I downloaded the Google Chrome browser (beta) tonight, the big secret project that Google has been working on for years. I am a huge Google fan, not just for searching, but the applications and services are in daily use by me: Google Mail (there isn’t an online email that comes close to this! Hotmail feels archaic in comparison.), Calendar (this just works, and collaboration is brilliant.), Docs (all the basic functionality you need in a basic Word Processor), Google Earth (Spent hours playing with this), Google Maps (great service, works better than any other route planner I have used).
Now we have Chrome, and surprise surprise, I love it! As with all Google products, it is clean, quick and does exactly what is required of it…with a few extras thrown in! Switching between IE, Firefox and Chrome, you notice just how uncluttered Chrome is. Ironically enough, this is probably because I have the Google toolbar on IE and Firefox, but not on Chrome (it isn’t compatible!). The thing is you don’t really need the toolbar with this browser.
This isn’t going to be an extensive review, I am just going to mention a few things about it, and hopefully you will download it soon and test it out for yourself. When installing it, it seamlessly imports your settings from your default browser. The first thing you notice is the lack of pretty much anything. See the screen shot below. The front page is a summary type page showing your most visited pages visually (at a glance, so you can see whether there is an update), a search input for your history and list of your most recent bookmarks.
A big departure from the norm is the way tabs are shown. Tabs run along the top of the application, so it feels like each tab is its own browser. Additionally there is the ability to go incognito (the incognito tab). Let’s face it, this is so you can browse porn without any trace of it for your other half to find! No trace is kept when in this mode, no cookies or history.
I still need to spend a lot more time with this browser before deciding whether it will become my default browser. I am interested to see how the community responds with plugins for this browser, and also how Google intend to integrate their other services and apps. The way I see it, I use Google as my primary search engine, and my primary email provider (as well as all the other apps I use of theirs!)…so if Google have an innovative approach to integration of their other products, I think this will definitely become my default browser.