Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sat, Jan. 25

Google Chrome - New kid in the browser world

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo


Google has released its own browser. The "new kid in town" may or may not completely make your online experience more robust - the browser taps resources from the online open-source community to continually improve users experience.

The company has officially unveiled some new products to the public, and these attempts might be a crucial step in drawing new user markets to their seemingly endless array of online services by expanding their scope to key mainstream utilities users rely on. One of these new apps is their first foray into the highly competitive world of browser market share.

Google's shiny new web browser is called "Chrome", which is currently available free of charge to PC users. The app, based on Safari's open-source engine is very minimalist in design, which means freelance software developers can code and tweak program features to create browsing experiences more tailored to specific user needs, if they so choose. Unfortunately, Apple Macintosh users may have to wait to experience this new browser because porting to Apple's OSX hasn't been completed yet (which is a little suspect, since it's built upon Safari, which is Apple's native browser). There is an alternative for Apple users however, so keep reading.

Is this good or bad news for current browser market share leaders? Time will tell. Chrome adds a keyword search functionality built right into the browser's standard location bar. In fact, there are no other input fields built in the application, because Chrome doesn't need them. To further explain, one can type "Prescott Valley Tribune" into the browser's main URL field for example (without any additional input, such as typing, and instantly get hints and multiple listings from online search results directly based upon user input. Currently, if you use the latest Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) or Firefox apps to browse the internet, built-in separate search toolbar features are required to achieve similar results. Chrome has essentially streamlined the process by blending this functionality right into the browser's location bar. Pretty shrewd Google, but perhaps making this new feature specific to your own search data right out of the box could be a downfall to inexperienced users that prefer other alternatives. Unsurprisingly, as this is their own product after all, these search engine results default to Google's proprietary information upon fresh install. However, the browser graciously allows users to tweak browser options to choose search data from competing search engines like AOL, Ask, Live Search and Yahoo.

I've been beta testing the new browser at home, and have been pretty impressed with what it offers so far. It's pretty quick, doesn't monopolize a ton of your computer's hard drive space and seems quite user-friendly. The "most visited" default home page offers users a click able thumbnail screen shot image of the pages visited most frequently. It's a neat feature. NOTE: This feature gets replaced if you change to a specific home page URL within the options menu.

I commend the efforts from Google's development staff to launch their own browser, as well as any outside open-source programmers that may have contributed to its creation, but is this new app going to set the stage for moving the future of browsing into a new paradigm? Not likely, at least in its current inception. Sure, it's quite functional, et all, but can normal end-users live without it? Probably. I'm perfectly fine with simply typing my search requirements into the separate top-right search field and getting my results that way. Eliminating this step seems like a neat feature, but it comes off more as gimmicky then necessary. Are the vast percentage of web surfers in general so ignorant that they need this functionality to aid in ordinary day-to-day searches? I don't know. I would hope not, but the possibilities still leave me somewhat perplexed, nonetheless.

I suppose I can see value-add if you work in a field specializing in archiving/research, because it might eliminate a step or two here and there, but that niche user market seems fairly limited to really catch on worldwide without more hooks.

I have also seen some strange anomalies concerning general page displays and word wrapping, but most of this can be remedied with a simple refresh. However, these glitches tell me the browser is competent, but not yet fully polished and complete enough to satisfy every need of the online masses until some further steps in testing, revision and quality control standards are met.

I will say this, though: for an initial beta launch of a brand new browser, Chrome has surpassed my initial expectations. It is a totally functional app that can enhance general user requirements right out of the box. It also complies well with a multitude of the newest cutting edge website display standards, which is something that Safari, the engine this browser was built upon, struggled with in earlier versions. Since this new app is open source, Google is open to collaborating with the entire web developer community to help drive this new web browser even farther forward. After the release of another well known web browser known as firefox (my personal browser-of-choice), I see this way of thinking to be a very, very beneficial to users looking further into the future.

If you are a user looking for a new browser, what I have seen so far impresses me enough to suggest you might want to give Chrome a try. The price point is right (IE: free), so really, what is there to lose? NOTE: Google's end-user license agreement (EULA) is personally a little bit harsh for me, so you might want to check out the alternative I decided to use below because it gives you the same open-source product, but with no EULA!

Download Alternatives

Some of the open-source folks that aided in Apple's creation of Chrome offer an alternative browser that can be Used on Windows, Apple or Linux. It's called Chromium. This browser is virtually identical to Chrome.

Windows Download

Mac/Linux Download

Event Calendar
Event Calendar link
Submit Event

This Week's Circulars

To view money-saving ads...