Google Chrome – Promising, Needs Work

I read the comic, liked the idea. Downloading and installing was painless, and it looks good when it starts.

Unfortunately, you then have to try browsing some sites…

OK, so judging it badly because a plug-in doesn’t work so well (the flash video on the front page of this site stuffs it, for instance – YouTube takes ages, and throws up a “script unresponsive” type error), but try going to Google Maps. You’d think they’d make sure their own browser was the mutt’s nuts at displaying their own sites, but no. It’s slow and jerky, and nowhere near as good as Firefox. Not sure why though – my first guess would be Javascript performance, but that seems really fast on other sites – check this Javascript test from Quirksmode. It keeps freezing on random pages as well, for no particular reason that I can see.

Shame really – usually Google’s “beta” products are more polished than many a production release (witness Gmail – I swear they only leave the “beta” there for a laugh). Either this really is just an early beta, or ZDNet are right and they just want to give Microsoft and Mozilla a few ideas to chew on.

<edit> (03/09/2008) – Of course, having now tried it on several other PCs, and rebooted the one I originally tested it on, I can say that most of the problems I came across earlier were actually rubbish. It plays flash just fine, google maps is quick and smooth. </edit>

On the plus side, it does work well on most sites. Wikipedia is really quick, it passes the Acid2 test, more than you can say for IE, and does quite well on Acid3 (compared to many others). That’s probably down to Webkit more than Google though. The Chrome-specific task manager is useful when you find a site that crashes it, too – it just crashes a single tab rather than the whole browser.

Anyway, checkitout: