Google Chrome – OR – can you REALLY teach an old dog new tricks

Est. Reading Time: 7 minutes

I’ll start off by saying that I’m a “lifelong” Internet Explorer user… We may as well get that out there right at the start.   In fact, I usually have to blush when I admit to my coworkers that I’m still using “old” Internet Explorer– and have been for at least 10 years!  They sigh and roll their eyes when I report an “IE only” issue– being far more impressed with the flexibility and sexiness of FireFox, Mozilla, Opera, Safari or countless other browsers.

I do have a somewhat justifiable reason for this treachery (other than being “stuck” in my old ways!)… I spend a lot of my time testing our software products and– though you Microsoft haters don’t want to admit it!– if 70% of the public is still using IE, I need to make that my main focal point for testing.  Don’t get me wrong– we test in the other browsers too– but IE is still king with the public.

So, with all that being said, I forced myself to see what all the hype is about with the launch of the new browser “Google Chrome.”  Why?  Because I really like Google.  iGoogle is my home page and I have three fully customized tabs worth of content that I review multiple times a day– News, Weather, Web Development, Career, Family/Kids, you name it… I thought that if I was so committed to Google to maintain this content for me, maybe the browser would sway me as well.  So, with some trepidation, I decided to poke my toe in the water…

What I liked

What I didn’t like

What was just weird

So, my over-all take on Google Chrome?  I’m really torn between a personal and professional point of view…

For my own personal Internet browsing habits, I like the browser quite a lot.  I like that it is clean, simple and efficient.  I LOVE the spell check and empty cache features.  Is it enough to make me change my default browser?  Probably not yet, but if they build in a couple of more features, I just might make the switch.

From a professional point of view, I strongly question the need for yet another browser on the market.  Currently, today’s web pages must look and function identically in at least three other standard browsers (as well as multiple versions of each!)– Internet Explorer 6 and 7 (with 8 on the near horizon!), FireFox 2 and 3, Netscape Navigator 7 and 8 and Safari.  All of these programs (and versions!) behave slightly differently when rendering web content.  I have seen first-hand the pain a web developer goes through to make the same content look and work exactly the same way across all of these diverse programs and I can’t stand the thought of yet another.

If the idea of the web is that content and applications become more ubiquitous, why is it that we are continually adding to the browser market (using vastly different programming platforms, I might add)?  This increases the programming and testing time to make sure that all apps are compliant to all browsers, when we could be using that time to add more functionality and features to the applications!  Hey Google, Microsoft, etc.– We’re begging– please, stop the madness…  Give us a common browser platform to develop upon and then step back and be amazed by the results!


Here are some good references that I used as research for this article.  Please enjoy!