Chrome is good but can be better

By | September 6, 2008

A few days ago, Google unveiled its latest product, Google Chrome, and since then, everyone is talking about it everywhere. I downloaded it as well, and put it through some test runs. So far, I’m not blown away by it, but then again, it is a capable browser that should get better and better in the near future, assuming Google is listening to all the feedback.

If you’re a Web developer you might be a little more than picky about its features, or lack of them. But if you’re an ordinary user, I suppose Chrome is adequate for use even right now though it is in beta (isn’t it with many other Google products?).

There are a bunch of sites that have sprung up overnight, dedicated to Chrome alone, in addition to all the major tech sites, so users who want to follow Chrome closely have no shortage of resources. Some quick observations:

Chrome Styles – The default blue look of Chrome is really sparse for my taste and I don’t exactly like it. But you can change the look and the color quite easily by installing a new theme. A new site where you can find Chrome themes is Chrome Styles.

Page load speed – Google Chrome is touted as the fastest browser around, and that is probably its main selling point. I didn’t find it as fast as I thought it would be though. If you based it on this test at Cnet, you’d imagine Chrome to be really much faster. Lifehacker carried out a rather more realistic series of tests. The verdict is all quite favorable – Chrome is definitely fast, and for a first release, it is competitive enough to run with the best.

Bookmark management and toolbars – Bookmark management is a major gripe from all those Firefox users mostly because it is really sparse in Chrome. I have a ton of bookmarks right now which would be not easy to organize in Chrome. I’m also in favor of toolbars, but there is no toolbar feature in Chrome.

Spell Check – A spell check mechanism that suggests correct spelling would be useful indeed. It’s not implemented in Chrome yet.

There has been talk about a “serious” security issue with Chrome, but I’m sure that will be fixed soon. Unless you’re a surfer with seriously loose surfing habits, it’s not something to be really worried about.

On claims that Google owns rights to the content that you post through Chrome, and that it is written in the EULA (End User License Agreement) I find NO evidence of this at all. I’ve read that EULA again and again and instead this is what is written in paragraph 11.1.

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.”

So, relax. Other than Google owning all their proprietary rights in Chrome (an open source project as it is) just like Mozilla owns all theirs in Firefox, it is not something to get hung up over. Chrome should be welcomed, because increased competition in the browser wars will only spur more development and improvements in all the browsers – which ultimately has a way of benefiting the end user in the end.

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