Think of this as a grumpy old man's first-thoughts on Google's Chrome browser. I'm torn between a few feelings on this, I'd like it to be good, but I don't know if we need yet another browser, and I don't want to be forced to support Google's world domination plans. I'll drop my first thoughts into three traditional categories.
It's "open-source", and uses Webkit. However, with the closed/restricted source track record of Android, I'm a little sceptical, and the source code is not yet available at Chromium.org, plus the Google build "is based on" Chromium, so the Google build is still effectively closed source.
Anecdotal performance and memory usage tests are comparable with most of the other top browsers, which for a beta is a very good start.
First off, the Comic, so I've got poor dress sense, and mediocre social-skills, but I'm not 9 years old any more, please don't insult your audience completely. A cynic might think that Google had presented the info in graphical rather than textual form so that it was harder to archive and compare if Google ever decided to re-write history.
Google's EULA, maybe it won't stand up in court, but they can buy better lawyers than you or me. A EULA where you "let Google use any of your copyrighted material posted to the web via Chrome" is not good. You'd expect a hastily drafted, poorly written EULA from a startup, not so Google. So much for "do no evil".
Carpet bombing, oops, it's a beta so there's going to be problems, but I'd have thought security should have been further up Google's priority list.
Crashing? Not a problem according to the comic, each tab is an isolated process, if one crashes then you carry on with all the others running happily. Not so, in my experience, and all the reports I've heard are of the whole browser going ka-boom.
Google's apparent attempt at rebuilding the Austro-Hungarian empire, you may wonder how far Google's world-domination plans extend, but I think we can file this under satire, can't we?
Extensions and plugins? Not supported as yet, the infamous comic mentions these, but's who's going to bet on Adblock Plus being available on Chrome any time before hell freezes over?
Windows only? Surreal, but as one of my colleagues pointed out, it's only a small step from running a "browser" as a seperate process in a tab to running any type of process you want "in a tab". The whole compartmentalising of each tab, with a security model and controlled access to external resources like storage is very much like an operating system. What's to say that the role of the "shell" that currently runs and supports the individual browser tab processes can't be extended enough to make the premise of "what OS does this browser run on?" entirely redundant.
Hard-coded Vista theme for the shell, which looks OK on "standard" Vista, and looks like a turd on XP or XP-themed Vista. I can only assume no UI experts were used in the making of this product.
I'm still sceptical about Google's good intent, but I can't fail to be impressed by how good a product this is for a version zero browser. Charles Nutter's thoughts on Chrome aren't that dissimilar to mine, the "why didn't you just help Firefox" question and the "ship beta, release code later" approach stick in my craw. I'm going to give Chrome a miss for another six months or so, perhaps the time to use Chrome is when it becomes the standard browser on Ubuntu. Which would either be a statement of faith by Ubuntu in Chrome's quality and Google's good intent, or a sign of Ubuntu selling out...