2008-09-07

Google Chrome

This week the tech news was primarily dominated by the launch of Google Chrome. I was going to write about it earlier, but because EVERYBODY was blogging about it, I didn't think I could add anything useful (I'm not a "me too"-blogger). But now that the hype is starting to fade a bit, I want to express my opinion about it.

My first impression: I was pleasantly surprised about the smooth installation, the fast startup and the general performance. But the thing I loved the most, was the subtle and minimalist UI. It has very little features, but I think most normal people (= non-tech) don't need many features.

Of course, the main criticism you hear about Chrome is the fact that it's a Google product. And Google has created it for data mining purposes, to track your every move. I don't believe this. I think they created it because they NEED a healthy web. They NEED browsers that are powerful enough to run Google's web applications (GMail, Google Docs, Google Maps, ...). And I'm not naïve: I know that Chrome is also a new channel to strengthen Google's position on the web.

To counter the paranoia, I'll refer to Matt Cutts' blog post "Preventing paranoia: when does Google Chrome talk to Google.com?". The only thing I'm a bit worried about is the auto-suggest function that sends whatever you type in the omnibar to Google. Luckily, you can turn it off (see Matt's post). Matt goes into great detail about what gets sent to Google and what gets downloaded from Google. His conclusion should silence the paranoids: You can double-check me because the browser is open-source.