Google yesterday launched Google Chrome browser which is based on an open source project named ‘Chromium’. It is currently in beta version, uses ‘webkit’, the same engine that runs Apple’s Safari browser, and is available for Windows XP/Vista only. Google says it is working on a Mac and Linux version as well.

To explain the features and motivations for the browser, Google sent a comic to developers around the world and also made the comic available in Google books. Going through the comic one can easily understand the vision behind Chrome and the features it brings in. I highly reccomend reading it and learn how Google envisions its browser to be a whole new operating platform.

Chrome has Google’s own Javascript engine, which provides for enhanced performance, blazing speed compared to other browsers and security. Google’s says, it built Chrome from the ground up taking into consideration applications likethe features offered by today’s webs pages. It also boasts of robust memory management, stability and security.

On installation, Chrome automatically imports your default browser’s bookmarks, saved passwords and settings. The navigation bar in chrome is a search box as well and suggestions drop down as you type the keywords. It searches the browser history as well as the page content. It also has phishing filter and malware protection built in through an extensive list of bad web-sites.

I have been using Chrome extensively today and it ran Javascript and Ajax based web-sites as well as Flash, Windows Media Player and Quicktime just smoothly. Silverlight applications aren’t compatible as yet. As far as I opened 20 tabs, it was stable, but after opening 24 tabs it crashed on my PC. It is quite expected as the browser is still in beta version. One little thing I found funny in Chrome is that sometimes it shows the favicon of the web-site and sometimes it completely forgets to (even if there are two instances of the site opened).

Overall I found Chrome very fast, stable (in normal browsing) and user friendly. But it’s still not something to be a default browser as yet. Let’s hope we have great plugin support and library with it eventually, just like the Mozilla Firefox.

Download Google Chrome from here.

Update: ZDNet just posted an excellent¬†article¬†named ‘Google Chrome: The Five Best New Features’. A must read.

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