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The Google Chrome web browser launched yesterday almost 24-hours after Google announced that it would be coming. That gave quite a few media sites enough time to built up hype for the upcoming release, but the question is whether Google was able to deliver the first time around.

I tried out Google Chrome, and they definitely deserve credit for the simplicity they’ve built-in to the application. Here are some of the features that I really like in the browser:

  • Google Gears is included making it easy to take some websites offline.
  • You can monitor performance and memory usage for individual tabs.
  • The new tab page is nice since it shows you recently visited and recently closed tabs.
  • The 404 “page not found” error will give you site recommendations and also provide a search box to find what you’re looking for.
  • You can open up an “incognito window” that won’t store cookies, history, and other data that the browser normally keeps track of.
  • Performance is great. Pages load noticeably faster than other browsers, and it blows away many the competition in the JavaScript Sunspider test. Although Mozilla is saying that Firefox 3.1 will be better than Google Chrome in that respect.

It all sounds great, but there are some things holding me back from jumping on the Google Chrome bandwagon:

  • Security flaws are in every browser, but there will likely be quite a few discovered in Google Chrome considering how new it is. It didn’t take long for the first vulnerability to be found, but in Google’s defense it is associated with Webkit. Apple has already released a patch for the vulnerability, but Google is using a slightly older version of Webkit that doesn’t have it included. I think I’ll wait to see how fast Google reacts to some of the security issues.
  • Gizmodo noticed that in the terms Google is essentially saying that they have a non-exclusive license to everything you publish or create using Google Chrome: “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.” Yikes!
  • I just can’t live without a few of my Firefox extensions. I know I’m a little bit partial, but the CyberSearch extension is something that has given my productivity a huge boost.

In the end I think Google did a good job engineering the browser. It didn’t leave me awe-struck like I would have hoped, but it’s not bad for a first release. It rolls up some of the best features of the various browsers into one convenient package, but it lacks the innovation that I’d expect from Google. It will be a good fit for some people, but I’ll be sticking with Firefox myself. Now that you’ve had a day to sit on it what do you think?

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