Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Chrome descends from the Mother Ship: 10 reasons to try this browser

Are you a geek? Start with this comic book explanation of Google Chrome. (Seen the comic? Try this parody of it. Or this one.) Looking for a slightly longer review?

Most of us already have several programs that browse the web (browsers). Why download another browser?

If you use more than one browser, I recommend using Google Chrome. I have set my Gmail notifier to show me email in chrome, for example.

Ten Reasons

Here are the reasons, in order of importance, I think you should consider downloading and trying Google Chrome:
  1. More secure by design. Very important!
  2. Better protection from crashes by design;
  3. Makes your computer run faster (uses less memory);
  4. Runs advanced web pages very fast: Test results. (okay, soon Firefox will too, but Chrome is poised to get very fast);
  5. The best pop-up blocking ;
  6. Fast browsing (page loading, memory leak protection);
  7. Better search features (such as automating Open Search sites);
  8. Useful features not found on other browsers, although you can enable a lot of similar features using Firefox add-ons;
  9. It's open source;
  10. It's easier for developers to create for (incorporates Google Gears).
However, I'm going to wait until they add a few more features (and it's been tested a little longer--today is day 1) before installing this for my mother. Here's another review: 7 reasons for, 7 reasons against.

How much faster is it TODAY?

Does Google Chrome have a security problem ?

Note that you actually have to have Internet Explorer installed for this to work, although in principle it could take advantage of other programs.

So here's the story: Currently, there are places all over the internet that offer harmful files for you to download. Google does a better job than any other company at identifying which web sites have harmful files, and has integrated this nicely into Chrome: they warn you about these places before you can browse to their pages.

So, to get a harmful file onto your computer, and get it cause harm, you have to:
  1. Click a link to reach a page with a link click that will download a file;
  2. Have your browser fail to warn you that the page has harmful files on it;
  3. Click the link on that page to open a box asking you to download the file;
  4. Click "Save" in the box that pops up, authorizing Windows to save that file;
  5. Have your anti-virus program fail to block the program from downloading;
  6. Find that file on your computer and try to run it;
  7. Have your anti-virus program fail to stop the program from running.
If you make it through all seven of these steps, it doesn't matter what your browser is. These steps have nothing to do with Google Chrome.

So, how does the "Carpet Bombing" problem with Google's Chrome make these steps worse? In step #3 above, the download box opens automatically, but only if it's a particular type of file (java JAR). Everything else is the same. That's all!

How bad is this, really?

This problem has been known about for awhile now, and was left unfixed by Apple in their Safari browser for several weeks. Microsoft reports that there is no known example of anyone being affected by this (read their advisory about it).

If you manage to find and click on harmful links without realizing and save harmful stuff, and run it on your computer, harmful things can happen. Having the download box open automatically when you reach a page seems as likely to RAISE suspicion as to trick you into clicking "Save."

Furthermore, if you try to run the file from within Google Chrome, Windows Explorer will show a warning (that Google Chrome passed to it) that this file was downloaded from the Internet. (If you close Chrome and browse to it, Windows Explorer will run it without warning).


  1. 1. More secure... until someone else finds the holes...
    2. Better protection from crashes, haven't had a crash yet... so it's all good so far (1 day doesn't really count)
    3. Uses less memory... this seems to be the case, but as with everything I have no doubt this is subjective to what you are running.
    4. Runs advanced web pages (Java) faster? I've noticed no difference myself. In fact the lack of status bar has left me wondering if anything at all was actually happening.
    5. Best pop-up blocking... who says?
    6. Fast browsing... um... see 4.
    7. Better search features. Nope, the fact that search and the address bar are one and the same is not really a good thing.
    8. Useful features, you must be referring to stats for geeks as this really is a bare bones system. Ad-ons coming soon however.
    9. Open source... great. But I hope that any plug-ins don't crash the system. But this is a very good point!
    10. Easier for developers to create for? I think I've heard more groaning... yet another platform to develop for! :)

    I think it is way too early to sing any praise personally. Perhaps once it's been out a while and developers get to grips with it we might be looking at a winner. But for now... I'll wait.

  2. 1. There are always holes. It's more secure by design.
    2. Better by design.
    3. Better by design.
    4. Tests show it's either #1 or #2
    5. See:
    6. Tests show it's either #1 or #2
    7. That's not the extent of the search changes.
    Really, after 1-3, the rest is gravy, and competition over time will change who has what.