As much as I enjoy and use Google services, I’ve found myself engaged in a gentle resistance against all Google, all the time. So it was with just a little quiet sigh of resignation that I installed Google’s new Chrome web-browser on my machine.
I’ve been using Firefox user since 3.0. I flirted with Opera for awhile, back in my Windoze days, but got hooked by the speed gains of Firefox 3.5, as well as the great add-on collection and support. IE finally has picked up a few of the features of both these other browsers, but now that I’ve become a Linuxophile, all closed-source Microsoft crap has been banned from my pc.
But on to Chrome. After a day of browsing and testing, Chrome is looking… fast! The interface is very minimalist, but most all the features are still there, even if a few of them are buried. Even with a few extensions (google voice and gmail checkers, adblock), the browser window is a very lithe affair. The “omnibar” (combined search and address bar) works well enough, but it’s not obvious what service you’re using to search with; Google is the default, of course, but I find myself preferring Firefox’s discrete search box with its obvious selection of search engines.
The big deal about Chrome is still the speed. On my machine, it benchmarks 80%-300% better than Firefox. With HTML5 video fully-enabled, youTube, vimeo, etc., show blazing smooth lag-free playback, although I do note a touch more pixelation. But that speed! My box is no powerhouse, but Chrome and public DNS make for a seriously snappy browsing experience.
I am, however, noticing a little trouble here and there. For instance, my WP admin page shows a few render goofs, minor mangled buttons, etc. Also, the trade-off for Chrome’s multi-threaded approach seems to be a slightly greater static memory usage and a tendency to keep the CPU at full-blaze. Not enough to fail on, but evidence that Chrome is still very much a bleeding-edge browser, based on truly new technologies.
Firefox, for me, is not usurped, just shuffled a bit to the side; I’ll still be using Firefox for critical work, content creation, and alongside other CPU-intensive tasks. But it’s that raw speed, combined with the uncluttered interface and large viewing pane, that may well keep me using Chrome for casual browsing.