Google Chrome - Google's new browser - First Look
During the install process, Google Chrome asks to import your bookmarks, browsing history, and passwords. This allows you to switch to using Chrome almost instantly. Interestingly, Chrome asks whether you would like Google to be your default search engine, or if you would like to specify a different one. Kudos to Google for this; when supplying their own browser, it would be tempting to say "using a Google browser, use Google's search".
Here's a quick walk-through of the Chrome user interface.
The interface for Google Chrome is sparse, with browser tabs at the top of the window rather than underneath the other browser elements such as the address bar:
The browser certainly feels snappy, opening Gmail about as quickly as it opens using the WebKit nightlies on a Mac. New tabs open instantly, and rather than being greeted by a blank window you are given a quick launch window showing your most frequently visited sites:
While the main user interface is sparse, the options panes are even less busy. There are only three tabs of options, and none of them change the user interface in any major way. People that like to tweak the heck out of their browser probably aren't going to be thrilled by the lack of exposed settings:
You've gone incognito. Pages you view in this window won't appear in your browser history or search history, and they won't leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be preserved, however.
Going incognito doesn't affect the behavior of other people, servers, or software. Be wary of:
- Websites that collect or share information about you
- Internet service providers or employers that track the pages you visit
- Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys
- Surveillance by secret agents
- People standing behind you
This mode, a feature which has also recently been announced for Internet Explorer 8, has colloquially been come to be known as "porn mode", though as Google states there are numerous valid reasons to use it that have nothing to do with browsing porn. For example, if you're using a shared machine, accessing your email using an incognito window would certainly be wise.
Other interface comments
The team at Download Squad has noted that Google Chrome doesn't appear to have an F11 full-screen option, nor does it do text zoom, but rather can only do full-page zooming. It appears to work much better with Google Docs than it does with competitor Zoho's office suite.
Strangely, capturing screenshots in Google Chrome is a bit of a hit-or-miss affair. For this post we've been using Chrome in both VMWare and Parallels virtual machines, and have used a few different screen capturing utilities, including Skitch, InstantShot, and the venerable Photoshop. In each instance, some weirdness was found where black text and UI elements would show up as white, and in cases where it was being displayed on a white background would completely disappear. We're not sure if this has to do with the virtual machines, or is a quirk of Chrome itself.