Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Web Browser, Google Chrome

The browser wars are heating up.  First Firefox and Safari started taking chunks out of Internet Explorer's dominance. Now there's a new browser in town, and this one was created by Google.

I downloaded the beta today of Google Chrome. Like everything Google, it's simple and user-friendly. At first glance I am impressed.

I decided to bite the bullet and make it my default browser for a week. I'll probably go back to Firefox, but I want to give it an honest try.

Notes for Web Designers

As looked at a few of my own websites and all of them rendered properly in Google, which is good news. This includes a rendering problem on one site that shows up in Firefox.

From what I understand Google is based on Apple's Safari browser. The rendering is more similar to Firefox than IE, but without the bullet rendering problem Firefox has. I've heard that rendering is identical to Safari, but I haven't compared the two personally.

All that stuff is only relevant to web designers. From a user perspective it's very clean, loads very quickly and is very user friendly. It has fewer options but for 99% of users, fewer is better.

Notes for Users

The file, edit, etc. menus have been replaced by two pull down menus. One has an icon of the document and the other has a wrench. The document icon replaces the file and edit menus in IE. The view, tools and help menus are replaced by the wrench. There is a bookmarks bar that replaces the favorites menu.

Bookmarking is a little bit different. You simply click the star next to the address line. It drops your bookmarks into one folder, but you can separate them manually into others. You can also import bookmarks from any other browser you have installed.

When you open a new tab you get thumbnails of websites you've visited most frequently. I'll let you know how this works after trying it for a week. It also shows you the bookmarks you've added most recently.

One new feature that is very unique is called "incognito". From the document menu, you can select "new incognito window". This new window browses exactly like others, but after you close the window no data is saved in your history.

Some parents may not like this because it could allow their children to surf more anonymously. Personally, I like it because it allows me to surf anonymously without my children being able to visit the same sites accidentally. My kids are little so I don't want them even visiting YouTube quite yet. Additionally, you could use it to browse a site that you know that you only visit once. By using incognito it allows you to visit it without it appearing in your list the next time you search. Nothing I hate more than typing address I use frequently and finding that it's mixed in with several dozen others with similar spellings.

One final feature that I think I'm really going to like it is you can drag tabs in or out of a window. I like tabbed browsing that occasionally I want to windows open side-by-side. IE and Firefox both have the capability for tabs or side-by-side windows, but neither has the capability to do both. You can drag one of your tabs into a new window or dragged one of your browser Windows into another and make it a tab.

The jury is still out but I'm looking forward to tinkering. So far the only thing that I'm concerned about is bugs because this is a beta version. Bugs in a Web browser can be extremely annoying.

What do browsers have to do with making money on the Web?

I encourage you to use all the browsers possible. Many people choose their favorite and never open another, but when you're trying to make money on the Web you want to make sure that all the common browsers render your website appropriately. There are subtle differences. Unfortunately most often those differences occur with your advertising widgets. There's nothing worse than giving content to 100% of readers but only providing advertising to 75% of them. That's money you're leaving on the table.
Post a Comment