Chrome

Andrew Stephens, Wednesday the 3rd of September, 2008 in Computing

So This post was automatically imported from my old sandfly.net.nz blog. It may look a little weird since it was not originally written for this format. Google is going where angels fear to tread, and has released a browser of their own: Chrome. This is a very interesting move; I can think of a few reasons why Google might think a custom browser might be a good idea:

I used Chrome for a couple of hours today at work (luckily I am in a line of work were this is not considered goofing off.) The interface is very clean and slick, even better than Safari. Having the location bar as part of the tab rather than above it make a lot of sense, and Chrome does it much better than IE, which I have always found visually confusing. I also like the way that Chrome uses the window title bar when full screen, giving you an extra few pixels of vertical height.

Chrome uses the infamous WebKit HTML layout engine, as seen in Safari and various Linux browsers. It is very fast at complex pages and supports all the fancy -webkit extensions to CSS. Sadly it does not include the excellent graphics renderer that comes with Safari, so fonts and images still look jaggy. Also, no support for @font-face - come on!

The network code seems pretty tight. Browsing through proxies worked well (a lot better than Safari) although it never seemed to do automatic NTLM authentication like IE.

There are a few omissions. Weirdly, Java applets do not seem to be supported. I am not sure if that is deliberate, or just something they haven't gotten around to yet. No Mac version as yet, although it is apparently on the way.

Finally I must observe that commissioning a comic book for announce a product launch is one of the weirdly cool things I have ever seen.