After years of speculation and anticipation, Google has waded into the browser application arena with Chrome. How does it stand up next to Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox? Here's a look.
The initial file you download from Google is ChromeSetup.exe. It is only a 475Kb executable and when you run it, it downloads more data from Google.
After the download completes, Google's setup program begins the installation.
Unlike most Windows installation programs, you don't have any options or control over what's installed or any program locations. You also can't see if there's anything else being installed. Chrome's installation program simply installs Chrome with settings defined by Google.
When the installation completes, Chrome displays this screen. You can now change some defaults by clicking Customize. Otherwise, Chrome will create shortcuts and pull in bookmarks.
Chrome imports bookmarks from Firefox. Even though Internet Explorer is installed on this test machine, Chrome didn't seem to pull it in.
Naturally by default Chrome defaults to Google as its default search page. However, you can change it to another search engine.
Once you've chosen all of the basic settings, Google displays this page.
Here's TechRepublic under Chrome.
When you click the Wrench icon for settings, you see this screen. The choices on the Basic tab are reasonably self-explanatory.
The Minor tweaks tab allows you to have Chrome save passwords for Web sites you visit. You can also set download locations.
The Under The Hood tab gives some more control over Chrome. Most interesting is the Use DNS Pre-fetching checkbox.
This checkbox allows Chrome to resolve addresses of links on a page in advance. This speeds up access to those links when you click them. Chrome doesn't precache the linked pages, just the IP addresses of the links.
Scrolling down the Under The Hood tab. Here you see a setting for Phishing and Malware protection. You can also control cookies and SSL settings here.
As viewed in Task Manager. Here's how much memory Chrome uses.
Like all modern browsers, you can load multiple tabs under Chrome. What does it do to memory usage??
As you can see, each tab loads up a new chrome.exe process. Memory usage jumps dramatically, but not as much as Firefox 3.0 running the same tabs.
There's a processor spike usage here.
As you can see, loading up all of the TechRepublic tabs has spiked processor usage.
The culprit is the Video tab on TR.
On our test machine, the Flash plugin crashed, showing this error.
Reloading the Video tab after the crash displays this error. It eventually comes up with no error.
Chrome vs. IE 7
Chrome and IE render the TechRepublic home page very similarly.