Reviewing the reviews of Google's Chrome

How shiny is shiny? How fast is fast? Reviews of Google's Chrome reviewers come in with mixed results.

Forget the Detroit Auto Show. There are plenty of Chrome watchers in Mountain View, Calif.

With Google's debut of its open-source browser on Tuesday, an onslaught of reviews followed. And the results largely point to a speedy machine, but one not without its flaws.

Don Reisinger's blog on TechCrunch not only applauds the speed of the browser, but also its simplicity:

The first thing that will strike you about Chrome is its soft, yet elegant interface. Unlike other browsers, which sport clutter, Chrome doesn't do anything of the sort. Instead, it makes tabs the primary element of the software, which can be dragged around and moved as needed on the fly. You can already do that in Safari, but in Chrome, it's simply much easier.

But closely followed technology reviewer Walt Mossberg of All Things Digital noted that while Chrome beats Microsoft's Internet Explorer on speed, it doesn't do the same when compared with Firefox or Safari on such frequent tasks as launching Web pages.

And Mossberg's takeaway? Here's his 10,000-foot view:

My verdict: Chrome is a smart, innovative browser that, in many common scenarios, will make using the Web faster, easier and less frustrating. But this first version--which is just a beta, or test, release--is rough around the edges and lacks some common browser features Google plans to add later. These omissions include a way to manage bookmarks, a command for e-mailing links and pages directly from the browser, and even a progress bar to show how much of a Web page has loaded.

A similar sentiment was expressed by John Brandon, in his Computerworld blog. The Chrome reviewer had some reservations:

Chrome has not crashed on me at all. What it has done is make me want to switch back to Firefox to do some "real" work. I can't really explain why. I don't like the tabs being above the address bar because it feels like they are floating in space. Little things bug me. I can drag-and-drop a URL onto the "bookmark bar" but I can't click and hold on the Gmail icon and drag it there, like you can with Firefox. The icon for Chrome looks too much like the one for Google Desktop and not that distinct. I like having a separate search box, and having just one for URLs and search is jarring.

And security concerns have arisen in the early review returns. Ryan Naraine and Dancho Danchev made this observation in their Zero Day blog on ZDNet:

Just hours after the release of Google Chrome, researcher Aviv Raff discovered that he could combine two vulnerabilities--a flaw in Apple Safari (WebKit) and a Java bug discussed at this year's Black Hat conference--to trick users into launching executables direct from the new browser.

As a result, some folks may want to wait for the follow-on model...

 

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