Thursday, September 04, 2008

Google Chrome Lives Up To The Hype, Well Sorta

With only a few days under its belt the much talked about, much hyped Google Chrome browser has already grabbed more than 1% of the browser market.

The new Web browser was officially released in beta on Tuesday and quickly began grabbing at the market share held by Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Opera and others.

Net tracking companies Net Applications Inc. and StatCounter are reporting Google Chrome's total market share reached around 1%, less than 24 hours after the browser's launch, passing rivals such as Opera and Netscape in the process. So far the new browser has topped out with about a 1.57 percent of browser share, but then sunk back down after the initial excitement to 1.06 percent--still ahead of Opera's .74 percent.

It didn't take long for the buzz to die out around Chrome once bugs starting appearing and the "Chrome" quickly tarnished.

Google has posted a page of known Chrome issues. These include laptops failing to sleep when running Chrome, various network errors related to proxies, lack of support for SSL client authentication, inability to remove entries from the Most Visited sites page, and issues with Google Calendar, Docs, and Spreadsheet.

Many users, myself include, have commented on the rather large memory footprint and processor thread count that Chrome creates. Chrome's isolated tabs eat more memory because it essentially opens a separate instance of the browser for each tab. Basically when you have 3 tabs open you have 3 separate version of the browser running, something that was a little confusing when view my running processes.

Early benchmarks show that Chrome might consume has much as 60-80% more resources than FireFox, IE7 or Opera.

In my tests Chrome was very responsive. Page load times seemed to be faster than FireFox 3 or IE8 Beta 2, pages seemed to render much crisper and cleaner than IE8. However I didn't like the overall feel. The browser looks too generic, almost juvenile. The lack of support for RSS feeds, my Google toolbar or any other extensions left me wanting more.

Google has promised extension support sometime down the road, "We don't have that in the beta today, but we definitely plan an extension API," or application programming interface, Sundar Pichai, a Google vice president of product management, said at the Chrome launch event Tuesday. "It is one of the things we will get to next."

Anyone that has yet to try out the new browser it can be downloaded here in a version for Windows XP and Vista.

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