Google’s Browser Launches; And Gmail’s Fast

The much anticipated Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Chrome (ok, only since noon yesterday) has launched. Simple installation, and ability to allow setting export from Firefox/Mozilla, as is to be expected. Gmail, the e-mail service from Google, is noticeably faster..other sites don’t seem all that faster than on Firefox. Make no mistake: this is a browser meant to search….anything. From your browsing history to searching various Google services. It is making it dead simple to do that. The browser address bar is the one bar to do all of that, it hopes, and has built that in.

Top 10 features of Google Chrome, as it sees it, in the video below:

A lot of these features are there in Firefox, Opera and the new IE…Google just makes it slicker.

Two minutes later: My first Google Chrome crash..the pic is here. Funny that the pop-up window says: “Please tell Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) about this problem.” Hah…joke, surely. Flash crashed within a YouTube page….this was when I was watching the official Google video about Chrome! Go figure…

Walt Mossberg, who has been testing out the browser for a week, has this verdict: “My verdict: Chrome is a smart, innovative browser that, in many common scenarios, will make using the Web faster, easier and less frustrating. But this first version…is rough around the edges and lacks some common browser features Google plans to add later. These omissions include a way to manage bookmarks, a command for emailing links and pages directly from the browser, and even a progress bar to show how much of a Web page has loaded.”

Also on the speed issue: “Despite Google’s claims that Chrome is fast, it was notably slower in my tests at the common task of launching Web pages than either Firefox or Safari. However, it proved faster than the latest version of IE…”

Staci adds: Google is promoting video coverage of the Republican convention via Ustream, which I was able to watch for a couple of minutes before the Shockwave plug-in crashed. The upside? I didn’t have to download the plug-in and the whole browser didn’t crash. The downside? I was able to replicate the error pretty quickly with Ustream and then again with Hulu and Shockwave and, for good measure, with YouTube. (For the record, I’m running Chrome on 64-bit Vista with 6 gigs of ram on an HP quad core desktop.) This is the kind of glitch that early adopters may suffer through but will need to be resolved to catch the users who look to Google for simplicity that works.

As for speed, Chrome appears to be marginally faster loading the five tabs I use as start-up pages but the page that takes longer on Firefox has the same stutter on Chrome. The import function picked up my partial history from Firefox, btw, so while I couldn’t paste in my home page group, I could add by selecting from a url list. I mentioned earlier today that this may actually take share from Firefox and nothing I’ve seen so far has changed my mind.