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I know there are those of you out there who think that everything Google does is perfect. But I have to say, I kinda have to wonder why Google did this. I’m sure their new Chrome browser, which you can download the Beta of here, fits into some long-terms strategy or something, but as a browser, I’m not sure it has enough compelling functionality for people to switch away from IE, Firefox, etc. More after the clicky thingie…

Much like the Google homepage, Chrome’s interface is a study in minimalism. The tabs for browser instances are at the top of the window rather than under the menu, and the options really don’t include all that many options. As with IE8’s InPrivate mode, Chrome includes a mode called Incognito, complete with a little Spy vs. Spy / Neighborhood Watch dude at upper-left, that allows you to surf without a history being kept by the browser. In addition, by default, Chrome opens to a “Most Visited” page with thumbnails of the sites that you go to the most…pretty handy and clever.

But aside from those three features…a lean & mean interface, private browsing mode and Most Visited page…there’s not much to get excited about Chrome, at least not on the surface. The first review I read of Chrome this morning said that it was lightning fast to open and much quicker to load pages than IE or Firefox. My own experience, though, hasn’t confirmed this. In fact, page rendering seems to be all over the place. Our own home page,, took over 40 seconds to open after I first installed Chrome, whereas IE had it displayed in just over a second.

While some sites seemed to load about as fast as IE7, about half of them took much longer…anywhere from 600% to about 3000% longer.

I will say that, at least currently, Chrome seems to render pages, especially ones with extensive CSS, better than the IE8 Beta we have around here, in terms of overall CSS compatibility.

In any event, it’s worth looking at if you’re not in love with your current browser and use it just because you always have. Otherwise, you’ll probably be happier where you are. Unless you’re using, like , IE4 or Netscape Navigator 2.0 or something.

Google Chrome