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#1 M. Leary

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 09:40 AM

So I have been using Google Chrome and getting used to its ins and outs. So far, I really enjoy the simplicity of the framework in that the navigation bar is basically an Internet Leatherman multitool, referencing past navigation is very quick, and most of the web based applications I use are Google products anyway.

On the downside, this simplicity can force one into a box, I noticed this same Google characteristic when I started using Picasa over a host of similar programs. One trades speed and simplicity for the ability to customize at will. Over time I am sure we will see an accretion of plug-ins and add-ons and widgets, but for now the interface is really sparse. I will be interested to see how this interface will change my browsing habits, as the navigation bar serves the function of multiple websites/IE features I had used previously (type in "monkey" for example and you get the option for a google search, the wikipedia entry, instances of monkey in your browsing history, and what appear to be frequently visited instances of monkey). Additionally, the placement of linked images of my nine most recently visited websites may toy with my browsing somewhat. At the very least, it is a graphic rss for what I use the most frequently.

And as one who uses the internet continually for academic reference, I think this feature could cut down on a lot of time it usually takes me in searching for items that I hadn't realized were important eight searches ago. Paired with google scholar, this is a very slick tool. Using it for netbible/nestle aland/perseus searches makes it even better.

But I am not involved with IT so I look forward to the opinions of those who are...

Edited by MLeary, 03 September 2008 - 09:41 AM.


#2 opus

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 10:19 AM

If you're interested in the really geeky details, then this comic book is a must-read. It goes into a lot of depth concerning Google's ideas and goals for the project.

And from Wired, "Inside Chrome: The Secret Project to Crush IE and Remake the Web":

QUOTE
Speed may be Chrome’s most significant advance. When you improve things by an order of magnitude, you haven’t made something better—you’ve made something new. “As soon as developers get the taste for this kind of speed, they’ll start doing more amazing new Web applications and be more creative in doing them,” [Lars] Bak says. Google hopes to kick-start a new generation of Web-based applications that will truly make Microsoft’s worst nightmare a reality: The browser will become the equivalent of an operating system.

I haven't had a chance to use it myself, but I definitely intrigued. Hopefully a Mac version comes out sooner, rather than later. Based on what I have seen and read, though, I have a feeling that Chrome might be less useful as a general purpose browser (initially, at least), and more useful as a browser for specific sites (e.g., GMail, Google Reader, other advanced web apps).

The reason for this is that, in the tests I've seen, Chrome isn't noticeably faster than Firefox and Safari when it comes to handling "standard" websites (it does, however, handily beat IE). Where it shines, however, are on more "dynamic" websites that make use of lots of JavaScript and web scripting (e.g., GMail), because of Chrome's brand new JavaScript engine, aka "V8" (which is almost 60 times faster than IE7's engine).

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. More and more, web developers are focusing on creating these types of "dynamic" sites -- just witness the vast numbers of web apps that pop up every week (e.g., GMail, Google Docs, Mint.com, Basecamp, ProofHQ, online photo/graphics editors).

I'm also really impressed at how open Google is being with Chrome. They're basically saying, our entire livelihood is based on the Web, and so we're doing everything we can to make the Web better, including giving away every facet of Chrome. For example, other browser developers can take any piece of Chrome -- for example, the V8 JavaScript engine -- and use it in their own browser. Now that's just cool.

#3 M. Leary

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 10:32 AM

Helpful comments, especially as more and more people are moving to web-based apps even for institutional web design and the like (e.g. Joomla). It is interesting that as talk increases about the control of actual content and personal interaction on the web, web searching and interfacing becomes more and more open.

#4 Jason Panella

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 03:40 PM

I downloaded when I got home from work last night and was sold after 10 minutes of use. I feel like Google sneaked into my brain and compiled everything I ever wanted in a browser into Chrome.

The 'most-used pages' feature is REALLY helpful, and the minimalist design is fantastic. The dynamic loading system is the best, though; page that slogged open on Firefox (usually with JavaScript) just pop open simply with Chrome.

#5 M. Leary

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 07:34 PM

After using it for a full day I am pretty much on board as well. If you activate the "favorites" bar and pop on your email, rss reader, etc..., then you have an instant streamlined workspace.

#6 MattPage

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 03:42 AM

I used a bit, but am back to back to Firefox. I just love too much Firefox's drop down box in the top left where you can search your favourite websites direct.

I do plan to keep looking at it though.

Matt


#7 M. Leary

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 08:22 AM

Chrome has the same thing in a button on the right. Additionally, you can turn on a bar that sits just beneath the navigation box. On this bar you can add favorite websites in the form of little icons to click, this thin bar will be on every new tab opened. Super handy.

#8 M. Leary

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 08:57 AM

I am back and forth on the privacy thing. On the one hand, I shouldn't care if they no where I am browsing. On the other hand, I do. And how secret is my browsing history on any other browser anyway?

#9 MattPage

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 09:18 AM

QUOTE (MLeary @ Sep 4 2008, 02:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Chrome has the same thing in a button on the right. Additionally, you can turn on a bar that sits just beneath the navigation box. On this bar you can add favorite websites in the form of little icons to click, this thin bar will be on every new tab opened. Super handy.
How? where? etc.

Matt



#10 opus

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 09:23 AM

Regarding the privacy implications of Google Chrome, here's the word from Matt Cutts, a developer at Google:

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For better or worse, my blog is popular with the Google conspiracy-theorist demographic. I knew that as soon as Google Chrome launched, some readers would ask tough questions about privacy and how/when Google Chrome communicates with google.com.

So I decided to tackle this issue head-on. I talked to the Chrome team to find out if there’s anything to worry about. The short answer is no. For the long answer, read on.

Essentially, Chrome does not send any information back to Google from general web browsing. The features that could potentially send your user information back to Google -- URL suggestions, crash reports -- can be turned off.

BusinessWeek has some additional analysis:
QUOTE
The only really new privacy-related aspect that may concern some users in Google Chrome appears to be its "Google Suggest" feature tied into the URL address bar. By default this will send information to Google regarding the URLs that you enter directly, to enable URL suggestion data to be returned to the browser from Google. Note though that -- as described on the relevant Google pages -- virtually all of these related features can be disabled by users if they choose to do so.

It's also worth nothing that Chrome is open source, so in theory, if someone did find a privacy hole in Chrome, they could roll their own browser without that hole. From David Pogue:

QUOTE
Will Google ensure that its own services run better in Chrome than in other browsers? Is this part of Google's great conspiracy?

That's a no and a no. Chrome is open-source, meaning that its code is available to everyone for inspection or improvement -- even to its rivals. That's a huge, promising twist that ought to shut up the conspiracy theorists.



#11 SDG

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 10:25 AM

Google Chrome is Bad for Writers & Bloggers
So Google has released a new browser called Chrome. But I’ll never use it. And it’s because Chrome’s EULA wishes to take anything that I type into my browser window (which would include, ahem, this blog entry, any email I access through the Web, and just about anything else involving the Internet) and give it to Google for them to use for any purpose. From the EULA:
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.
I should note that “Services” is defined as “your use of Google’s products, software, services, and web sites,” but this is, to say the least, disingenuous. Anyone who uses Chrome will technically own the copyright, but who needs copyright when the Chrome user effectively gives up her right to distribute this content in all perpetuity and without royalties?

Edited by SDG, 05 September 2008 - 10:26 AM.


#12 SDG

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 10:34 AM

...aaand now Google says they've fixed that little rights glitch...
So for Google Chrome, only the first sentence of Section 11 should have applied. We're sorry we overlooked this, but we've fixed it now, and you can read the updated Google Chrome terms of service. If you're into the fine print, here's the revised text of Section 11:
11. Content license from you
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.
And that's all. Period. End of section.


#13 M. Leary

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 11:32 AM

A lot more bits out there about privacy issues with Chrome, the issue hasn't seemed to be clarified yet.

#14 MattPage

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 09:14 PM

10 reasons Firefox won't be worried about Chrome

..except, of course, they will. Perhaps "shouldn't be" or "may not be so" might be more appropriate?

Matt

#15 M. Leary

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 03:40 PM

Yikes, the benefit of GC for me is that is drew attention to some massive compliance issues in a bunch of code I had written for my last blog. IE is still a dominant browser, but I wonder if GC will force IE to push towards greater compliance on CSS issues with everyone else.

#16 opus

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 04:26 PM

QUOTE (MLeary @ Sep 7 2008, 03:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yikes, the benefit of GC for me is that is drew attention to some massive compliance issues in a bunch of code I had written for my last blog. IE is still a dominant browser, but I wonder if GC will force IE to push towards greater compliance on CSS issues with everyone else.

One can only hope. It is worth noting, though, that Chrome isn't entirely up on some of the newer CSS standards, at least not as much as Firefox and Safari.

#17 theoddone33

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 06:15 AM

I posted my initial thoughts about Google Chrome at a different forum, pasted here:

QUOTE
I tried it for a few minutes at work. Sandboxing is a good idea. The bookmark homepage was ok but I think it will be duplicated pretty quickly in other browsers if it catches on (even if by extension only). Tabs above the menu bar are ugly but not a dealbreaker. (Edit: Actually I just realized that this is a Fitts' Law thing, making it much smarter and better than I first thought.)

The bookmark button is one of the best features of Flock, which I used for a while. The problem with Flock's was that the button didn't work as a toggle. Very obvious, very wrong. I didn't try Chome's... but if it works in this way it'd be a very good feature.

So I browsed around for a while. It's cute, it's functional, but then I realized that there's no adblock and I took it off my toolbar and reopened Firefox. No Mac port (yet) gives me no reason to get very excited, and a browser without extensions feels like a step backwards. Plus it's Google, so you know there's something dark and sinister behind all of this. Open Source? Sure. Who says the binaries they're distributing match the source they're distributing?


Fitts law is interesting, wikipedia knows about it if you haven't heard of it. Basically the implications of it are that it is easiest to hit targets that are at the edge and corners of the screen when aiming with a mouse, though the easiest target to hit is one that requires no movement at all. The tabs being on top is an important user efficiency feature for Chrome, though it is pretty ugly.

I'm not happy with the "star button" bookmark implementation. I really wish someone would do this right. And I was initially very annoyed by the lack of plugins or extensions, but I browsed the comic a little and saw mention of them so they may actually exist. Will I be able to get adblock and greasemonkey for it, though? If not... I doubt I'll be using it much.

I didn't try the download manager, I wish I had. If it's as good as the Download Statusbar extension for Firefox, it would be nice.

Hopefully what will happen is that all the other popular browsers will duplicate all of the good features of Chrome, even if only in extension form. Specifically the sandboxed tabs (each tab runs in its own process and will crash independently of any other tab).

#18 M. Leary

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 09:20 AM

QUOTE (theoddone33 @ Sep 8 2008, 08:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I didn't try the download manager, I wish I had. If it's as good as the Download Statusbar extension for Firefox, it would be nice.


It is pretty clunky and inconvenient in GC. Takes up a large part of the lower screen.

#19 M. Leary

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 02:00 PM

Thanks Al for more on the inside track. It seems that by using Google apps on either IE or FF, you can achieve the functionality of GC. Maybe a little bit slower, but that is worth security in the long run.

#20 MattP

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 10:10 AM

I assume this is a Chrome-specific thing, and not something that you can do anything about Alan, but I'll mention it anyway. When I use A&F, if I click a link to the last page of a thread, read what there is to read, then "Back" out to the previous page (Forum list), Chrome still has the "Unread" icon lit up on the side of the thread. Clicking additional threads and then backing out of them doesn't do anything. It's not until you actually re-load the page without "Back"ing into it that it will show the threads as read. In IE7, when I click a thread and then back out, it's already updated to show it as read. Like I said, I assume there's nothing on your end that can do anything about this, but I might as well ask...

Overall, I'm actually a fan of Chrome so far. I especially like the use of the all-in-one address/search/suggestion bar, and the ability to pull tabs off to their own windows when desired.