Wednesday, September 3, 2008


And Google does it again!!

Its not surprising that once again Google has come out with an exquisite product. All of google's products launched till date have been a wonder of simplicity and ingenuity. Elegance, and simplicity seems to be the main idea behind all their designs. Take a look at Gmail, Gtalk, Google Earth etc.. This company has the perfect mix of elegance, simplicity, user-friendliness, and common sense in its products. This is what makes its products a hit. One can say its the opposite of Microsoft. Microsoft is like the prodigal guy - a show-off, a wannabe, an empty vessel which makes a lot of noise. Microsoft makes  a lot of promises but does not deliver, Google on the other hand does not make any promises but keeps on delivering with surprising alacrity.

Like all its other products, Google has made its new browser Google Chrome a pinnacle of aesthetic simplicity, design perfection and user friendliness. A look through Google's intoductory page |Link| on Google Chrome will give you the whole idea behind this revolutionary browser. In the comic book introduction Google talks about the ideas behind Chrome and the conecpts they have used in building the browser.

It has taken Mozilla Firefox's concept of Tabbed Browsing and finally taken it to a new level.  Firefox was the first browser to start this revolution, which was adopted by other popular browsers like opera, Netscape, Apple's Safari etc... and also now by Google Chrome. 

Much of the browser has been based on the Firefox. Google has been extremely supportive of Mozilla over the years and recently extended their revenue contract to 2011. In a way you can say and/or infer that while Mozilla did all the hard and dirty work of R&D and taking all the risk of venturing into untried waters (which, nonetheless, turned out to be successful), the main benefits will now be enjoyed by Google who has incorporated a lot of Mozilla's features into Chrome.

Features of Chrome:
- Tabbed Browsing.
  Like all present day browsers, Chrome supports tabbed browsing. This means u have multiple browser inside one big window. Saves up all the clutter in the taskbar and makes work neat and organized. They have incorporated the feature of dragging the tabs from one position to another (like in all other tabbed browsers). And have added the feature of creating a new window with any tab by simply dragging that tab out of the row of tabs and voila that page will be in a new window (As shown in the 2 images below).


In the same way you can put the new window back into the old or shuffle tabs among multiple windows. Another change with the tabs has been to change the look of the UI. Other browsers keep the address bar in the same position and the tabs under that indicating one browser with multiple browser windows. Chrome on the other hand has multiple tabs with each tab having its own address bar and navigation buttons. This is is mostly a cosmetic change, but this small change signifies a bigger change in the operation of the browser.

- Multi Threading (This is the most significant change they have made in the world of web-browsers)
  All other browsers are one browser with different windows to view web pages. To explain in more simpler terms: All other browsers with multiple tabs use the same engine to access the web. This means that the browser has one brain which it uses to process the data from the user and/or the webpages. If there is a JavaScript (or other kinds of scripts) in a webpage, it means that the browser will pass control to the script and wait till that script finishes execution and pass control back to the browser. So if there is a script running in one Tab and it hangs then the browser will not be able to display anything in any other tab also as the script is still in command of the browser and has hung. So this haults all your work.

To prevent this from happening, Google has made Chrome to be a multi-threaded browser. Each tab is a browser of its own and has individual processes. This means that everytime you open a new tab a new browser (and not just a new window) is opened. If you ever take a look at your OS' task manager (ctrl+alt+del) you'll find that there are as many chrome.exe applications running as as many tabs u have opened.

This makes Chrome into a memory gobbling browser. Since i downloaded Chrome my RAM usage has increased by atleast 8%. I have a 2GB RAM and pre-chrome my usage used to hover around 48% with Firefox hogging up atleast 110MB of my RAM. Post-Chrome release my RAM Usage shows 56% and multiple Chrome applications eating up my RAM from a range of 51MB to 2MB. At one look it seems that Chrome uses up less RAM as it all shows amounts much lower than Firefox. But a deeper analysis will show that Chrome is actually using a lot more memory than Firefox. |Link to ScreenShot|

But this also means that at the cost of RAM usage you get a browser which is actually lightning fast. Be it Internet Explorer, Opera, or Safari - Chrome beats everyone of them hands down. Apple claims Safari to be the "the fastest, easiest-to-use web browser", and it was faster than IE or Opera, but now Chrome leaves Safari (and all other browsers) coughing in the dust.

- New UI
  I have already spoken about a part of the UI earlier, so now comes the rest. The UI is light on the eyes and a pleasure to look at. It is the most un-clutteres space i've seen. Every other browser has so many buttons and options and menus but Chrome has the least amount of space for buttons and the most for viewing the page. 

The traditional windows menus File, Edit, View, History etc.. have disappeared and in place we have 2 buttons- one with the icon of the page and the other with the icon of a spanner, in the same row as the address bar and nav buttons. These 2 buttons contain all the necessary options.

When you point at a link the URL throws up at the bottom of the screen. They have removed the old status bar but have redesigned it to throw up whenever required. When downloading a file a download bar appears at the bottom of the tab in which ur downloading. It shows the completion rates and a small menu from which u can choose to open in containing folder or u want to open the file downloaded. They have done away with the option of open or save as that Firfox and IE give. |ScreenShot 1, 2, 3|

Adding Bookmarks always used to be an option by either right clicking on the page you want to bookmark or by click on the bookmark or favourites (incase of IE) and choosing the "Add..." option. Firefox 3 introduced an option of adding a bookmark by clicking on a star shown at the end of the address in the address bar. Chrome has incorporated this but has put the star at the beginning of the address bar. |ScreenShot|

Another change they have incorporated is in the homepage. Normally people used to either set a website or a blank page as their homepage. But, in Chrome they show the most visited sites and recent bookmarks as well the search engines used on the homepage. Making the homepage into a very efficient tool which loads instantly coz its stored on the harddisk of the computer. |ScreenShot|

- Incognito
  A new concept that Chrome introduces is of surfing the world Incognito. This means you can go to any site you want and no one (in ur personal circle) would be the wiser. This session is a read-only session and doesn't store any permanent history, cache or cookies on the hardisk. As soon as the incognito window is closed the history and other temporary data gets wiped out. Google has not missed out on humour in this browser. When you open an Incognito session you see warnings/disclaimers on the homepage. And reading the last warning is really a laugh :D

Chrome wants to be positive and promote it as an option that provides additional security when you want to do sensitive transactions over the web. I'm sure they haven't missed out the obvious but just refuse to talk about it. An incognito session is a dream session for hackers or for children who want to be naughty.

- Application Shortcuts
  This option allows you to position a webpage as an icon on your desktop and/or Start Menu and/or Quick Launch (for Windows). Your actually creating a shortcut that when run opens up that page in a new window. So now you will not have to open Chrome and then navigate from the homepage to that certain page which you use very often. Just use this feature and voila all u need to do is use this shortcut to goto to that page or web application which you use often. Makes life much simpler doesn't it? :) love this feature!

Chrome's new popup blocker is a brilliant innovation. Pop-ups are restricted to small minimized windows at the bottom of the tab which opens them. To open it all u have to do is drag it out of the window and the pop-up will be designated to their own window. |ScreenShot|

Another good thing about Google Chrome is that when you first install this browser you do not need to configure the whole browser to ur liking and you dont have to fret about losing all your bookmarks and browsing history. Chrome has the option of importing the set of Bookmarks, browsing history, saved passwords etc from Firfox or IE straight into Chrome. So in about 2 seconds your browser is all ready to run with all your personal settings incorporated in the new browser at the click of a few bottons! Now thats what you call common sense!

With all the good things Google has done with its browser its still not 100% bug free. The 1st 2 sites that i tried to open would refuse to open untill i refreshed the browser some 5-6 times. And in approx 18 hours of using Chrome i've come across this instance for a total of 5 times. But this small problem still does not outweigh the excellenc of this browser. It will take sometime for people to change from IE or Opera to Chrome as they get used to the idea of having a better option. But for Chrome to overtake Firefox would take even longer as Firefox has a range of plugins to attract people.

Congratulations Google on gifting the world a software of this quality and stability. The future of browsers is indeed here.

Now everything rests on how well Google markets its browser and ofcourse how far innovation goes.


1 comment:

  1. "Incognito" a.k.a. porn mode :)
    And I'm sure we can all debate forever about whether or not the evil 'M'pire beat Google to this feature (It comes in the new IE8).

    Dude you should write for CNET :)



Thanx for viewing my page and for reading the post.

Do drop me a line and i'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Sorry about the captcha & the moderation. They help me prevent spam.