Saturday, May 23, 2009

Google Chrome Hits Version 2.0, Sweet Spot

Engadget reports that Google's Chrome browser has hit version 2.0 and gives an overview of the new features. They seem especially excited by Chrome's new ability to allow users to remove embarrassing websites from the New Tab page. This doesn't seem like such a big deal to me—maybe I have no sense of shame.

I'm more excited by the new Full Screen mode. A lot of people think that Chrome with its speed and compact user interface is ideal for netbooks. I've always prefered Firefox on my netbook because of its full screen modes which hides the browser UI altogether, showing you just the web page. Chrome's implentation of Full Screen mode is not perfect. On Firefox I can hit the <ctrl>+l key to bring up Firefox's navigation bar to type URLs, search, and access the navigation buttons. Under Chrome however <ctrl>+l doesn't work in full screen mode. While this is disappointing, Chrome does still show the URLs of links when you move your mouse over them in full screen. Firefox on the other hand does not show URLs in full screen mode. I consider this to be an equitable trade.

Finally, Chrome's speed—it launches instantaneously on my Acer netbook—continues to trump Firefox by a wide margin. While I still prefer Firefox on my bigger, faster, not quite so mobile computers for it's tremendous variety of extensions, Chrome has hit the sweet spot for me in terms of usability and speed. It has earned a place as the default browser on my netbook.

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