Google Chrome is good software. If you're a normal user that's all you need to read from me. Download it and give it a try, it's a significantly better web browser than Firefox or MSIE. If you're a software nerd, read on. Chrome is a great example of Google's commitment to software engineering excellence. It sounds cliché but people at Google really care to get things right, in a technical sense, and Chrome is a product where that ethos really shines.

Foremost, Chrome is fast. Everywhere. Fast rendering, fast compiled Javascript, responsive UI. I most appreciate the incredibly fast startup time, I never wait for a Chrome window to appear. It takes a lot of discpline to make things fast; check Evan Martin's blog post about Chromium startup times where he explains that even adding 3ms to the startup time is unacceptable.

Also, Chrome seems correct. I'm not an HTML and Javascript spec expert, but in my limited experiments I've quickly come to believe that if Chrome does something it's probably for a good reason; they have incredibly comprehensive testing. Also Chrome implements useful standards like SVG and Canvas. It's shameful how Microsoft refuses to implement these simple things that every single other web browser supports. When it was just MSIE vs Firefox, Microsoft would often win the debate. But now it's MSIE vs. Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. It's clear that Microsoft is the odd man out.

Speed and correctness are not just technical niceties; they are transformative product features. I use my web browser and my desktop far more efficiently now that I have a web browser I trust to open fast. And I use Javascript-heavy webapps like Google Docs or Google Maps a lot more frequently now because they run so well in a good web browser. Of course, that's Google's whole point.

It wasn't clear at first Google was serious about making Chrome a desktop product. They didn't exactly need it: Firefox is a fine competitor to MSIE already and Google already finances most Firefox development. A common theory is that Chrome was built for Android, the phone OS. Whether or not that's true it's clear that Chrome is also a serious desktop product on Windows, and soon on Mac and Linux. They're even adding desktop frills like changable themes. Chrome works great right now, making both Windows and the Web a better experience. Thanks!

  2009-08-19 23:01 Z