Review: Chrome 27 is smarter and (5 percent) faster

Omnibox also comes with improved predictive abilities and better spell correction.

Chrome is the lightweight flagship browser that originated from an open source project by Google called Chromium and Chromium OS. It is now one of the more widely used browsers thanks to a vast ecosystem of extensions and add-ons, a robust Javascript engine, and a rapid-release development cycle that keeps it on the competitive end of the curve.

Installation

Chrome's installation process is both straight-forward and self-sustaining. After downloading the installer, Chrome's installation process will launch with the standard practices of confirming system directories and a few click throughs. Google will also ask for your permission to anonymously collect usage stats, which can be opted out of.

The self sustenance comes from 'channels' ; Once you install the Chrome browser, Google will automatically roll out updates silently in the background and keep your software updated with the latest versions.

Interface

Chrome's overall UI has remained stable since version 1.0: a minimal two row window with tabs resting above the address bar (Omnibox), 3 browser controls (Back, Forward, Stop/Reload), a star-shaped toggle for bookmarking, and settings icon. Users coming from older browsers might have to get used to not having a dedicated File menu layout but we found ourselves getting quickly adjusted.

As you install extensions, active icons will appear to the right of the address bar, but beyond that Google maintains strict restrictions on adding visible add-ons. That means no toolbars or any undesired overlays, which at one point was a widespread standard practice. Despite the limited customiseable options, Chrome is minimalist for a reason, and that results in a clean browsing experience with maximum use of screen estate for websites.

Features and Support

In addition to tabbed browsing, Chrome can be used as simply or as complex as you want, thanks to an impressive number of built-in tools, modes, hotkey functions, and more.

One popular feature is, of course, Incognito mode: Chrome's response to Mozilla's Private Browsing feature. Incognito opens a new window that disables history recording, tracking cookies, and reduces the amount of traceable breadcrumbs from your usage. Contrary to popular belief, it does not mean you can freely browse the web for illegal use as your ISP can still see your traffic activity... so stay out of trouble.

Under the hood, Chrome has some awesome features that make it very developer friendly: hardware acceleration for rendering 3D CSS effects, Google's own NaCl (Native Client) that allows secure execution of C and C++ codes within the browser, and an in house JavaScript engine that improves load times with every release.

Pressing F12 will open a dev console that allows you to view web code and quickly identify elements simply by highlighting the mouse over each line. You can also add your own HTML and CSS codes to render a page with custom styling.

Chrome also allows Google users to sync their accounts, which comes with added benefits like restoring saved bookmarks and extensions in the cloud no matter what device you're on.

Performance

Chrome is fast. Really fast. As of version 27, Chrome is powered by Google's own V8 JavaScript engine that renders pages at speeds that have been setting a standard for modern browsers. In addition, Google has been on the forefront of implementing best practices for HTML5 standards and though it's also currently running the widely used open-source Webkit engine, Google has also announced plans to move to Blink in the near future.

Wrap up

Google has relentlessly set the standard for speed, stability and security and Chrome's numerous version updates, as many as there are, have continued to complement its minimalist friendly design. It's no surprise that its market share continues to rise, especially when combined with its mobile cousin on Android. Regardless of who's faster, whether its user adoption or Chrome's own development team, Google's internet browser is one for the masses: casual user and developer alike.

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