I don’t usually write evaluations about software that I use, but I am going to make an exception as this piece of software is, well, unusual in the way it was done. Last week, Google released the Beta version of its new browser, Chrome. Since I do web design, I wanted to see how it rendered a page, and see if what Google promised for robustness was actually true.
I downloaded Chrome using Google’s download manager, which I really didn’t care for, and installed Chrome. I then launched Chrome and discovered the Chrome interface to be — utterly minimal. Now, I am austere. I mean everybody that knows me knows that I am not fancy, or a gadgets kind of person. I like the simple, plain, no-frills approach to things. However, this interface is too minimal.
That was only the first of issues that I encountered. I went to look at the Options and found that a utterly minimalist approach was used there to. In short, I, the user, have little to no control in the way this browser is set up. I cannot tell it how to handle individual websites, I can’t pick and choose content on individual sites and how that content is handled. I can’t set varying levels of security for different sites, etc. etc. Moreover, if I can, it is not readily apparent just how to do that. On top of that, I cannot even control how a file is handled after it is downloaded. Yes, I know that the supposed option is there, but it is all grayed out and not selectable, and I can’t find where to change it easily.
I suspect that I am not the only person that is unhappy with this particular browser. After all, my son called me late last week and asked what I thought of Chrome. I told him and he echoed my sentiments. The only thing Chrome gives me that I don’t have elsewhere is a view of how much memory a particular website is using. Yes, I know that Chrome is supposed to be multi-process, where each tab runs a separate process. But in view of the total lack of control and utterly minimalist interface, I really don’t need the multi-process feature that much. After all, If the browser crashes, I’ll just relaunch it. If a site is that poorly coded, I really don’t care to be there anyway.
Will I like Chrome in the future? It depends totally upon whether Google improves the interface, and adds some meaningful user control.