The bloggers are abuzz with news of Google Chrome - the new browser from Google to be released today at, if my reckoning is right, 7.0 p.m. (UK time). The browser is described (in a very techie fashion) in an online comic from Google. There's also a more user-friendly description and some screenshots.
The memory management system would seem to be a big improvement on other browsers, but I suspect that Chrome will not take a big part of the browser 'market' - the vast majority of people still use whatever comes with what they buy, which means Internet Explorer and an increasing proportion use Firefox - 24% of those who access Information Research, for example. So, I think that, in spite of the strong brand association with Google, Chrome will struggle to make much of an impact.
Later note: 45% of readers of this Weblog use Firefox!
Later still: well, now it's out and the bloggers have been furiously testing. The conclusions seem to be that Google has something here (why is that not a surprise?). Chrome is faster to load and does a number of things faster than either Firefox or IE. The memory management seems to be a winner, since when you close tabs in Firefox a lot of memory associated with those tabs continues to be used, but with separate processes controlling separate tabs, when a tab is closed, the associated memory ceases to be used. For me, it does seem to load pages faster and I quite like the rather restrained user interface. It takes a little time to become accustomed to having the tabs right at the top of the screen, and I found myself closing them accidentally but otherwise, I haven't experienced any particular problems. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
And more: one idiosyncratic aspect of Chrome, which doesn't work for me, is its download function. Click on download and a small pop-up appears at the bottome of the screen, which you then click on. The options do not include "Save" - which is simply crazy. I think Google ought to re-think this one - it's messy and counter-intuitive. Perhaps the urge to be different has been taken to far.