interaction usability web

Google Chrome Beta – My Thoughts

Google Chrome

I looked at Google’s Chrome browser by going through the walk-through clips, and it actually has some merits! People have complained about an increased memory issue. I can’t believe people actually worry about memory usage nowadays. Even my 2 year old laptop has 2GB of memory.

I’m not here to slag off Chrome (it is ‘beta’ after all), or worship its greatness, but to just adjust my thoughts on the browser according to the hype. What’s important is not how badly it does things other things do better, but how Google has tackled an extremely difficult problem of redesigning a web browser, in a way that it simplifies browsing for most people. Please note, I haven’t tried the browser, as it’s only for Windows right now.

One box for everything

Makes sense. Most browsing tends to start with a search nowadays, even if it’s a site you know address to.

New Tab page

Requirement in every browser. makes sense.

Application shortcuts

Silly. Makes things more complicated. Adding more ways of achiving the same task (loading web page) may confuse people.

Dynamic tabs

Good innovation that I first saw with Safari (3?). Should be there in all tab interfaces

Crash control

lol. reminds me of how Windows Mobile has a task manager. There are simpler ways of task managing and indicating misbehaving apps! E.g. press close on the tab or fade window to show it’s not active.

Incognito mode

Makes sense for secret browsing. Incognito is a bad word to use though. I didn’t even know what it meant at first.

Safe browsing

These big messages confuse people – I remember when designing Firefox 3, the Mozilla Foundation went through loads of different designs for notifying users that a certificate is invalid/to warn people about installing add-ons. The ones rejected for being too scary were less scary than the Chrome ones. Actually, a quick search showed that for managing current-page SSL certificates it still shows a scary box. We’ve all seen it.

Instant bookmarks

Is this in terms of interaction? Because that doesn’t seem so instant to me. Needs to be synced easily and searched via web! I assume, though – and it would make sense – that the address bar also searches bookmarks.

Importing settings

*Yawn. But I agree that it has to be shown as a feature.

Simpler downloads

Now THIS is a worthy feature that I am genuinely impressed with. Even a web geek like me gets ticked off with the complexity of viewing download progress, extraction, finding files.This fixes part of that problem by taking up screen space, which forces you to keep your downloads organised. I guess, same principle as the downloads drawer in Leopard.

2 replies on “Google Chrome Beta – My Thoughts”

I don’t agree about the application shortcuts. It does look like a no-brainer, but it clears out useless menus when you don’t need it. Why keep all those tabs and url box and back button when everything is going on inside the page? And it allows you to launch your web app like you would any other app (desktop, quick launch bar, or Start menu). I think this is the thin edge of the wedge into creating web-centric OS, but that’s another matter.

I hesitate to use even upgraded versions of Chrome, since my last experience using it (first version) left my computer compromised; have they fixed the security issues beyond all doubt?

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