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chrome

Google Chrome

I’ve just had a look at Google‘s new Chrome browser and there is quite a lot to like: it’s slick, unfussy, fast-loading, and it mostly displays sites as I would expect it to.

I’m sympathetic to the exercise, and I like the idea of a browser that integrates even more closely the various Google apps I use.

I’m constantly tempted to dump my email client (Outlook) in favour of Gmail, especially as Google continues to refine its product to meet my needs and expectations.

I also regularly use Google’s Analytics, Maps, Reader, Earth, Docs, Images and Calendar – as well as YouTube, Picasa and a few other properties owned by Google. So I’m pretty ready for a Google browser.

I have, however, identified two issues that are pretty major obstacles to Chrome becoming my browser of choice.

First, it doesn’t seem to want to open PDF files. I haven’t seen anything to say that this is not deliberate, a policy akin to Explorer 8 not displaying Google Maps properly. Not only is that kind of attitude distasteful and contrary to the spirit of most of Google’s activites, it makes the browser unusable.

Second, I have yet to find a way to use Chrome to open an HTML file on my local hard drive. That means I can’t use Chrome to preview the sites I build. Once again, the browser is rendered (excuse pun) unusable. Maybe there actually is an option to open local files, but if it is that hard to find it’s not much use to me.

Some people might regard these as minor quibbles, trivial matters. I don’t.

Like Firefox, Opera et al, Chrome is trying to compete with a browser that comes built in to most computers sold these days. That means it has to be so good that average punters who don’t know much about browsers will be motivated to download and install it. And that means it has to be better than good, it has to be mouth-watering.

On the current showing, Chrome isn’t.

As a designer and developer, I’m also not crazy about having to check and cater to yet another browser.

Given that Chrome is driven by Webkit, most of my work should be OK, but I’ve already discovered some quirks in Chrome’s rendering of my CSS. Not at a greater level than IE, FF or Opera – but in different ways, which means I have to check for it.

Even so, if they fix the issues I’ve suggested, I’ll look again seriously at adoptiing Chrome and singing its benefits – once those benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

 

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2 Responses to chrome

  1. Tom Matthews 8 December 2008 at 5:14 pm #

    I agree that a big weakness for web designers with Google Chrome is opening local files.
    The only way I have discovered to do it is to type c:/ in the address bar and you can browse your local folders.

    Tom Matthews

  2. Ricky 8 December 2008 at 6:32 pm #

    That’s a good tip, Tom. It doesn’t completely work for me as I use a small home network so my design files aren’t often the c: of whatever computer I’m on, but it does allow me to contrive a way to check draft sites in Chrome.

    It’s also fair to say that Google set out to build a browser for people out there visiting websites, not for designers. And, of course, it will evolve some yet.

    That’s a nice site you’ve got there yourself, Tom. And an impressive portfolio.

    Cheers

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