Productivity

Google Chrome First Look


Google Chrome officially hit the streets just a few minutes ago, and we’ve rolled up our sleeves and taken a quick look at everything the newest browser on the block has to offer. Keep reading for a detailed screenshot tour of the exciting new Google Chrome browser.



Similar to Speed Dial in Opera (or the copycat Firefox extension), Google Chrome offers shortcuts for users whenever a new tab is opened. These shortcuts include your most frequently visited sites, site searches you often use, recent bookmarks, and even recently closed tabs (in case you want to reopen a tab). It may not seem completely accurate at first, but in time it could turn out to be a killer start page.


Chrome automatically watches search boxes you use. Next time you want to search that site, rather than opening the page and finding the search box, you can use the omni-bar to search that site quickly and easily. For example, after one search at Amazon, I could make a second search from Chrome simply by heading to the omni-bar, pressing ‘a’ and then Tab to autocomplete the Amazon search. Doing that enables the Amazon search from the location bar (which you can see from the light blue box), so all you have to do is enter your Amazon search terms and hit Enter.


Like almost every browser these days, Google Chrome has added a “porn mode” called Incognito mode. When browsing in Incognito, none of your activity will be recorded on your computer. That means no history, no files saved in the cache, no cookies, and no evidence you’ve been naughty. (Firefox users, check out previously mentioned Stealther.)

All tabs are rearrangable just like in Firefox, but you can also very easily break out a tab from the tab window it’s currently held in. Dragging and dropping is easy and satisfying.


The Google Chrome Task Manager gives you an overview of the currently running tabs and plug-ins just like the Windows Task Manager. You can kill any running process at any time from this window. The quickest way to open Task Manger in Chrome: Shift+Esc.


When you first install it, Chrome will offer to import bookmarks, passwords, and other settings from Firefox. I’m assuming that if my default browser were Internet Explorer that Chrome would import from IE.


If you’re keen on Google Chrome but not hot on Google search, you can actually change your default search engine if you like.


One of the first thing you’ll notice when navigating to different URLs is that Google Chrome highlights the root domain in every URL, presumably—among other things—as a sort of anti-phishing feature. IE already has this option; if you’re looking for this feature in your current installation of Firefox, check out the previously mentioned Location2 extension.

Password saving in Chrome looks and acts very similarly to the new password handling in Firefox 3.


Turn any webapp that you keep open all day long (like Gmail, for example) into a separate application through the tab drop-down menu next to the “omni-bar.” When you create a new application in this way, it prompts you to create shortcuts on your computer through a Google Gears prompt. The resulting webapp has its own shortcut, its own item in the taskbar, and an even more consolidated browser window—lacking a location bar, search box, or any of the traditional browser tools. It’s sort of like having Prism built into Firefox.


Web developers will be happy to see the Google Chrome inspector, a relatively full-featured DOM inspector and resources tool very similar to what developers get in Safari.

Bookmarking in Chrome is also almost exactly like bookmarking in Firefox 3 with the new star icon (it’s just on the other side of the location bar).


The options in Google Chrome are, as you can see, extremely limited at the moment—just like much of Google Chrome.

Downloads don’t break out into another window, but instead show up in the taskbar at the bottom of the browser. Considering how much care Chrome gives to space saving, the download bar is a enormous and a bit ungainly.

What do you think about the new browser offering from the big G? Think you’ll give it the old college try? Let’s hear you thoughts in the comments.