Most people spend the majority of their time on their computer on the internet – you’re either checking your email, reading blog posts, shopping for products, watching videos, editing documents, or a million other things.
Naturally, it’s quite important what web browser you’re going to use – it’s the window through which you can view anything on the internet. You want your web browser to be fast, simple to use, have all the features you want, and work as it’s supposed to. Google’s browser Chrome does all this and more.
The User Interface
Right off the bat, Chrome is strikingly simple and basic. Google sure emphasized “the simplest of browsers” idea. On the top, you can see all tabs you have open. Your tabs expand or shrink depending how many you have open, so they always fit, and you can easily rearrange the order your tabs are in by clicking and dragging a tab to wherever you want it to be.
Right below your tabs is the traditional navigation buttons and the Omnibar. Using the Omnibar, and depending on what you type in, you can enter a web address, see search suggestions, sift through any past sites you’ve visited, and look at relevant bookmarks you’ve made. Using the Omnibar, you don’t need to go to google.com to search; you can just type in whatever you were going to search and hit enter.
Then comes the bookmarks bar. Any bookmarks you’ve saved to the bookmarks bar will show up here waiting to be used.
Under these are eight of your most viewed websites: when you first download Chrome, these will be empty, but Chrome quickly learns which websites you visit the most often and puts them here.
In this day and age, it’s not uncommon to have multiple computers: your desktop at work, your laptop at home, and the netbook you bring to business trips. It’s a pain to manually transfer your bookmarks, history, and passwords for your browser from one browser to another.
Chrome solves this problem with a sync system – you simply sign in with your Google account (you already have one if you have a gmail or youtube account, but if you don’t, signing up is easy), and any changes you make will instantly change on all the other places you have Chrome installed.
The options page has a section where you can tweak exactly how you want to sync your data; it’s all very flexible.
Chrome’s pinned tabs are another example of how Google really made sure to include cool little useful features to their browser. If you have several websites that that you want to have open constantly, say your email and facebook, you can “pin” a tab to the far left of the tabs so it’s always in the same place. Doing this is as easy as right clicking any tab and selecting “pin tab.”
Chrome Web Store
The Chrome Web store is possibly one of Chrome’s greatest features. Released early last year, it’s growing in both quantity and quality as developers realize the potential of the system. From it, you can install extensions and web apps with a single click. Some of these are simple bookmarks that point to well known web apps such as Google Docs or Picnik, and others are complicated HTML5 apps such as the New York Times app.
There are also a multitude of extensions that allow you to do anything from blocking ads to changing the new tab page. Chances are, if you’re looking for someway to customize Chrome to your own preference, you’ll find it in the Chrome Web Store.
Chrome is blazing fast. Double clicking on it’s icon and it launches almost instantly. Chrome is powered by Webkit, which is a speedy little rendering engine that makes sure web pages are shown quickly and correctly.
Chrome is my browser of choice, and here are the top reasons:
- It’s fast. Click a link, and it loads immediately. No waiting, no lag.
- It’s cut back. They’ve hidden or taken away anything you won’t be using so all that’s left is brilliant. Ironically enough, they took away all the chrome of the browser and just left content. And they did it beautifully.
- It’s feature filled. Bookmark and preferences sync, tab pinning, a bookmark manager, an awesome new tab page, and the Chrome Web Store are just some examples.
- It just keeps getting better. The team behind the browser is hard at working to improve Chrome in every aspect, and since it auto-updates you don’t need to do a thing to benefit from these enhancements.
There are several versions of Chrome you can download: the stable version (for those who want a rock solid browser), a beta version (for those who want to try some new features and don’t mind sacrificing a little stability), and the dev version (for those who want any and all experimental features). You can download any of these at the following links:
Enjoy your speedy new browser, and let me know what you think of Chrome below in the comments!