"if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi." -Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence(2003)

Google Chrome: Initial Impressions

when it comes to using browsers, i am a browser.
i mean, not in "computer program used to surf the Internet". not even as in browser of the newspaper.
at this point, if you are thinking "as in animal who eats shrubs", then you would be right; partly though, coz i have turned vegan for a short while, but that wouldn't be entirely the point of this discussion (as you might as well have guessed from the title).
in any case. as i was saying, i'm a browser. as in in "one who looks around without seeking anything in particular". and a power browser at that, i might as well add.
if i say that i have been using browsers (the computer program kind) since ...well, not mosiac, that would make me like 200 yrs old ... the Navigator, you can definitely hypothesize that i am not exactly in my teens i have come a long way using them.
so when Google today launched their new Chrome browser ... funny name, coz ironically, the browser lacks one... i felt compelled to test it for myself.
i will briefly tell the experiences i had so far (a few hours, i confess, but nevertheless).
frankly, i have no idea what the hoopla about "different tabs are launched in their own process" is all about. Microsoft has been having that "feature" optional - optional, mind you, not "take it or leave it", since their IE 4!! (For those of you who remember, IE 4 came default with Win98). Forget that, since IE 5, the designers made it switch automatically if the machine had more than 32MB RAM.
if you don't believe me, do this simple test. Open IE using Ctrl+N in an existing browser instance and it uses the same process. Open it using the desktop icon (or Start menu, or Quicklaunch icon...whatever way you swing) and lo behold, it's a new process!! Oh, btw, one can see processes using the Processes tab on the Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc, or Ctrl+Alt+Del, or Ctrl+Alt+Del and clicking on the Task Manager button, or Right clicking on TaskBar and clicking on Task Manager menu! Whew!!)

therefore, Chrome designers, nothing new in that.
but the similarities end there. there are a lot, and i mean an awful (in a good way) lot of UI changes in the Chrome. putting the tabs above the URL ...sorry, the awesome bar... oops, that was for FireFox 3, ... i mean the Omnibar is one. then there are the vista-esque window buttons, especially the close button that ever so slowly glows red on mouse over. i loved the unobtrusive "save password?" menu bar style dialogue box instead of the irritating pop-up alert in FireFox 2 (didn't much want to install 3, though i have the beta, but hardly ever use it. Why? it doesn't support the iFox Graphite theme... well, didn't when i last looked)

one thing i noticed is that this browser is waaaaaaay tooooo faaaaaast. Blaaaaazzzzing, to be precise. i guess that has got to do with the V8 (not the popular 100% juice) engine that has some javascript interpreter or some such hi technology stuff the details of which you can easily find on wikipedia or Google's site itself. but it is using the same webkit engine or whatever that Safari uses. tho i miss safari's amazing tab options and the find feature. you should check them out. i mean, separating tabs into windows, merging.... they're brilliant. right now, only IE8 has the 'coloured tabs for the same group' feature that i'd like firefox, chrome and safari to incorporate too. i have little doubt that they won't.
chrome also copies the 'incognito' mode from safari. it is using that same yellow coloured text boxes for the 'AutoFill' feature from the Google toolbar, that i had the misfortune to see when they launched that toolbar. (frankly, i keep away from toolbars and even google desktop. i think it just makes you even more messy ... haphazardly storing your stuff in the nearest place you find on that ginormous hdd, then relying on such tools to look for it when you need it the most, and then curse them for not finding it.)
there's also a lot of ajaxy stuff - you can move around tabs etc, but what i felt was lacking was the absence of config options. plus, it is too much dependent on the pointy tool, aka mouse.

at this point, i have to deviate somewhat to tell you this. i am lazy. i mean, i know that you had already guessed that from the frequency of my postings, but you had no idea how much. till now. so here goes. i am sooo lazy, that i hate to even take my hands off the keyboard, and then, in paainstaaking mootioonnss move the hand (with the mouse, natch) to the exact location of the target, making sure that you have the mouse pointer hotspot in the same area as that of the target's hotspot, and then, after you have done all that, click. and then wait for the action to happen. and then do that all over again. except, i refuse. that is sooooo slooooow, it makes you think you're watching yourself do that in super slomo. you could do such actions at warp speeds ten times over using the keyboard. and then some more. (if you're interested, check out a FF extension named mouseless browsing or MLB. awesome!). these days, the keyboard shortcuts in a GUI is often an afterthought.

okay, enuff blamestorming, now back to chrome.
for downloading files, it creates this Download folder in MyDocuments and stores files there. also, multiple processes or not, it does tend to freeze up sometimes. i was on a secure site, and the other window was streaming audio, but it was breaking up. maybe it was me... i mean my measly Celeron equipped with an even measlier 512 MB, but let me check it on my souped up office machine.
and be careful though, these vista-esque menubar buttons i was telling you about, if you're like me and using it on anything else, it isn't a really smooth transition. if you are using modified themes and that blue bar sticks out like the Pontiac Aztec (i don't know why they 'hard coded' that. they could simply have used the OS default.)
then there are a lot of security features etc, which i am too lazy tired to go into too much details.

but there you have it. chrome is here to stay. check out their long, but well illustrated comix and while you're at it, marvel, just as i did, at the way they use their resources to load test their software!

firefox is also releasing their scriptmonkey or some such, which is similar to the javascript VM/interpreter that chrome has!

the browser wars have started again...

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--"I have the simplest of the tastes and I am always satisfied with the best!"--
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