Google Chrome–Not much to it!

August 27, 2009 at 3:06 pm (Internet surfing, product review) (, , , , )

About a month ago, I researched the top most popular browsers for Internet services and wrote a little bit about Google Chrome. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten a chance to download it at home and see if it was as great as they made it out to be. Well, now I have downloaded it, so I would like to share my experience.

First of all, Google Chrome is dial-up friendly! The download size (just over 5 MB) took maybe 20 minutes at the most to download.  Compare that the IE8, which is 16 MB, over three times the size of Chrome!

But there’s a reason Chrome is so much smaller–there almost nothing on it! You don’t have the piles of toolbars, accesories, and features you see on IE8, but it’s just as capable of accessing websites. And isn’t that what a browser is essentially for?

As far as the speed, I honestly didn’t see much of a difference, but I didn’t run any comparison tests or measure loading times. Because of it’s simplicity, I tend to believe the reports of others saying it does run faster. Here a few things I like about Chrome:

* Address bar searching. You can Google search keyword straight from the address bar. Not bad, considering almost everyone already searches with Google, and visits Google.com more than any other website.

* New tab page. When you click on the new tab button, you don’t just get a blank page, you get 9 thumbnails of your frequently visited sites (that  can be edited), recently used search engines, recent bookmarks, and recently closed tabs (in case you didn’t mean to close the tab you were just on).

* Dynamic tabs. Ok, so by now we’re all used to tab browsing, and being able to reorder tabs, but Chrome takes it one step further: tabs can become their own windows, and separate windows can become tabs! You can pull tabs down to become a separate window, or drag a window into a tab row of another window. That. Is cool! :-D

Ok, I am a little OCD, so this might excite me more than the average user. At work, for example, I keep my work related sites all collected in orderly tabs, and my personal email, games, etc., on tabs in a separate window. Two windows, multiple related tabs! Every once in a while, I accidentally open a tab in my work window for a personal venture, or I open a new window to get some work related info, and realize too late that I wish I would have added a new tab in the work window instead. For an organizational freak like me, it bugs me enough to start over so my windows are organized! Not so with Chrome! I really wonder why no one else has come up with this!

And here’s a few “negative” aspects.

*It’s REALLY plain. I was actually confused when I first opened the window. I think I’m so accustomed to having too many options that only having a select few left me nearly helpless! This is easily solved by becoming accustomed to using Chrome. Do not fear! Bookmarks, browsing history, private browsing, find, zoom, print, back, forward, refresh, stop, and go are all still there! :-)

*Chrome does not automatically initiate a dial-up connection. I have checked, there’s no “connections” option in the Chrome settings. However, I didn’t set Chrome as my default browser, so this could be the reason, as there are “Internet Options” in the Control Panel. With my current setup, Chrome will simply give me a page not found error until I connect manually from network connections. This is not a big issue, just something I had to figure out.

All in all, not a bad browser, especially if way too many toolbars and buttons annoy you. The light weight browser is fast, clean, and safe, and a great alternative for troubleshooting if your IE is slow or not functioning.

Check out www.google.com/chrome for more details like security, downloading, and other settings, and to download Chrome on your computer.

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Mozilla Firefox: The IE Alternative

July 16, 2009 at 2:17 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , , , , )

Mozilla Firefox is the second most popular web browser for Internet services, next to Microsoft Internet Explorer. Mozilla was one of the first companies to implement tabbed browsing, which is now standard for all Internet browsers. Their browser is free to download and compatible to Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. Firefox is also an open source software, meaning their engineering is available to anyone to be improved or borrowed to make other products. Google’s new browser, Chrome, was based off of multiple Firefox features, and Google openly credits Firefox for their ideas.

There are a variety of features started by Firefox that are now used on other browsers. The “Session restore” feature allows you to go back to the sites you were visiting in the event of Firefox or your computer unexpectedly crashing or closing. Bookmarking, similar to “Favorites”, can be done with one click on the star icon in the address bar to save the current page to view again later.

Firefox also has several unique features: The “Password Manager” offers to remember (or never remember) password information that you are entering on a website. Instead of an intrusive window popping up in the middle of the screen, this feature displays just under the toolbars and can easily ignored if you don’t want to specify how to handle the password information.

Downloading is simple and convenient on Firefox. When you click on a link to download, you will see the Download Manager window, showing the name and progress, as well as the option to pause or cancel the download. Once the download process is complete, just double click the file to open it, instead of trying to find it on your computer.

Firefox may very well be the king of customization with over 6,000 customization options—and counting! These vary from necessary add-ons that help you view certain webpages and applications, to personas and skins tailored to your personality and interests. Here are a few examples:

  • The Minimap Sidebar shows the location of any address by drag and dropping from websites or manually entering an address. You can then get directions with Google, Yahoo, or Live Local. Address are automatically saved for future reference.

  • AnyColor allows you to customize your web browser frame and options window to your favorite color.

  • Speed Dial lets you preset 9 websites of your choice to one-click access them from blank new windows or tabs.

  • Lazarus: Form Recovery saves all the data you type in forms online in the event of a crash. You can simply return to the form, right click, and “recover form” to restore all your information.

Being able to create a browser that is just right for you is easy with Firefox’s many add-ons. For example, the new and improved Internet Explorer 8 has many of the same features, but with Firefox, you can choose only the features that you will use.

Firefox continually looks for ways to make a better browser. The latest version, Firefox 3.5, is faster and safer than previous versions with new technology and better handling of your computer’s memory. It also now has the “Private Browsing” option, like other browsers, which allows you to surf the web without saving any cookies, history, or files on your computer. To read more about the security and speed features, see all the available add-ons, and read more about Firefox 3.5, check out firefox.com.

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Chrome: Surfing the Internet Google-Style

July 10, 2009 at 2:52 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , )

The idea behind Google creating their own web browser was to start from scratch on a program that was made for today’s Internet services. They wanted to make a browser that’s simple and neat, but complicated in it’s security, speed, and functionality.

Google openly used features that have already been implemented on other browsers, they credit Mozilla (who created the Firefox browser) and Apple (who created the Webkit program they used) for ideas on how to create Chrome. An example of some borrowed features you’ll see is bookmarks. You can automatically transfer your bookmarks and favorites from your old browser and save new bookmarks instantly by clicking the star next to your address bar, features identical to Firefox.

Google uses the “tab” feature that most browsers have now adopted. Chrome reflects Google’s way of making products personalized and convenient, using the features they have on their search page and Google toolbar. For example, every time a new tab is opened, instead of white space under the address bar, you will see a layout of thumbnails of previous and often visited websites to choose from, based on your previous surfing. Once you begin typing in the address bar, Google suggests previously visited sites and popular sites, and prompts to run a Google search on the keyword(s) you are typing. It’s like a mini Google search feature in your address bar.

If you want to surf discreetly, for Christmas shopping for example, you can use the incognito window to surf undetected by your computer. It delivers the pages as read-only, and no history or files from these sites are saved on your computer. Simply open the incognito window in a new tab and continue your normal surfing on the other tabs.

Another unique feature of Google Chrome is the task manager. Just like the task manager for Windows, Chrome allows you to track the usage and functionality of each process running on your browser. Not only can you detect with add-on, tab, or other process that is using the most bandwidth, you can end processes individually without disrupting the other processes. The “Crash Control” feature, letting each tab run separately so an individual tab crashing won’t shut down the whole browser, is very handy to avoid losing all of your tabs when one web page is causing problems.

Like any other browser, Google Chrome claims to be the safest and the fastest, implementing their own ideas to how to tackle these areas. Since page loading speed is dependent on so many factors, from the applications and features on each individual webpages, to the connection speed and applications of the individual computers veiwing the Internet, it would be difficult to actually measure one browser speed to another. For example, Google Chrome uses Javascript to run web applications, but a website that is not created for Javascript may not load nearly as quickly as on Internet Explorer using ActiveX.

You may be surprised at the speed at which you can load webpages on Google chrome. Speeds will vary based on your computer, Internet connection, and surfing habits, so try it out if you want to know how it will work for you. You can also check out the website, google.com/chrome to download the product, read about more features in detail, and learn about what security measures have been taken in the creation of this browser.

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