Sunday, November 29, 2009

Google Chrome

A couple computer posts coming at you. Here's one on Chrome.

I didn't jump on the Chrome bandwagon when it first came out. To tell you the truth, I'm out of the loop enough that I didn't even know Chrome existed until I started hearing bad things about it - mostly about some weirdness in their terms of use that "attempts to give Google rights to any user-generated content "submitted, posted or displayed on or through" the browser." This was enough to turn me off, although in typical Google fashion the concern was noted, acknowledged, and fixed. (for those of you with a life, Chrome is a web browser, like Internet Explorer, put out by Google as they continue to compete with Microsoft for world domination). About a year after its release I decided to give it a try, partly out of curiosity and partly because I was tired of Firefox's load time. I'm part of that extremely spoiled group of users who thinks that if you have a reasonably up to date system, you shouldn't have to wait several seconds for a commonly used app to load up.

So down was loaded the Chrome, and here we are today. I'm happy to report that overall I'm quite fond of the browser. It's load times are indeed faster than either IE or Firefox, it's use is intuitive, and it has some nifty features. It's address bar, where you type in web addresses, doubles as a google search bar, so that what you type in can lead directly to either a search or a specific web site. As is now mandatory for any current browser, it supports tabs, and it does so very easily (there's a little plus next to your open tabs that, when you click it, pops up a new tab for you). It has an "incognito" mode that, when you use it, prevents the browser from downloading or retaining any information from the sites you visit. (Note that this does nothing to prevent the sites from storing their own information, but it won't be on your PC). As I kind of expected, aside from incognito mode (which you could achieve by tweaking the settings of IE or FF, though not so conveniently), Chrome doesn't offer a lot, at least in terms of immediately apparent functionality, that the others don't. But it's slick, easy, stable, and fast so I like it. I have heard that it uses a "sandbox" approach to improve security, although I haven't read very much about just how effective this is. If it would stop even half the malware that my wife comes across I'd make her start using Chrome.

I should point out that I'm hardly a power user when it comes to web browsing. I'm fairly modest - a few youtube videos, some blogging, some online shopping, and a fair amount of googling for trivia. So there may well be limitations I just haven't come across or cared about yet. The one thing that's disappointing for me is that it doesn't support RSS feeds just yet. Because of that I tend to go back and forth between Chrome and FF, but I find I use Chrome a bit more just because of its convenience.

And as a final note, I just have to say that the team that put together Chrome for Google, "The Chromium project," has the coolest name ever. Just one more reason why only saints and geniuses should be so lucky as to work for Google.

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