My experience with Google Chrome

I would like to share with you my short experience with Google Chrome on openSUSE 11.2.  Although it is in a beta stage, it is stable and fast. I like many things in it and I even tried to emulate them in Firefox (thanks to Firefox add-on). In this post, I will state my personal thoughts about Google Chrome and I will refer to Firefox in any comparison. I am using version 4.0.249.43.

Installation

Installing Google Chrome on openSUSE 11.2 is very easy. I downloaded the rpm package from Google website and then I clicked on it. The Installer asked me to install lsb (Linux Standard Base Core) package. After I installed lsb, everything went smoothly.

As you know Google Chrome is a close-source (although Chromium is an open source). This issue can cause inconveniences to distributions and end user. First, from Google Chrome Terms of Service “Subject to section 1.2, you may not (and you may not permit anyone else to) copy, modify, create a derivative work of, reverse engineer, decompile or otherwise attempt to extract the source code of the Software or any part thereof, unless this is expressly permitted or required by law, or unless you have been specifically told that you may do so by Google, in writing.” which means that you cannot distribute Google chrome. Therefore, do not expect to see Google Chrome as the default web browser in any Free GNU/Linux distributions. However, Chromium will be there.

Speed

If you look for a fast web browser, Google Chrome is the answer to you. The start-up speed is amazing comparing to Firefox. The Google developers did a very well job in this regard. the reason behind its speed is that Google Chrome does not use a cross-platform framework unlike Firefox which uses XUL. Google Chrome in GUN/Linux uses GTK+ directly without any layer in between.  It uses also a different GUI library for each operating system it supports.

GUI Design

I can summarize the GUI design of Google Chrome with three words: simple, clean and effective. I like the way Google Chrome puts tabs in the title bar. I enjoy also how Google Chrome populates the speed dial page with time. There is no status bar.

Things that I missed in Google Chrome

Extensions, extensions, extensions. The main thing that makes Firefox better than Google Chrome is extensions. In Firefox you can do everything using extensions. If you use a lot of extensions (like me), you will know why I consider Firefox superior to Google Chrome.

The second thing is complex scripts support (like Arabic). Although there is a basic support, there are serious bugs which will prevent  many users from using Google Chrome. I hope these bugs will be ironed out with time.