Clean and easy: Google's new browser Chrome
Sep 14, 2008, 14:23 GMT
Google released a beta version of an open-source browser known as Chrome in 100 countries on 2 September 2008.EPA/GOOGLE
Hamburg - Google is generally known as the quintessential internet search engine. But now the U.S. company is trying to capture the browser market as well. Chrome is the name of its free new internet browser, and it's available for download in a beta version from the Google website. The program installs quickly and impresses with its clear design and easy interface. Experts are warning about potential security risks, however.
There's nothing wrong with giving the browser a try, says Urs Mansmann from the Hanover-based computer magazine c't.
'I don't recommend using it for all your tasks, however,' Mansmann says. The browser is not yet good enough in the area of security, in particular.
'It's the nature of the beast that a beta version isn't finished, and that can apply to security functionality as well,' says Matthias Gaertner from the German Federal Agency for Security in Information Technology (BSI) in Bonn. After all, the browser has launched in more than 100 countries and is likely to quickly attract a sizable number of users. 'And then it would naturally also be of interest for attackers,' Gaertner says.
Urs Mansmann is sceptical of another aspect of Chrome.
'Each copy of the browser has a serial number,' he says.
Google has designed its browsers so that the individual tabs are executed in separate processes. This is intended to make Chrome more stable than other browsers, since a problem occurring in one tab cannot crash the entire browser. Chrome is hardly immune from total crashes, though, as already demonstrated by the IT security experts at evilfingers.com.
One function of Chrome intended to reduce a user's workload is the search field integrated into the address bar. A few letters typed in the browser brings suggestions on how to complete the search term. If the browser is restarted, it displays the most recently created bookmarks and last visited web sites. Another interesting feature is the incognito mode. A special window is opened for surfing which stores none of the session's usage data, including view history and cookies.
Expert reviews tend to focus on a software's usability, and for Chrome those reviews were generally positive. Chrome is a good alternative to other browsers, says Tim Bosenick, Managing Director at Hamburg-based Sirvaluse.
'It is quite unobtrusive and manageable, there's not even still a menu bar like Firefox uses,' Bosenick says.
Yet Bosenick finds some points to criticize as well.
'I don't find it so nice that there's no explicit symbol for secure https connections,' he says. The user also has to search around a bit to find the 'Settings' options. The window frame is also quite thin, making it difficult to move the complete browser around on the screen if several tabs are open.
'That's all a bit too minimalist,' Bosenick says.