Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Chrome

So, hot off the wire today, Google has released an open-source browser named "Chrome." Like everyone else, I wanted to get my hands on it as soon as a download was available to put this thing to the test. I read at least part of the comic book (yes, I said comic book) that Google released prior to making the download available that explains some of the thoughts behind the development of Chrome. One of the most interesting (to me anyway) was the decision to spawn a new process, instead of a new thread, for each tab that is created.

In any case, as soon as I found out the download was available (which can be found here for anyone interested), I grabbed it and installed it. While it does seem pretty quick in terms of rendering, there are a few things about it (which can obviously change since it's a beta and can be updated at any moment) that will keep me from leaving my beloved Firefox:
1) Most importantly -- plugins/add-ons. I thought, being a Google browser, Chrome would for sure have some kind of nifty integration with Gmail, Calendar, Docs, etc. Unfortunately, there was no such integration, nor can you install add-ons that would provide this functionality. Sure, I could install Gmail notifier (the standalone version) , but it's just not th same. Also... I really like being able to customize how Tabs behave using Tabs Mix Plus...
2) Secondly -- resources. As any developer would, hearing about the fact that Chrome spawns a completely separate process for each tab, I was curious about the resources required to run this beast if I have, say, 10 tabs open. So, I put this to the test. I opened Firefox and Chrome with the same set of tabs and found that Chrome used about double the amount of memory that Firefox used (about 160MB vs. 80MB)

Now, there are definitely some very cool things about Chrome:
1) It's fast -- their javascript engine ("V8") seems to be pretty quick. However, I'd be interested to seeing how this fares against Firefox's TraceMonkey (which I believe is slated to be in Firefox 3.1).
2) Very simple interface -- tabs, address bar, a few buttons, and that's it. Simple is good.
3) The good side of the multiple processes -- if you have RAM to spare, this is an awesome feature. It keeps each website rendering completely separate from the tab next to it. So, if one gets hosed -- you can just close it and move on, without having to force-close the whole browser.

Is it worth a try? Of course! But, while I watch for updates... I'll probably be doing it from Firefox.

1 comment:

Josh Augustine said...

very well said :) I'm going to check it out when I get home.

with something this popular you know everyone and their grandmother is blogging about its tough to find a fresh way to look at or speak about it. I really like how you closed it with the comment about watching it from firefox.
+1 for your journalism skill (bwah bwah *hands over head*)