Google Chrome Beta – First Impressions

I downloaded Google Chrome Beta today. The reason is that the chat functionality in Facebook doesn’t work well from Firefox with the connection I have here. It’s only with the connection here, although it works well for any other application, so I have no idea why that happens. For a few days I’ve been using IE7 to access Facebook but got tired of it because it’s practically killing my computer. IE8 will be out any day now, but I’m not happy about using it either.

So I ended up installing Chrome and I’ve been only using it for 30 minutes. What I instantly liked about it is that its user interface is minimal. No status bar, for example. That’s very important when you only have 600 pixels height like I do on this Eee netbook. Additionally, the tabs are edged on the top of the screen, so it’s easier to switch tabs with the mouse (complying with one aspect of Fitts’ Law) and especially with the Eee’s touchpad. The second thing that I like about it is how fast and responsive the user interface is. Things like opening a new tab, switching tabs or scrolling on a page are really fast (at least they seem faster than Firefox.)

When it comes to JavaScript engine speed, it doesn’t really seem faster to me. Maybe that’s because I’m not such a power user of the JavaScript applications I use like Gmail and Google Reader.

One thing I didn’t expect is that Google Gears didn’t realize I already have a synchronized copy of my Gmail messages on my computer (for offline usage) so now it appears as though I will have two different copies that will be synchronized separately from each other, depends on which browser I use to open Gmail (or any other website with offline support.) That’s pretty disappointing.

I think I’m going to give Chrome a spin for a while. Now that it has (beta) extension support, I’m sure that only extension I’m missing, Delicious, will be soon available to use on it.