Most people are creatures of habit.  Just look at almost any Analytics report now days and you’ll still see that around 20% of most “average” web visitors still use Internet Explorer 6… a browser that was released in 2001 and is EXTREMELY out of date.

So, in an effort to change some of my own habits and try something new, I decided to try setting my default browser from Internet Explorer 8 to Google Chrome.

The following paragraphs are a few of my observations on the browser and how well it performs in everyday environments.

Speed

The first thing I noticed when I switched to Google Chrome was the speed… both in loading pages as well as opening and closing.

At my day job,  I’m on a Windows XP machine.  As a default, it typically comes with Internet Explorer set to the default browser.  I do however use Firefox as a test bed and as a “clean slate” when testing out different designs or debugging an application.

First, there’s the open speed.

Internet Explorer opens pretty quickly averaging about 20 seconds to open, Firefox is a pain-in-the-arse to open on my machine, typically taking anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute, just to open.

Chrome however opens in under 15 seconds from a cold start.

Now, at first, this may not seem like much, but it’s definitely a big advantage when you’re in a zone and trying to move quickly through your paces.

Second, there’s the browsing speed.

In this category, Internet explorer is the drag, while Firefox opens at a comfortable speed.  However, Chrome just rips through everything, especially sites with heavy javascript, flash, or video usage.

In addition to just everyday browsing, opening up Gmail and Google docs (two applications I use on a regular basis) are extremely fast.  But, then again… they should be considering they’re Google products as well :)

Compatability

Compatibility with sites has to be the one major drawback to this browser.

Since it’s relatively new, and still considered in a “beta” format, Google Chrome really isn’t on the radar for most sites with specialized coding or information.

Take for example Hulu.  Hulu is a site I visit and view on almost a regular basis for Lunchtime breaks.

Almost every time I try to watch a video on Hulu, it either doesn’t work or requires a browser refresh to view a video.  So, unfortunately, I need to switch to either Internet Explorer or Firefox to view a video (typically whichever one is open at the time)

Ease of use

One thing you’ll notice on Google Chrome is it’s features… or lack-there-of to be more exact.

Chrome is an extremely “minimalist” browser, that tries to change some of what would be considered the standards in web browsing.

Things like the menu dropdowns on the top, the search box on the top right, and the status bar at the bottom of the screen.

While most of these changes take a little to get used to, once you’re accustomed to the changes, you start to appreciate the sparse user interface and notice that, well… you don’t notice the browser.

Judgement

In my opinion, Google Chrome is an awesome browser and I may just keep it around as my default for some time.

Since I’m using a MAC at home and they have just yet released a stable Beta version for OS X yet, I’ll probably stick with my Firefox browser for now… but, that will change shortly.  We’ll see.

UPDATE: Moments after I published this post, Google finally released the Beta version for MAC.  It’s not a complete parody of the Windows version…but, it’s a start.  Check it out at http://www.google.com/chrome

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