Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Chrome: First Impressions

Okay, I'm writing this blog post inside of Google Chrome, the brand new browser from our friends at Google. But as I was posting a screenshot into Blogger (a Google company), I experienced a blow-up complete with an image reminicent of what I used to see when my Mac 128k blew up:

You might say "hey, it's day one - cut them some slack!" But that would be boring. Besides, people need to know. So here's some instant things that I instantly hate, plus a couple of reasons why you still need a safe browser:

1. Web pages used to look different in just three popular browsers - now they are going to look different in Firefox, IE, Safari AND Chrome. More work for me and every one else that owns a web site. Thanks a lot.

2. Freaking-out fonts! I just went on Facebook and the fonts look ever so slightly - and weirdly - different. Why?

3. Yellow highlight around the form text field. I hate this as much as I hate seat belts and bicycle helmets.

4. Unexpected behavior - inside the Blogger edit window , I used to just click on an image to highlight it - now the browser thinks I want to travel there. Uh-uh. That's what Crl-Click is for.

5. Only slightly better security than Firefox. Not mind-blowing, not even close to comprehensive.

6. If this truly is representative of the front-end of cloud computing, we aren't going to be saying goodbye to desktop apps for some time to come - and Chrome adds nothing to the overall security of your device, save a slightly safer browser.

Anyway, that's five minutes worth of feedback. As far as #5 (security) goes, if everything works as advertised, Chrome will create a safer Internet browsing experience, but nothing even close to what our SafeCentral secure desktop provides.

We go deeper (in terms of operating system-level protection), broader (we protect *all* desktop apps, not just web apps running in your browser), and further (we protect DNS lookup requests and all of the associated infrastructure and files.

In other words, ignore page 26 of the comic book. Google attempts to protect only what is in the browser - and only does so in a limited way. We protect everything. Authentium SafeCentral rules the roost when it comes to holistic security - i.e. securing your Internet browsing and your desktop.

In Google Chrome's favor, the rendering speed is faster, and the support for multi-processing seems to work well (I recovered from the above issue without having to restart the browser). It is a very clearn UI. The bookmark import worked just as well as it does on Firefox.

Add to all this the fact that someone has bothered to redesign the idea of browsing from scratch (yet, BMW-like, incorporate the good stuff from years gone by), and Chrome may yet become a standard - we can only hope it doesn't grab a mere 15% market share and force yet another test case on the world's web developers.

Note: "Chrome" is a reference to what browser developers call the user interface, or visual part of the browser. If you've done any browser add-on development using XPI or XUL, the Firefox extension and UI languages, you'll be able to instantly relate - the rest of humanity is probably wondering why call it anything - other than "the Google browser".

Note: to get Chrome started on Vista, I had to navigate one amusing screenshot (the first shot in the battle?) - this is the screen shot that I was trying to post earlier, but couldn't:

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