not all conversions are available, as in Google Calculator, for instance currency conversions. Anyway, a nice trick.
- Resizable text area. This is nice too, in Google Chrome you can resize text areas. For instance if you want to post a reply to this topic, you'll see in the text area where text is entered that the lower right corner can be dragged to enlarge it. This seems to work with text areas only.
- Drag-and-drop. I've mentioned that you can drag tabs in between windows, or if you drag a tab outside Chrome's window it will detach. However, I just noticed that you can drag many other things outside Chrome's window. For instance, if you click an image and drag it outside Chrome's window and let go, that image will be saved on your computer. This works with hyperlinks too, if you drag a link and drop it outside Chrome it will create a shortcut to that page. Also, if a download is finished, you can drag that from the Downloads page of Google Chrome somewhere on your computer and it will be copied there.
- Small other things. Like the fact you can right-click a link and tell Google Chrome to open it in a new Incognito window, or how you can select a piece of text and tell it to search for it, or the developer section (which I still wish would transform into something like Firebug) and not to mention the fact that you can play around with the opened tabs any way you want (move them from one window to another, drag them outside a window to create a new one).
Anyway, these were a couple of things I observed during the course of the 6 days I used Google Chrome from time to time. However, the major thing before I would completely switch to it would be a RoboForm integration. Until then, I'll use it from time to time when I want to read a page heavily loaded with JS. These were some things I like about Google Chrome, I'll do another post with what needs to be improved to make it the super-browser we all are still waiting for.