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Google Chrome (Beta) Speedy Browsing

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Google Chrome Key Features: Chrome displays thumbnails of frequently visited Web sites on newly opened tabs. Tabs act as independent browsers.

Chrome, Google’s entry in the browser race, already has a lot going for it, but there are a few surprising omissions, as well. If you choose to give Chrome a try, keep in mind that it’s currently in beta. Some users may want to wait for the final version.
It’s a speedy download, and Chrome keeps up that fast pace. The install is quick; Chrome immediately imports bookmarks, passwords, and other settings from Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer. (The default is whatever browser you’re in when you download it, but you can choose otherwise in Customize Settings.)

User Interface
Right off the bat, you’ll have some adjusting to do. The user interface is unlike the two browser giants. It’s spare and clean, with just a handful of buttons and no menus to be seen. Instead, you’re faced with a single bar that operates as both an Address bar and a search box. This “Omnibox” also provides suggestions as you type, based on your history and bookmarks, as well as offering completions based on the most popular sites starting with the same letters. The other big interface difference involves the tabs. Unlike Firefox and IE, which have the tabs beneath the menus and Address bar, Chrome keeps the tabs on top. Each one contains its own Omnibox, the Bookmarks bar, and a few Toolbar icons. Essentially, each tab acts as a separate browser. This leads to one of Chrome’s most nimble features: Tabs can be dragged out to create separate windows, dragged back in to merge, and generally swapped around as necessary. The immediate drawback is a lack of tab management—Chrome doesn’t have a built-in menu where you can see tabs outside the primary window.

Instead, the more tabs you open, the smaller they get to cram them all in. Once you’ve been using Chrome for a while, it starts to display thumbnails of your most-visited Web sites on each newly opened tab. Click a thumbnail to launch a site. Other responsive features on the new tabs include Recently Closed Tabs, Recent Bookmarks, and a box for searches. Besides being visually appealing, it’s also functional and adds to the speedy convenience of Chrome.

Adding bookmarks within Chrome is similar to other browsers. As in Firefox, clicking a star icon opens a bookmark dialog box. There you rename and file the link, but there’s no tagging feature. What’s really surprising is the lack of support for RSS. With Firefox, a subscription button appears in the Address bar for any page that has a feed. Chrome doesn’t have anything like this. Given the popularity of Google Reader, the lack of RSS integration is a real puzzler.

Performance Plus
As we mentioned, Google seemed to focus on speed with its new browser, but this isn’t the only performance plus. Chrome’s underlying design allows each tab to run as its own browser, so that if a bug stalls one tab, the others are unaffected. This is a huge leap forward in performance—how many times have you had multiple tabs open in your browser, only to have them all crash when one gets tied up? With Chrome, you won’t be typing CTRL-ALTDELETE just to release your system. Another little perk is the Incognito mode, which disables history tracking and doesn’t let sites leave any other footprints, such as cookies. The little stealthy spy icon that appears in the top-left corner lets you know you’re leaving no traces, which can be helpful when you’re doing online shopping on a shared computer. Google knows a little something about the Web, and it shows in Chrome. With a few improvements (particularly RSS integration) and the development of add-ons, Chrome has the makings of a distinctly viable browser.

Source of Information : Smart Computing / January 2009

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