Over on OStatic, Sam Dean has put Google’s open-source Chrome browser (available for Windows users), through the paces. Deeming it “clean and complete for a beta version,” Dean dishes up an in-depth review:
- As promised, Chrome is focused on web applications and is tricked out to handle them nicely. While it may not be ready to act as a complete OS just yet, it lets you create shortcuts for your favorite web apps and run them — even if Chrome is closed.
- Like lots of Google products, Chrome is watching — and it tallies and collects the web sites you visit most often in the Most Visited page (tab). So far, its a useful tool, but it could also host some Google self-promotion.
- Google is making a big deal of Chrome’s “one box for everything” approach. Google search box, address bar, toolbar — Chrome offers it all as one-stop shopping, without menus or multiple places to enter text.
- For the tabbed browsing maniac or the cloud-computing convert, Chrome lets you work with many open tabs at once without crashing or causing rendering problems.
- Chrome isn’t clearly a Firefox friend or foe, just yet. Google acknowledges that it’s borrowed heavily from Firefox’s code, and Chrome readily imports bookmarks and settings. That relationship could also mean extensions designed for Firefox can quickly migrate to the new browser.
- Extensions could be a critical weakness. Google doesn’t have a great track record for bringing out the community to participate in its projects, and without the extensive plug-in catalog that Firefox has collected, Chrome won’t displace it.