OK, I resisted it a little bit, but I finally went and downloaded Google Chrome….

Interesting that it’s only available for Windows first and not Mac, but Google must figure that market is already sewn up by Safari on the Mac (mind you the way Apple keep offering me Safari with iTunes it must be on half of Windows users machines by now – anyone know how I stop that?!).

475kB download??? I assumed it was quick because I’m on the corporate network and it’s probably in the cache but that will be quick on almost any connection – I’m suspecting it downloads more stuff as it installs?

Installation is a couple of clicks and it’s away…

Interestingly at work my default browser is IE (for corporate sites it’s easier), so it immediately imports from there rather than Firefox. I suspect at home that will be a different case. Actually it’s quite a relief as I’d already got 10 tabs open and suspected I might have to close them all down like Chris.

It seems to have imported all my IE stuff quite well, including all the proxy settings for the corporate firewall, interestingly when I go to “Under the Hood -> Change Proxy Settings” it appears to be using the OS proxy settings as they’re configured in LAN settings.
That said this almost the only thing worth playing with in the Options, very limited at the moment in there.

Things I liked within two minutes of playing….

  • Task Manager for tabs…
    Oh the joy of an out of control plugin crashing Firefox and all your open tabs as it chews up 400MB of memory… This should stop all of that, mind you as a colleague pointed out, is this just a front runner to a Google OS that’s integrated with Chrome?
  • Incognito Mode:

    You’ve gone incognito. Pages that you view in this window won’t appear in your browser history or search history, and they won’t leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window. Any files that you download or bookmarks that you create will be preserved, however.

    Definitely good for internet cafe’s and shared machines.

  • Flash etcWorking straight out of the box by the looks of it… Now that is nice.

Things I’m not sure about:

  • That status bar thing, I like my status bar, it helps me identify phishing sites etc. But the Chrome version only pops up when I float over a link.
  • The lack of status bar brings me to another thing, in my Firefox status bar I have my adsense earnings… Plugins, or lack of them – I can’t see any real way to extend Chrome, this is still beta so that may come I guess.
  • RSS feeds in the URL bar, I’m used to seeing that appear for any sites that have a feed. For my own site I’m fortunate enough to have an RSS button on the actual page, but I tried to subscribe to John Lilly’s blog in Google Reader and it wasn’t obvious… I confess – I copied the link to Friefox!

The guys at Mozilla don’t seem too bothered saying they welcome the competition a new browser in the market will create. The interesting part as so many Google developers have contributed to the Mozilla project, will be to see how many plugins end up built into Chrome, and whether a plugin interface appears later in the release cycle. I agree with Mozilla CEO John Lilly at the moment:

I personally think Firefox 3 is an incredibly great browser – the best anywhere

Read more about Mozilla’s thoughts on John’s own blog.

UPDATE: You’ll have read in the comments the concerns of Andrew and many others about the terms of service that Google have included. Matt Cutts has updated us on this being changed.

Notes on a Scandal release