Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Review of Google Chrome beta

I've spent about four hours putting Google Chrome through the wringer and overall are impressed with the browser, despite some rather large functional gaps.

In checking a range of Australian government sites I did not observe any significant usability or display issues - none more than users of Safari (which uses the same renderer, WebKit) already experience.

I did notice a security issues with Medicare Australia's forms, such as the example below. However this crosses into other web browsers as well.



This is a beta - like many of Google's products - and I expect some of these issues to be resolved before they announce the first final release.

However some of the gaps are larger than I would have expected, making me feel that Google rushed out the browser to address the threat Internet Explorer 8 posed.

For instance, java, shockwave and silverlight do not work within the browser as yet, making a number of sites unusable or severely limited (including the Microsoft site).

Also it's not possible to search within text boxes inside web pages - a far more major issue if, for example, you're editing HTML in Blogger (another Google product).

I've not managed to crash the browser as yet and found the way it renders Web applications in standalone windows very effective, particularly when using Gmail, Google Analytics or Last.fm (which isn't Google owned!)

On the plus side, texts have demonstrated that Chrome is significantly faster at running Javascript than other web browsers - making it an effective operating system for the web.

And if you're not convinced that Google is aiming Chrome straight at Microsoft Windows (rather than Internet Explorer), try typing about:Internets into the Chrome Omnibar.

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