updated 03:40 pm EDT, Thu September 4, 2008
Google Chrome browser
Like most browsers, this one also provides a tabbed interface for opening multiple web pages within a single window. One visual difference is that this browser displays tabs at the top of the window, unlike other browsers that display tabs underneath the address bar. This placement of tabs may take getting used to, but it does make tabs more visible and easier to spot.
Since a tabbed interface can be so convenient to use, this browser adopts one of Internet Explorer's features. Instead of pressing a clumsy keystroke combination like Ctrl+T (Windows) or Command+T (Mac), you can open a new tab just by clicking on a New Tab button that always appears next to the row of existing tabs.
One problem with other browsers is that if you open multiple web pages in tabs and one web page freezes, all web pages in other tabs hang as well. Since Google hopes to run web applications, such as Google Docs, this browser offers a unique task manager feature, similar to the Task Manager found in Windows.
Right-click in the empty space near the tabs and you can choose Task manager from a pop-up menu. This displays the Task Manager dialog box, which not only lets you see how much memory each web page gobbles up, but also gives you the ability to select and shut down web pages individually. Doing this insures that one buggy web page won't bring your whole web browser screeching to a halt.
Besides restricting web pages from crashing other open web pages, this browser's tabbed interface also isolates web pages in a sandbox, which effectively isolates any malicious websites from attacking your computer. For added security, the program will constantly update and block a list of known malicious websites used to plant malware on your computer or mimic the websites of trusted financial institutions.
With other browsers, you can type a website address in the address box and a search phrase in the search box. Rather than clutter the interface with two visually identical text boxes, this program displays a single text box. This text box, called the omnibox, gets its name because you can type either an address or search phrase in and the program is smart enough to know how to handle different types of input.
Borrowing the Speed Dial feature from Opera, Google's browser displays a home page that can contain thumbnail images of multiple websites. Rather than force you to choose a single web page as your home page, this list of thumbnail images lets you choose multiple home pages that you can pick at the click of the mouse.
For maximum privacy, the browser offers an "incognito mode," which allows you to browse the Internet without leaving behind a trail of web pages or cookies stored on your hard disk.
Although Google's Chrome may not be polished yet, it offers an intriguing glimpse at where browsers will likely evolve in the future. If you currently use Safari or Firefox on Windows, you may not see much of a performance boost from Chrome, but if you're still using Internet Explorer 7, you may want to consider switching to Chrome rather than wait for Internet Explorer 8.