Today, Google dove headfirst into the browser wars by releasing their own browser – Chrome. I’ve downloaded it, installed it, and have now been using it for 30 minutes. Here’s what I’m thinking…
Yes, it loads super fast. And that is definitely a welcome improvement from my beloved, but sometimes hated Mozilla Firefox. Firefox currently takes almost a minute to boot up on my laptop. True, this may be because of all the extensions I’ve got loaded into Firefox, but still a minute to load a web browser is a frustrating one when all my data is in the computing cloud and Firefox is keeping me from it.
I also like the idea of each browser tab having its own processing space. Hate it when one crappy website takes down the 15 other tabs I’ve got running in Firefox. The “Restore Session” feature of Firefox has helped back me from jumping off the top of a building on more than one occasion, but those occasions still exist where you can still find me thinking of taking the stairs to the roof.
The other thing I noticed about Chrome? I really missed those Firefox extensions. Especially the Gmail Notifier extension that tells alerts me to new messages in my various inboxes. Even after 30 minutes I knew that without the ability to extend Chrome, it would be almost impossible for me to switch to it. I’m sure community contributed Chrome evolutions will come in due time.
Chrome’s not a bad browser, but…
In the end, I’m not sure I want yet another web browser in the marketplace.
What I’m most afraid of is that web development test plans will become that much more of a pain. That Chrome will reach significant market share without putting a large enough dent in any other browser. So what that means is just another browser that I have to plan for testing web sites on and possibly hack at so that it works in everything that people use. For web site designers and developers, the best case scenario with Chrome is that IE 6 usage finally dies. We can dream, right?
But what should John Q. Public do?
Remember, I’ve test driven Chrome for about 30 minutes. But if you’re just looking for a basic web browser and you’re not into all the extensions that live in Firefox, then I jumping onto Chrome just for the performance gains alone is worth consideration. If you’re a web developer of power user, I don’t see any way you can abandon Firefox at this time.