Google launched yesterday “Google Chrome”, their revolutionary (no bullshit) Web browser. I played with it a little. It's amazing how well they did it!
It's incredibly fast, it has a nice and clean user interface, it knows most keybindings (which I couldn't live without) from Firefox. It has a wonderful start page which shows thumbnails to the 9 most visited sites in your history. But if you want to view pages that you don't want to show up there, you can turn on the “incognito” mode. It runs one separate process per tab (I'll never understand why other browser makers didn't think about this) which means that even if a tab crashes, the others will stay up. It also means that you can run some computationally intensive stuff in a tab without affecting the whole browser. And did I say it's fast?
It is true that, to a big extent, they copied existing ideas — such as the smart address bar, tabs, incremental search, development tools that mimic Firebug, etc. But they did it so excellent! I can't wait to see the Linux version.
Just a few days back I was reading about IE8 performance — a long article that basically says “we're taking a step back”. I saw IE8 beta 1, it was miserably pathetic. I've heard that beta 2 is better, but not by much—nothing that could compare to Firefox or Safari. And damn, we're talking about IE8 (eight)! How extraordinarily fine Chrome can be at its first public release, and how pathetic can IE be after 10 solid years on the market! That's a paradox.
I checked some of my tools with Chrome and I was pleased to see that everything Works Just Fine. And I've got heavy tools. There's a minor problem in the public DynarchLIB release but I've already fixed it and I'm gonna bring out a new version soon.
[ BTW, this wasn't fixed for Chrome, but for an older version of Safari; Safari 3 works fine. Which makes me think that Google is using an older version of Webkit. ]
Conversely, when I tried IE8 ß1 pretty much nothing worked; I didn't test ß2 yet but heck, I'm not spending any more of my time to make stuff working with a beta full of bugs.
Remember this site? I put it up after a traumatic day working around IE6 bugs. Of course, I'm not the only one—there are tens of thousands of others that have been crying out lout about IE. But not much happened. It's still being used by over 70% of the users, despite that M$ did virtually nothing about their browser in more than 10 years. Users don't care. They don't even know what a browser is. To them, it's “The Internet”.
Despite being so much faster, more secure, more featured, other browsers share only a small, select user base. I think this is finally going to change. Google has the power to end the IE domination; I hope they're going to (ab)use this power. They've come so far with a 0.2 release, while M$ is still struggling with data URIs and basic garbage collection in an 8.x release!
Am I going to use Chrome?
Nope. Not just yet, at least. Firstly because there's no Linux version.
But more important, because while the programmers did an excellent job, the lawyers want to get a piece of your soul. The EULA is seriously flawed. I really hope they'll fix this. Section 11 of the EULA is totally absurd. There's a general opinion that Google might have used an older EULA template; it is appropriate for Web services, it's almost fine if they meant only data that you post to their servers, but it's unacceptable to give away your rights to anything you post through their browser. Nice to meet you Chrome, now good bye.
(BTW, I'm posting this with Firefox. :-p)
UPDATE: yeah, that's fixed. Great news, now let's see the Linux version. :-D