Preview: Google Chrome

Google Chrome

It has been a week since Google’s much hyped “Chrome” browser was launched as a beta version. It has already claimed to have grabbed more than 1% of the global browser market. It created a record of sort by taking over 1% share of the global market within four days of its launch. But analysts say it will take a long while to unseat Microsoft’s Internet Explorer which controls over 72% of the market. Analysts say the user group mainly belongs to the tech fraternity and users who actively use only Google web search, Gmail, Google reader and blogs.

Although Google has been working on Chrome for two years, it still considers the browser a beta version. The company was using the browser internally among its employees for some time, but its surprise unveiling last week set the browser loose to the general public in more than two dozen languages.

To start with, where the browser totally justifies its cutting-edge claim is the user interface: shiny and squeaky clean. The tabs are arrayed on top instead of in the traditional toolbar, giving the illusion of a wider browsing area. Users can also drag and drop the tabs on the desktop outside the browser if they choose to.

Chrome is speedy. Google co-founder Sergey Brin calls it a “lightweight, fast engine for executing web applications” . In the preliminary tests, the browser trampled Firefox and Internet Explorer. The credit for the speediness should go to WebKit, the open-source engine at the core of Apple’s Safari and Google’s Android . The browser also has a new JavaScript virtual machine, V8, which is said to be a better solution for complex and rich web applications.

This should bring better performance and a smoother ‘drag and drop’ option in interactive applications . With this move, Google, now in its tenth year, is clearly counting on Chrome to become a key player in its effort to distribute widely used computer programmes like word processing, spreadsheets and calendars through the browser instead of as applications installed on standalone PCs.

Then, there is the winning Google touch of simpler the better when it comes to search solutions. Therefore Chrome’s navigation bar, Ominibox, where you type in the web address, serves a dual purpose. Users can either enter an address in the space bar or a search request, which will be processed using a search engine of their choice. There is also a way to make an icon for GMail and google calendar on your desktop.

Chrome with its simple looks and equipped with the most basic of browser functionalities is precisely what a no-frills user would want. But it lacks several features like bookmark managers which allow users to save files and webpages and view them anytime. Also the RSS reader which feeds users with news from the web is missing. Users have grown accustomed to these features and will want it on the Chrome. However, the clean and clear-cut browser makes the screen look uncluttered and larger in content area when compared to other browsers. Also, the tab feature on Chrome stands apart from the other browsers. It runs each tab in isolation from the other thus preventing the other tab from crashing it.

A Vietnamese security company has already found a critical vulnerability in Google’s new browser Chrome, but Google has already released patch for that problem and at least one more. The latest version of Google Chrome is:

However, Google said it believes in making the web an open platform for everyone to innovate on. “Our efforts are targeted at making the web better for everyone and further advance the openness of the web. Towards this objective Google Chrome has been developed and is being released as an open source project under the name Chromium. The intent is that Google will help make future browsers better by contributing the underlying technology in Google Chrome to the market, while continuing to develop additional features.