Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ups in Google Chrome

Google Chrome has released for three weeks, and I have been using it irregularly in the meantime. I like the ideas and concepts behind this Google product. In this post, I would like to talk about some pretty cool features I found in Chrome.

I don’t hereby mention the stuff that other browsers have done or I ever expected. I only list the cool features that I didn’t see before but just loved in my first ride. Please be aware that so far I haven’t read any help of Google Chrome or any instruction document about it. I just operate it as naturally what I thought it should be.

What I like:
  1. Newly designed user interface: simple, neat, and convenient

    • Drag-and-drop tab allows the user to easily organise existing web pages. An existing tab even can be converted into a new or existing window, which is very handy for comparing something on a wide screen, or re-organise relevant tabs into an individual window.

    • The traditional File/Edit/View… menus have been completely gone, replaced by a one-click drop-list just next to the Go button, and a simple right-click for the most relevant operations.

    • The New Tab button is always next to the last tab, at where the mouse pointer staying in most situations after the user just opened a new tab.

    • A new tab is, instead of the old-fashion empty page, a very informative starting dashboard for any new surfing task, which includes most visited pages with logo and thumbnail preview, full browsing history for review or search, and recent/other bookmarks.

    • Downloading status, as well as the Downloads link, appears nicely just as you need. All downloading status prompts you in a very proper way (using a lovely animated icon and without interrupting your current operation). The Downloads link directs you to a page to view and even search what you have downloaded.

    • Find in Page feature, a common functionality which every browser does, has been upgraded a little: it now shows total number of matches and location number of the currently highlighted one. It even has a preview on the vertical scroll area, so you always know where to see your keywords in the page. Just simply move the scroll bar to the colour marks at the scroll area, that's it. A simple but very useful feature, why didn’t others ever implement that?

    • Chrome keeps using most well-known hot-keys defined in Firefox and IE, such as Ctrl+H for History, Ctrl+J for Downloads, and Ctrl+T for New Tab. It is quite handy, and actually necessary as Chrome’s simple interface has no place to put individual buttons for these functions.

  2. Intelligent search assistant: interactive, fast, and efficient

    • Chrome’s URL auto-completion works pretty well by presenting the most closed search items as you type, according to not only the keywords you ever used in your previous searches, but also the literally related items from instant queries to Google Suggest.

    • Chrome can even predict the URLs based on where you are. This looks trivial but practically benefits every user. So far, this kind of implementation hasn’t been done on other competitors such as Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 8 (Beta).

    • Chrome also supports Quick Find search, an awesome feature introduced by Opera then Firefox, but in a more convenient way. A right-click on the address bar allows you to edit the search engines directly, without dealing with bookmarks as other browsers do. Moreover, by replacing the Quick Find prefix with the search engine’s name, Chrome shows the keywords plainly; it also lists the options using the prefix word as one of the keywords, just in case.

  3. Built-in toolkit for IT professionals: amazing, powerful, and decent

    • Task Manager, hence its name, is intended to manage the whole Chrome world on your computer (OS). Like Windows Task Manager, Chrome Task Manager shows the information of dynamic memory, CPU, and network activity in a window. All threads belonging to the same process are associated, grouped by lines, and shown in the same colour when selected. As Chrome is based on multiprocessing architecture, Task Manager is an essential tool for the user to monitor Chrome’s activity. Every time you hit Shift-Esc in any Chrome window, the Task Manager will pop up at once.

    • Additionally, an option in the Task Manager window called Stats for Nerds may give you more technical information about memory by measuring memory usage in a multi-process browser, including all Chrome processes and the associated threads. Every time you browse "about:memory" link, you get the same page. The page may also tell you how other browsers use system memory.

    • Element Inspector is another powerful tool which can’t be overlooked. The tool can visually display all elements of a web page in a well-organised nested structure with coloured tags and the associated style information of CSS. All object properties of a page can be explored hierarchically, if you just want. Object metrics can be even visually illustrated, including margin, border, and padding. It’s almost as much as comprehensive as Web Developer, the well-recognised professional add-on for Firefox. This tool is a must for web developers, as well as those security nerds who are always curious about everything behind a web page. It is recommended to use a large screen when doing this kind of inspection in turn to view both the web page and the inspection results at the same time, as the web page or the inspector window interacts with each other by updating the HTML code, styles, and properties etc in inspector window, or highlighting the corresponding element in the web page.

No comments: