As with any other computer geek, I was amongst the downloader’s of the new Google Open Source Browser, Chrome! Downloading and installing it was a breeze, just a couple of minutes. Upon the first start, as with Mozilla Firefox, it asked whether to import data from the current Internet Explorer. Hehe, I don’t know why all browsers target IE as their arch-rival.

The first instant liking was its icon and the comic strip that accompanied the Google Chrome launch. For those of you, who didn’t had a chance to go through the making of Chrome, here it is. The strip actually explains the theory why the concept of a new browser originated. And they explain really well, keeping the reader tied and wanting for more.

Anyways, Chrome looks much like the Mozilla Firefox and takes its base from it (I think). The icons, the loading style, the address bar etc. match very closely with FireFox 3.0 But the best part was the reading pane area - its so much large. The tab bar has been merged with the window title bar, and with just the address bar beneath, the whole of the rest screen is available to the user for working.

At first look, you notice that the tab window has shifted to the title bar. Nice idea - why do we need a title bar in an application when we have the whole application on screen, and in-focus. Cool! The animations while opening new tabs, resizing windows, and closing tabs just adds more funk and UI-appeal to Chrome! Must say, Google has the best user experience.

A new tab displays some of the most frequently sites as tiles alongwith the last snapshot, which is ultra-cool. In a fraction of second I could locate my favorite site and a click brought me to it. Amazing!

Another sparkling feature, is the introduction of application short-cuts. I tried that with GMail, and yes, it looks amazing. You have a window with GMail running, without anything else except the title bar, like a desktop application. Ummm…. is Google planning to venture into bringing everything to the desktop ;) Well, that would be a boon for all users from countries where the broadband penetration is still a dream.

The popup blocker displays a notification as a hovering window on the bottom right, and the connection information comes as notifications on bottom left, fulfilling the task bar’s functionality. Infact, this adds to the beauty of Chrome, adding more space, and removing information which a normal internet user is least bothered of.

Two features introduced in Chrome, would instantly draw a huge fans base amongst the developers. One is the ‘View Source Code’ - just right click on any page and it shows you the source code of the page. So, whats new? Well, the source code is syntax highlighted, color-coded and line numbered. Also, you have an option to view the source code of an inline frame, which I haven’t seen in IE, FF or Safari, except with usage of plugins. I personally am not very comfortable using plugins!

Another is the introduction of Javascript Console. At first look, it seems like a normal console, but upon exploring further its almost a FireBug in place. Whats more is the concept where you can actually see the files being downloaded for a page in a timeline, and optimize your code accordingly. Is this a competition to YSlow! ;)

Yet, there were a few disappointments. While opening MS Exchange 2000, I could not view my inbox, the frame had the whole source code, but I guess there is a problem with the rendering engine. Second, the browser crashes if the internet connection breaks and you try and close it down. But, with the current version as 0.2 and Chrome in beta, its a long journey ahead. I am sure by the time Chrome comes of age, it would be a mature and robust browser taking on IE one-on-one, and is gonna change and shape the future of web.

Keep Walking, Chrome!