Mossberg: Google Chrome Smart, Innovative But Rough Around Edges

I’ve just downloaded Google Chrome to my PC laptop — my primary at work is an iMac — so I’ve not had a chance yet to evaluate. But Wall Street Journal tech guru has had a full week (!) to test Chrome, and he’s offering his impressions here:

My verdict: Chrome is a smart, innovative browser that, in many common scenarios, will make using the Web faster, easier and less frustrating. But this first version—which is just a beta, or test, release—is rough around the edges and lacks some common browser features Google plans to add later. These omissions include a way to manage bookmarks, a command for emailing links and pages directly from the browser, and even a progress bar to show how much of a Web page has loaded.

Mossberg also looks at the beta for Internet Explorer 8, declaring it “he best edition of Internet Explorer in years,” which for some cynics might not be saying much. But he adds that both Chrome and IE 8 are better than Apple’s Safari.

Mossberg also offers more insight into why he thinks Google is getting into the browser wars, some of which I noted yesterday:

First, the search giant fears that because its search engine and other major products depend on the browser, Microsoft—with its rival online products—might be able to gain an advantage by altering the design of IE, which has roughly a 75% market share.

Second, and more important, Google sees the Web as a platform for the software programs, or applications, that currently run directly on computer operating systems, notably Microsoft’s Windows. It says current browsers lack the underlying architecture to enable future, more powerful Web applications that will rely more heavily on a common Web programming language called JavaScript. Chrome was designed to be the world’s speediest browser at handling JavaScript.

That move might one day make Chrome a sort of online operating system that competes with Windows. “Think of Chrome as more than a simple Web browser,” Google declares. “It’s a platform for running Web applications.”

More from Mossberg here, and you can watch his video review here.

Meanwhile, CNet News checks Chrome’s fine print, and wonders about how advertising could be integrated in the browser, not to mention privacy concerns.


Lifehacker has a screenshot tour here.

Google Blogoscoped, which broke the Chrome news, has one here, too.

Henry Blodget and Tech Ticker on Chrome, via Sarah Lacy.

Om Malik: Why Firefox isn’t worried.

The BBC also gets a look at Chrome.

Some in the Twitterati already knew about Chrome (Valleywag)


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