Google releases new Chrome browser

I guess most people stick with a given browser for life, and that used to be me.. Why did I need to change from IE7? With tabs in IE7, it did everything I wanted – or so I thought. I eventually took the plunge though and tried FireFox 2, and then upgraded to FireFox 3 when it came out – mainly for the Firebug plugin which allowed me to debug CSS and javascript problems while developing mikesalway.com.au.

But it did open up that whole new world of other browsers. Firefox is faster than IE, more stable and has some great features. It also showed me how pages render differently in different browsers – now when developing mikesalway.com.au, I need to test it in a few different browser versions to ensure it looks the same for everyone – no matter what browser they use.

Now yesterday, Google released their own new browser, called Chrome. It’s based on the Webkit rendering engine that Mozilla uses for Firefox, so most pages should look the same. But they’ve wrapped a whole lot of new features around it as well as giving greater control for finding wayward javascript, security threats and memory hungry web pages. It’s still in beta but I’ve downloaded it and i’m using it right now. 

It’s fast! Really fast. Most webpages display much quicker in Chrome and the tab dragging feature is very cool. I don’t like where the Other Bookmarks button is though – seems too far off to the side when I expect it right above the URL bar. I think they expect you to type in the URL bar for everything you need, because it integrates type-ahead of your history, as well as a google search of what you’re typing.

I’m also not sure right now what support it’s got for developers (ie: a firebug equivalent) but i’m sure it’s there somewhere, or at least it will be soon. Only early days. I’ve found a few issues with editing textareas in our wiki system at work but other than that all the pages I visit seem to render fine.

Anyway I think it’s worth checking out, and being open source, I’ll be interested to see how it develops and changes and also changes other browsers as they implement similar features. If you’ve always been a 1-browser man or lady, maybe now is the time to spread your wings and try something new 🙂

Have you tried Chrome? What are your thoughts about this shakeup in the browser game? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

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