The Chrome Experiment began in earnest yesterday. If I were a perfectionist, it would also have failed already yesterday but I’m willing to learn and grow as I go along. I thought today I’d share my main impressions of the browser itself. For those just dying to try the Google Chrome OS notebooks, you can get the full experience on your Mac or PC by installing the Chrome browser.
When Apple came out with Safari 4, I was convinced I’d found the browser for me – light, fast and feature rich (especially the slick “reader” mode). So how did I end up transitioning to Google Chrome? There are a few reasons I’ll outline below:
1) When they advertise this browser as fast, they’re not kidding. I haven’t tweaked mine to death and it is the speediest browser I have by far. In this day and age, page loads should be a thing of the past. Chrome certainly makes it feel that way!
2) Syncing. There are a million ways to take care of bookmark syncing. With Safari I used the dead-then-resurrected X-Marks to good effect, except for occasional conflicts, but it often required some input from me to keep my bookmarks fresh. Chrome utilizes your google account to sync bookmarks and more if you desire (such as passwords and also credit card details – don’t worry, by default it asks before storing this info). What is so great is that the syncing just works. Add a bookmark on this computer, go to another one with Chrome and log in and there’s the bookmark. I don’t want to have to think about syncing, I just want it to happen effectively.
3) Native PDF reader. Yes, the clever folks at Google got tired of the constant changes happening with Adobe’s Reader plugins so they got smart and built their own native PDF reader. Click a PDF link on the web and the document opens right inside the browser. The controls are uber-basic, and that is fine. I don’t need a lot of tools, I just need to read the document.
4) The Chrome Web App Store – amongst the glorified bookmarks, there are some great examples of coding for the web as developers redesign sites specifically for use with the Chrome Browser/OS. Nice.
Other things I really like are the two types of tabs (pinned/unpinned) and the nifty full screen view which helps me focus on the job at hand, rather than being distracted by other bookmarks or open sites. So there’s Google Chrome as a browser. More dispatches as the experiment continues.