Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Gives Birth to Chrome

Google has given birth to a brand new Web browser.

On Tuesday September 2, 2008 Google unveiled its new Web browser called Google Chrome. So naturally, after I got home from work yesterday, I downloaded and installed it. I then spent the rest of the next six hours "test-driving" it and Googling up articles all over the Web to read about it.

It's amazingly fast. It's also very plain-looking and lacking in features like the add-ons that FireFox and even Internet Explorer, to some extent, have that make their browsers so customizable. But hey this thing is only one day old! And by the way, unlike all other Web browsers, Google Chrome updates itself. At least it does according to Google.

When you open Google Chrome, your Start Page appears very, very quickly. On your Start Page, Google Chrome displays pictures of nine mini-Web pages representing your most frequently visited sites. How intuitive! I mean, here are the places you opened your browser to go to anyway, right? Google stole, I mean borrowed, this idea from the Opera browser, but it's still a cool idea. Naturally, the first time you open the browser you won't see any pages because you don't yet have a browsing history.

Your Start Page also lists your most recently visited sites and searches, making it a natural place to start another browsing session. You can customize your Start Page by choosing Options that you'll find by clicking the tool icon on the top right of the page.

To bookmark a page, just click the star in the address bar. Google stole, I mean borrowed, this idea from FireFox. In fact, the applet that appears when you click the star is almost identical to the one in FireFox. When you begin typing in the address bar the browser will begin making a series of educated guesses as to what your intentions are that get more refined as you continue to type.

You can use the "Create application shortcuts" to put an icon of a page you are currently visiting on your Desktop. Later when you click that icon the site that you were on when you created the shortcut opens without an address bar and buttons. I haven't tried that yet. Nor have I tried browsing in what Google calls "Incognito Mode" in which supposedly you can surf the Web without leaving behind any cookies and no cache files are saved. Access to these tools are available by clicking the dog-eared paper icon at the top right-hand corner of the page.

As a launch vehicle, instead of a video, Google used a comic book. You read that right - a comic book! Click here to go look at it, but come right back, O. K.? You probably won't want to try absorb the whole thing anyway since it's awfully tech-nerdish. I didn't understand even half of it.

I probably won't be using Google Chrome as my everyday browser and I doubt very many other people will either. For one thing, it is severely lacking in features that FireFox is famous for. Of course its lack of features (read: baggage) is one thing that makes it so lightening fast. But I'll no doubt stick with FireFox, the newest version of which by the way is 3.0.1. But I'll keep an eye on Chrome and give it a chance to grow on me. After all it's just a baby. It's only one day old today.

Oh, you can click here to download Google Chrome.

And now for something completely different.

Vista Service Pack 1

The other day I was browsing the forum at (I know, I really should get out more) and I saw some discussion about Vista Service Pack One. Someone in the forum asked "How can I tell if SP1 has been installed on my computer?" and the answer was, "Click Start and right-click Computer then Properties and look at Systems and that will tell you what Operating System the machine is running. If SP1 is installed it will say something like 'Windows Vista Home Premium SP1' or not."

Well, I did that and found that Sp1 was NOT installed on my computer. Huh? I had read months ago that Microsoft would automatically install SP1 on all our Vista machines in March of '08 and we would have to opt out to keep that from happening. So I went to Microsoft's update site and manually downloaded and installed Vista Service Pack One.

Is it a big deal? Well, yes and no. It's a big download that's for sure. The download was huge and it's installation took almost an hour and 3 re-boots. But it was successful. And what was gained? Quite a lot but all mostly "under the hood". You can read all about the benefits of installing Vista SP 1 on this Microsoft Web page.

One thing you'll notice if you do decide to download and install SP1 is that although the Search Box is still there on the bottom of the Start Menu, the link to the full search tool is gone! Not to worry though, just press your F3 key while the Start Menu is on the screen and this handy Vista feature pops up behind it. Cool!

If you decide to download SP1 for Vista, turn everything off that's running, even the stuff in your system tray except your anti-virus software. But before you do that, go to your Control Panel and create a Restore Point to be on the safe side. You're going to be over-writing a lot of very important system files. I had no problem and neither have millions of other people. So yeah, I'd get it if I were you, provided you don't already have it installed. Go look. Click Start and right-click Computer then Properties and look at Systems.

Thanks for reading this post and don't forget to visit every chance you get.

No comments: