I took the newly released Google Chrome web browser for a test drive today. I Had the official web page on refresh and so I had downloaded my copy as soon as it became available there. Using a newly released browser, which has also taken most of the known Internet by storm was a pretty overwhelming experience for me.
The browser’s currently released build is 1583 (first public beta) and is based on Mozilla 5, Gecko 1.9.1 and most importantly on WebKit 525.13, meaning that it has the ability to achieve a 100/100 pixel perfect score on Acid3 Tests. It uses the V8 engine for ECMAScript compilation, which is reportedly two times faster than Firefox 3 and Safari 4.
Well this is about enough on the Basics of the browser, and I’m sure that you would like to know how it performs in the world wide web? Well I took this new baby out for a spin on some of the most popular (and most demanding) websites on the Internet today. The browser turned out to be one of the fastest ones I had ever seen (surely giving Safari 4 a run for its money) and had performed above expectations on most sites.
If anyone would be thinking that Gmail may have some issues with Chrome, then you should probably go back to kindergarten. Google had worked out all the bugs for Gmail before handing out Chrome to the public so you can rest assured that all your emails would be safe and secure.
When it comes to web-mail, most of the population is either using Yahoo! Mail (like me) or Gmail. If you happen to use any other service (comment below if you use Live Mail) then I recommend that you sign up for either one of these. Back on the subject, Yahoo! Mail had given me quite a surprise when I loaded it! There was no compatibility warning – meaning that Google and Yahoo! had already communicated regarding the new browser. Needless to say Yahoo! Mail performed great and surprisingly fast as compared to the Yahoo! endorsed Firefox 3.
The Yahoo! home page took an instant to load up and there were no graphical problems with the rendering. All the features were working smoothly and the AJAX-Flash blending was perfect.
I had a pretty bad experience while testing YouTube on IE 8 a few days ago. But I wasn’t expecting to run into any problems on Chrome as both are Google products. My expectations prooved correct and YouTube performed quite smoothly and a few bugs I experienced in Firefox were absent here, like it takes too much time to navigate from a video page when a video is playing. This was due to the multiprocess architecture of Chrome.
Flickr was working fine and there were no speed or compatibilty issues. The newly integrated Picnik had a bit of slow start but once loaded, worked out pretty much fine.
The social music site Last.fm had a bit of performance issues as they are very much tailored for Firefox. Thier Flash based players worked great though.
The resource utilization of Chrome was a bit high. It used some more CPU (due to its architecture) and memory compared to Firefox or Safari, but the overall memory utilization was great with no apparent memory leaks.
This was the biggest surprise of the day! Google Chrome actually scored 78/100 on the Acid3 test even in its infancy. This shows the power of the underlying WebKit and V8 engine. The only known browser to pass the Acid3 test is Apple Safari 4 beta, with the latest beta versions of Opera and Firefox close behind. Internet Explorer family is long way off from this standard as the current version of IE 8 only manages around 20/100.
Silverlight has some strange issues on Chrome, mostly related to UI and interaction with the mouse. I tested this on numerous silverlight sites including PopFly.
Flash content worked smoothly, although not as fast as Firefox. Chrome uses the same plugins as other browsers so there may be some issues regarding the plugin architecture in Chrome. Flash crashed after sometime (about 4 hours) while I really stressed it on YouTube, but the good thing was that it didnt affect anything else.
Even though I have tested it for only a few hours right now, I say that Chrome is a pretty strong browser at such an early stage. Its open source and its based on some of the most proven technologies (like WebKit) meaning it has all the ingredients to become one of the best browsers out there giving a lot of competetion to the elites Firefox, Opera and Safari (Sorry Internet Explorer doesn’t qualify here). If you haven’t already then download Google Chrome and give it a go yourself to see what I mean. As always, you can share you’re experiences via comments.