Chrome

Like many others, I had to download Google’s new browser Chrome today to see what it’s all about. The major features that are being bragged about by Google are

  • tabs isolated in separate processes
  • plugins isolated in separate processes
  • awesome automated testing
  • sandboxes for each tab
  • webkit for html rendering
  • v8 javascript interpreter/compiler
  • the omnibox
  • gears integration
Having a new process for each tab does require a bit of memory. Very informally I’ve seen tabs take about 20 ~ 45 mb each. I don’t mind having the extra overhead since each individual tab is well behaved, they all seem to stay rather small in size, and no single tab can kill the whole browser.
For a beta browser Chrome has been more stable than the first few betas of Firefox 3 that I used. That doesn’t surprise me though since Google tests Chrome by using it to automatically crawl thousands to millions of sites with each new build. At this point I get the feeling that it might be a day or two before I actually hit a page that kills a tab. Once developers start creating extensions for the browser that will likely start to mess with things too.
I won’t bother to cover all of the other features in depth, but I do have to applaud the V8 javascript virtual machine. All of the ajax I played around with today was as fast or faster than anything I’ve ever seen. Whether Chrome survives on its own, or if its features get incorporated into future versions of Firefox, Safari, or even IE, the web will be a different place starting today.
It’s not all good though. I miss my favorite extensions from firefox, especially adblock plus, mouse gestures, weave and ubiquity. Bookmark organization is missing, and I’m sure the options panel can be beefed up to allow more browser settings to be adjusted.
A lot of functionality still needs to be added, but it’s an excellent browser if you’re just checking your morning/evening internets.
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