The Real Browser Wars

Up until recently you’ve had the two main camps, those favouring Mozilla’s Firefox browser and the die-hard Internet Explorer, can’t/won’t be bothered to change, users. I mentioned recently that Google had entered the browser war-games and not too long after that I gave you my first impressions of Google Chrome (beta).

Well with the advent of Google Chrome and Internet Explorer 8 (beta) and the already available extensions for Firefox the battle for the browser is ON! As usual the team at Lifehacker have done another analysis of the newer features the different browsers are competing with – take a look for yourself and decide which browser you think is going to win and which if the features you think will make that browser the top-contender. Chrome’s market share of browser usage ist increasing fast, yes it’s new, and quite stable for a beta, but will it live up to people’s expectations?

Google Chrome: First Impressions

So as you may know, Google launched their own browser, Chrome (in Beta form) today. It was relatively quick to download and installation couldn’t have been simpler. The first big difference from other tab-enabled browsers is that the tabs appear at the top of the window, not below the address bar. There’s also no search bar as the address bar and search bar have been combined into what Google call the “omnibar”. If you just start typing keywords in the omnibar it will default to searching using whichever is the default search engine.

From a stability point of view, Google have made each tab a completely separate and isolated process with it’s own thread and memory, which means if something goes wrong in a tab, or it hangs, it doesn’t affect any of the other tabs or the browser. You can also easily drag the tabs away from the browser, as their own separate window, or drag and drop them to change their order. While dragging a tab it appears as a slightly transparent small window with the contents of that page. 

For developers the View Page source shows a colour coded view of the page source as well as offering you an element inspector – right clicking on any element of the page and selecting Insepct Element gives you an overview of the HTML element within the DOM as well as the associated style sheet information. The task manager (press SHIFT+ESC) shows you each tab, CPU time and allocated memory usage. You can also close any tab from there. 

One thing I noticed, which I didn’t like (which Firefox has as well) is that if you allow the browser to save passwords for various websites that they are accessible from the options page and allow you to view them as plaintext – serious security risk in my opinion if anyone accesses your machine while you’re not away (not a problem for me as I instinctivly lock my machine whenever I’m away from my desk).

Okay, I think that’s enough for now – if you want to have a look at a Screenshot Tour of Google’s Chrome browser go and take a look at the following post on Lifehacker’s website.

Want to try it out for yourself, go and download it now (remember it’s still in beta).

[UPDATE]

If you open up a new tab and you’ve visited other websites, like Amazon, and used their search functionality, you’ll notice that you can now search their site directly from the new tab page, without first going to the website, nice! 🙂 

The guys at Lifehacker have done a great job doing a speed and memory comparison between IE 8, Firefox 3 and Chrome – take a look and see the comparisons.

[UPDATE 4 September 2008]

For those of you who have been reading numerous posts about Chrome’s Terms Of Service (ToS) where you give up your right to any content you post and/or view through the Chrome browser: Google have updated Chrome’s ToS in this regard and you retain ownership of anything you post through the Chrome browser and they will not take any content and do with it as they please. (This was an “oversight” on their part as they simply used the ToS from Google Docs.)