Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Chrome - the cool web browser

Google launched Google Chrome for Windows and they announced it using an original idea: a comic book.

Throughout its 38 pages, cartoon characters resembling people in the team are presenting various features of the browser. It’s a refreshing and fun way to follow a product capabilities.

I installed Chrome to test Teamness with it and I'm pretty sure this will not be the only usage I'll have for it. After less than one hour of using Chrome, I can say that the web browser nerds were longing for has arrived.

Here is a list of things that I liked about Chrome so far:

Speed due to multi-threading and multi-process approach
Every web application developer spends time on "developing" solutions to overcome browsers limitations, one of which being threads limit. Internet Explorer 6 for instance, makes only 2 simultaneous connections to the same server: one is used to retrieve resource data like images, animations, icons and it does this sequentially, while the other connection is dealing with the page itself. This slows down load time. To deal with this, in Teamness we're using separate domain names for resources, so that the browser thinks he's loading the data from different servers.

The sad tabs
Each tab in the browser has its own process in memory, so when a tab crashes, the browsers survives. A crashed tab becomes a sad tab, as they call it.

The Task Manager
There is an internal Task Manager option to see how much CPU, memory and network resources each tab is using and for what website, including a more advanced page called Stats for nerds. It's really cool that you can kill Chrome processes, even from the Windows Task Manager, and the respective tabs in the browser become sad as in the image.

It feels lightweight
You may start multiple Chrome windows, drag-and-drop tabs between them and get a feeling of your system getting no bloat.

Did I mention speed?
We will certainly add Google Chrome as yet another browser to use for Teamness testing, but for now I'm impressed with the speed of loading pages. For instance, my flickr addiction was moderated by the sluggishness manifested by Firefox gulping chunks of memory, but with Chrome, it's a different story. Try to load flickriver both in Firefox and Chrome and scroll down about 10 times. Here's a post comparing javascript engine speed in Chrome versus other known browsers. It ruled.

Address bar auto-complete
Chrome has an auto-complete feature for the address bar that provides you with options for search, previous visited pages and popular locations on the web. But don't get too excited, you'll still have to search for juicy stuff on your own. And you can do this using an incognito tab, where nothing is logged.

Only time will let us know if Chrome is a killer, but I think a lot of computer nerds will adopt the browser for now. For people that currently find themselves with 15 or more tabs opened in their web browser, Google Chrome scratches where it itches.


Anonymous said...

Multi-process is something I always wanted. Moreover, the interface and the thread opening a page should be separate, so I can use the broswer while loading. I'm not 100% sure this new broswer is dowing that. I understand about each tab having its own process, but while loading the page, do I have complete unhidered access to the tab controls?

Paul Marculescu said...

Yep, you can use any browser feature while a page is loading in any tab.

Delano said...

I am new to the Google chrome, I use to think firefox is the best thing.
Great and I think it can run over Firefox

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