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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Internet Explorer 8: Worth an Upgrade?

July 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , , , , , , )

Internet Explorer is known for its majority claim on the Internet browser market share and it’s close ties to the Windows operating system. Microsoft continue to flourish and says their new browser is worthwhile and better than ever! Here are a few ways IE8 exceeds it’s previous version.

One unique feature of IE8 is the accelerators. These tools save further browsing time by turning popular searches into a simple right-click function. For example, you can highlight an address, right click on it, and choose the “Bing Maps” feature (similar to Google Maps, or Mapquest). Another smaller window slides out with a small map showing the location of that address and a link to get to directions. This saves you the time you would spend opening a new window and copy/pasting the address on a mapping website.

You can see search results on popular sites such as Google, Dictionary.com, and Wikipedia. First, highlight a keyword(s) on the web site you are viewing, like “Tiramisu” for example, and right click. Choose the accelerator of your choice to see a mini page with Tiramisu search results on Google, or the dictionary or Wikipedia entry at a glance (Tiramisu is, by the way, a delectable Italian dessert!). There are a variety of accelerators available that may interest you, some using Microsoft sites like Bing and MSN, and others using popular sites, including YouTube and Facebook.

Web slices are another new IE8 feature that is available for select webpages (indicated by the green web slice icon at the top of the page). Web slices allows you to see a small “slice” of the pages you want to check regularly, without searching for or loading the webpage.

For example, if you are bidding on an Ebay item, you can add a slice for that particular item (instead of the whole webpage) to your new favorites bar at the top of the page. When the slice has new information, like another person bidding on your item, the slice title become bold. You can click on the slice to see a mini page with your item, increase the bid, or read the new information, etc. Other slices available show news, stocks, weather, sports, etc. The new favorites bar displays your slices along the top of the screen similar to tabs for easy access.

IE8 has some feature with which you may be familiar. Similar to Google Chrome, IE8 has “tab isolation” that prevents the whole browser window from crashing if one tab malfunctioning and “In-private browsing” that allows you to surf without saving history and files to your computer. Like Firefox, if your browser window closes unexpectedly, you can restore all your tabs to the previous session. Like the Google toolbar feature, you can restore recently closed tabs into the same window if you accidentally close a tab.

Internet Explorer 8 also is equipped with newer technology that promises more security and speed. To read more about the security features, check out microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer. Whether it is really faster than other browsers is up for debate, depending on how testing is done and what pages are tested. The best way to know if it works better is to try it out for yourself. Based on your Internet services connection speed and surfing habits, you may be able to load pages faster with Internet Explorer 8. Keep in mind that it is good practice to back up your files and create a restore point before you install IE8. If you do decide to download IE8, check out browserforthebetter.com if you want your download to help feed the hungry.

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