First impressions on Google Chrome

Today I downloaded Chrome, the new browser by Google, and I used it for the whole day. I stressed it a little bit, but of course it was not an exhaustive test: just a first impression, for the moment. So, it is possible that some drawback is not Chrome’s fault but mine, that is, I have not yet worked with it for long. Anyway, here is it.

First of all the installation. The good: easy to install and to import bookmarks, passwords and other elements from Firefox or Internet Explorer. The bad: I had no way to decide where to install it. I never install applications on my C-drive and in any case I wish to control where the install process places the installed files.

Another problem is that it automatically downloaded the Italian version. I realized that only when I installed it. I went back to Google page and I realized that there was a way to select a different language, but I thought it was related to the page, not to the download button, so it was not so evident as it should. Just consider that I usually prefer to use English applications since it is easier to ask questions on fora. It is very difficult to explain what you did to an international audience when you have to report menu items and commands in Italian language. By the way, it would be nice to have the possibility to switch the interface from a language to another.

The interface, now. I like it: few buttons, no toolbars, a thin frame. Most of room is available for your pages. Flat widgets, no useless 3D style, content oriented. Good approach. The bad: I found no way to change the language of spell checker in the text fields. Chrome assumes that since I am Italian I have to write in my own language only, but in Europe a lot of people knows at least two languages and in any case it is not uncommon to write in different languages on different sites.

Add-on’s and helpers. I found no way to specify what to do when I download a file. Default behavior is to save it in a user directory of mine, but it is also possible to force the browser to ask the user for destination folder. However, you have no way to say to use a specific helper depending on the file extensions. I had also some problem to load some page using plug-in’s. When the plug-in was not available, I found no way to know which one I had to load and from where. Anyway, this is a beta version, so it is possible they will add plug-in management in final release.

The tabbing mechanism is very simple and easy to use. You can rearrange and drag tabs too. Furthermore, when you open a new tab, you get thumbnails of your top sites. I was used to tabs in Firefox and to thumbnails in Opera. Here I have both. No bad. I also like the possibility to use a single field for both URLs and search. The only drawback is that you can take advantage of a single search engine only. Wonder why? 🙂 My point is that a separate field for searches as in Firefox or IE7 would allow me to search by Google, Amazon, Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers, and so forth. So, Google guys and gals: good work, but do not be so Google oriented, please!

What I am really missing and I expected to have since beta version was the equivalent of the Google Browser Sync for Firefox which, by the way, is no more available since it is not supported by Firefox 3. It is very important for me to be able to synchronize bookmarks, tabs, and other elements between two different browser sessions on different computers. I use more than one computer and I wish to have my browsers always in sync. I expected it, since this mechanism was invented by Google. I miss it.

Missing skins? I do not care. No add-on toolbars? I do not care: they take room. Adding new bookmarks is easy. I do not care if I have to go to the Tools menu to get the history, but I would like to have a way to get back the latest closed pages under my fingertips, so that I can easily retrieve it if I close a page by mistake. I also like the self-hiding "search-in-page" entry field I get by Ctrl-F keystroke.

That’s all, for the moment.

Post Scriptum: to publish this article I had to use Firefox since Google Chrome does not support the Splinder post editor. Anyway, it is still a beta… I said that.

Commenti (2) a «First impressions on Google Chrome»

  1. utente anonimo ha detto:

    I’ve been using chrome & chromium for the past few weeks and it has been a swell experience. Fast, sleek, & with crash-control – very nice indeed.

    But then I realized that I couldn’t use HOTMAIL properly. Then after a few days, I couldn’t use see my SCOUR hits. What’s happening?

    For now I’m resurrecting my old buddies FF3|flock

  2. Dario de Judicibus ha detto:

    I Still use FF3 sparely, but there are still too many incompatibilities with FF2 plug-ins. Furthermore my FF3’s performances are getting too bad. So I moved to Opera and I am pretty happy of it. Better performances even if my Splinder text box input area does not support anymore rich text.

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