Google Chrome First Impressions

Nothing excites the geeks like a new web browser. Especially one from the Church of the Google. It only seemed reasonable to take my first Google Chrome test drive on the super fast Microsoft network before I left work today.


I used it for about an hour before coming home and installing it on my much faster workstation. I browsed my normal collection of sites and was impressed that, in about two hours of constant use, it never hung or crashed. Here are my initial impressions:


  1. Feels fast especially on sites like Google Reader and Gmail.
  2. Lots of screen real estate.  When I launched Chrome for the first time I thought I was in full screen mode. Chrome reminds me a little of Opera before feature creep.
  3. It’s simple. No pre-populated favorites. Not even a single tie-in to Gmail or Google Docs. Like the comic above says, it feels like it was built to get out of the user’s way.
  4. The browser option are written in plain English and they don’t bombard you with crap you shouldn’t be changing in the first place. The tabs under options are even labeled, Basics, Minor Tweaks and Under the Hood.
  5. Excellent memory management. I love being able to see how much memory each tab is using and have the ability to shut down a single tab without crashing the entire browser. All browsers should handle tabs in this manner.
  6. When you open a new tab, Chrome shows your most visited sites, searches and recent bookmarks. Super helpful.
  7. Drag a tab to your desktop which opens it’s own instance of Chrome. This has been on my Firefox wish list for years.


  1. Weird status bar behavior. There’s no persistent status bar at the bottom of the browser yet notices continually pop up even when you browse to another page.
  2. No plugins like I have with Firefox. I need my Mouse Gestures. It’s just too big a time saver not to have.
  3. “Home” button isn’t visible by default. Thanks for a follower on mine on Twitter, I got it turned on.

You have tried Chrome and what did you like/dislike about it?

2 thoughts on “Google Chrome First Impressions

  1. The status bar behavior does bother me. I expect to be able to hover-inspect things. I hadn’t been using many Firefox add-ons; just AdBlock, SnapBack (which didn’t really work like the Safari feature anyway), and the new Ubiquity. AdBlock can be kind of emulated by editing your .hosts file to redirect all of the ad domains to localhost.

    Tab dragging (while maintaining state, not just dragging the URL metadata) showed up in Safari 3, and I loved it there. Lets you reorganize tab groupings easily.

    So far, it looks like it uses slightly more memory for the same tab set as Firefox, presumably due to the per-process overhead. I expect to have less site-induced death.

    I think the Chrome guys figured you’d never need a home button – they’d prefer you to close a tab and open a new one (thus cleaning up memory) with the home tab in it.


  2. 1. Love turning sites into application shortcuts – wicked fast on open and no address bar or tabs… and you thought you couldn’t get more screenspace :-)?

    2. Download bar is a great… not being informed on other tabs when it is over… not so much

    3. I like the toast feel of the status bar.. but it’s almost too small and fast so unless you open a memory hog there isn’t a chance to read it.

    4. Adobe Flash Movie Player / Ning – On one Ning homepage I was prompted 4 times to install the add in. Restarting the browser seemed to have worked, but it was really painful on first visit.

    5. I don’t know if it’s a Chrome thing or a Vista thing… I can’t find a way to really have Chrome as the default browser. When I click a link from Tweetdeck… off to IE we go! Yes, I’ve changed all the associations in Vista… there’s still a reference it’s catching someplace else.


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