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30 Sep 2008

The Pros & Cons of Google Chrome. What have you found?

Guest Post By Chris von Nieda

Google Chrome is Google’s answer to Web Browsing.  In this article I’ll tell you a little about the new browser, what I like and what I don’t like and provide a few related links you may find useful.  Please help us make this article a valuable resource and submit your comments and opinions as well below!

Wikipedia describes it as a free web browser developed by Google. The name is derived from the graphical user interface frame, or "chrome", of web browsers. A beta version for Microsoft Windows was released on 2 September 2008 in 43 languages.  Google promotes it like this: “Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.”

One of my main concerns with trying Chrome (and others shared my concern) was how much information Chrome sends back to Google about you or your web activities. Google’s own Matt Cutts wrote a great blog post that addresses that specific concern called: Preventing Paranoia, When does Google Chrome talk to Google.com

Here are the main features explained:

Each tab is a separate process: Unlike the other browsers each new tab you open runs individually of the others.  That way if a page or web application crashes it doesn’t affect the other tabs.  You just close the offending tab and continue browsing!

One box for search and web addresses: Google calls this “Omni box”.  No longer do you search from one box and enter URL’s in another.  You use the Omni box for everything INCLUDING running a search on Yahoo, Live.com or any other search engine.  Just start typing Yahoo.com and then hit your tab key and you will see what I mean.

Home page: When you first open Chrome you see 9 thumbnails of your most recent or most regularly used websites.  In addition to the right of that you’ll see links to recent bookmarks you created and a search box for Yahoo and Live Search

Dynamic tabs: Like the other browsers you can reorder the tabs by dragging them, however Chrome does it smoother. In addition you can drag a tab outside of Chrome (say to your desk top or other application) and Chrome will turn it in to its own window.  You can also drag it back to the main application.

Incognito mode:  Apparently the other browsers are working on this feature as well but when in Incognito mode, pages you view in this window won’t appear in your browser history or search history, and they won’t leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be preserved, however.

Task manager: Chrome has a built in task manager that shows information about each tabs resource usage.  To see it just hit Ctrl + Esc.

Application Shortcuts: This one is very cool.  Let’s say you use Gmail daily or another “web application”.  Chrome gives you the ability to create a shortcut to that URL as a Favorite, Desktop shortcut or Quick launch bar in windows. But that’s not all, the reason they call it an application shortcut is because it creates a special browser window with no menu, address bar or tabs. It acts as an application would versus a webpage.

Faster bookmarking: Bookmark pages faster than ever.  Just click the star Icon next to the Omni box.  You can also create “folders” right on the bookmarks bar

Status bar Auto hides: In order to maximize the available space for viewing your web pages Chrome only shows the status bar along the bottom when needed, otherwise it auto hides.

Simpler downloads: When you download a file from a website, the downloads bar appears at the bottom of the tab where you can monitor the progress of your downloading file. The file button indicates how much time remains for the download. An arrow appears in the tab to signify a download in progress. Once the download is complete you can drag it to your desktop, open it or save it with one click.

What are the pros and cons of Google Chrome?

Pros:

Cons:

Tabs load and switch very fast

It doesn’t show page titles at the top (or anywhere)

Chrome makes searching other search engines fast and easy

There currently is no support for add-ons

Chrome opens fast and overall performance is excellent

There are no skins currently available to change the color scheme except the default light blue however I’m guessing this will change.

Open Source so other browsers can learn from it

No support for Google toolbar as of yet

Has “saved username/password” feature to quickly view or look up login details for various sites

 

Link Building and SEO with Chrome:

So what does all this mean for SEO and Link Building?  Google claims if your web pages look ok in Opera they will look ok in Chrome so don’t run out and revamp your entire site.  However, Interest is high with Chrome so you if you are a website owner or Webmaster you may want to start testing your site(s) in Chrome and read Google Chrome FAQ for Webmasters

For all you Link Builders out there…Chrome does not currently support the Google Toolbar (crazy huh?) and all the valuable add-ons Firefox supports that we all have come to love and use daily so don’t go uninstalling Firefox yet because I’m sure it’s coming.  In the mean time here is a very fast and easy work around for adding some Link building/SEO tools to Chrome similar to what is available in Firefox: Google Toolbar for Google Chrome

Overall I like Chrome and I think it will become a major player in the browser space.  Tell us what you think about it?

[tags] browsers, chrome link building, google chrome, google chrome review [/tags]