Google’s very open nature says a lot about the company’s large heartedness when it’s come to services in tech world. Its successful stints with the open-source Android operating system and Chromium are only witness to the party developers are having. The end of October saw the company launching the new stable Google Chrome 7.0.517.41 browser and we couldn’t wait to see what’s been done to take the web navigation experience to new levels. The browser has been developed employing the WebKit layout engine and framework. Besides of course taking care of the bugs seen earlier, this latest edition is said to have been bundled with a plethora of new features and enhancements too. Our in-depth review we think should give an insight into how Google adds its expertise to the general web surfing experience in Chrome 7.
It takes no advanced proficiency whatsoever to install and run the Chrome browser after it has been downloaded. Chrome performs the job of updating to its new version automatically minus user intervention in case you already using the older version. Post installation, hitting on the Chrome symbol for the very first time threw up a welcome screen that offered a choice of three search engines namely Google, Yahoo and Bing. We picked Google for the obvious reasons. Is it an overload of our recent date with the iMac or just us finding too much similarity in the design and appearance of the browser to Apple’s Safari browser? Well, it should be surprising actually considering it’s the same open-source engine. The tailoring of the tool is meant to appease with tabs in curved semi-rectangular shapes. They are certainly fuller and brighter to look at, a step away from the boring appearance of tabs in Firefox. (We don’t really think IE deserves mention here). The high spot of this Google innovation is that most visited pages popped up as screenshots on a main starting page. It included the Welcome to Google Chrome and Google Chrome themes gallery by default and is open to customization.
Importing our bookmarks and page history from Firefox was seamless and gave us no reason to complain whatsoever. We personally loved how the tabs slide in to make space before a previous one when you attempt opening a new tab. The New Tabs page provides a summary of the most visited pages along with the recently closed tab. Moving back and forth tabs is a snap as well with a simple slide instantly performing the desired action. The clutter-free and simple interface let us navigate through pages conveniently. Much like Firefox and IE, you can choose to let Google Chrome save the passwords for you. What left was wondering though is that there’s no precise indication on page load status like IE or Firefox. A grey bar is seen at the bottom of the page instead and dances on either sides depending where you’ve placed the mouse. However, you shouldn’t be missing the feature too much as web pages on the browser load much crisper and faster. The simplistic fabrication ensures the browser isn’t too heavy on the machine employing it too. Themes that we could opt from were innumerous and fun. The company categorizes Themes by Artists and Google and the Bayonetta theme was what caught our fancy when we used the browser at stretch. The company has paid heed to user requests of efficient HTML5 implementation as well.
The star at the end of the omnibox is nothing different from the one on Firefox allowing you to save/edit/remove bookmarks as you wish. It’s very enthusing to see a committed Bookmark Manager enabling you to arrange just how you wish bookmarks to appear. A search option lets you fish within bookmarks for easy access to most loved pages and the bookmark section holds the recent, search and other bookmarks page options. There is a special Organize feature too. The keyboard shortcuts you can use also do not change with Ctrl + N, Ctrl + T and Ctrl + Shift + N labeled for New Window, New Tab and New Incognito Window respectively. The only novelty here is the Incognito option which has been designed intelligently for private browsing. Letting you navigate in stealth mode, you don’t need to worry about your browsing and download histories being saved. What’s nifty about this whole thing is that all new cookies are deleted after you’ve closed all incognito windows. With two separate windows making for a more organized browsing experience, you can leave aside the trouble typically faced when changes are made to the browser or general settings as they are saved. You may want to keep in mind that this is specifically a browser-based feature and doesn’t prevent visited websites from hoarding your personal information.
Unlike what’s seen in other browsers, the only thing you’ll have to get accustomed to, is tabs opening up above the URL address area and not beneath it. Chrome 7 stays far from having too many options clutter up the main browser, in fact there aren’t any at all. They’ve all been stashed away neatly in one general Settings option. It includes the Edit (Cut, Copy, Paste) button and the ability to zoom from 50% to 300% of a page suiting virtually every device need. There’s sadly no zoom only text option which we would have preferred. The Full screen option here stays the same with the F11 button serving the purpose. Google has changed features only in terms of strategic position like a Ctrl+F shows the Find box on top instead of the bottom. It highlights the found content by default with the exact number of matches found also listed there and you don’t have to manually select it. Besides when you save a particular page, its associated java script is also saved. Hopping onto the tools section in here let us create application shortcuts which aren’t just restricted to the desktop but also the start menu and the quick launch bar.
The omnibox interestingly highlights the main domain name darker than the rest of the URL.
You can detach an individual tab from a number of tabs to have it open up as a completely new page.
Google’s Chrome doesn’t seem to match up to the detailed tweaking options offered by Firefox.
Another pitfall is that it’s difficult to install an older version of the browser as it is automatically upgraded.
It wasn’t until the open tab number on the Chrome browser reached 35 that it started behaving sluggish. This definitely says much about the tool. Its more or less complete feature list makes it quite a ready-to-use browser. On the face of it, the browser has a very clean look which is well-complemented by the enhanced speed. The minor glitches certainly do nothing to take away from the browser’s overall performance. On our score card, Google Chrome 7 gets a 9 out of 10.