No browser has made me completely happy. Safari is my main browser, but I have tried just about every other browser out there for Mac. Which means I had to give the Google Chrome beta a test drive.
The first thing I noticed when using Chrome is the placement of the tabs on top, which provides more browsing room. I have longed for this feature since using it in the Safari 4 beta. Google’s take on the tab bar is far more intuitive then Apple’s implemention in the Safari 4 beta. Tabs run in separate process sandboxes in Chrome so one crashed tab will not bring down all the others.
The “Omnibox” combines the URL and search boxes into one. Search engines can be added to search a specific web site, such as Wikipedia or CNET.
Themes provide a way to drastically alter the look of Chrome. I didn’t care for any of the current themes, instead opting for the default look which is more “Mac-esque.”
As this is a beta, there a more then a few issues with Google Chrome. It is missing many features compared to its Windows brethren, including a lack of bookmark syncing between Chrome browsers, no bookmark manager (how is that even possible?), not being able to install extensions, only running in 32-bit mode, and not being able to pin tabs (this option sizes tabs so only favicons show).
The most recent builds of Chromium, the open source project behind Google Chrome, can install extensions and do bookmark syncing, but still lacks a bookmark manager. It is great to see extensions come to another browser besides Firefox. There are already a large amount of useful extensions that improve sites like Gmail, Google Wave, and Twitter.
Google rushed the Chrome beta so it would be out for Mac users this year, and it shows. This browser is very stable (I can’t remember the last time it crashed for me) and zippy enough for every day use, but feature-wise is barebones. It is available now for free.