Google Chrome 2.0: faster, but feature-poor

It's IT Blogwatch, and Google releases Chrome 2.0. La GOOG claims a 30% speed improvement, but Richi Jennings is naturally skeptical. Not to mention cat yodeling...

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

The grey lady's Paul Boutin repeats himself:

Google logo
I wrote a week ago that Google was downplaying the best feature of its Chrome browser: speed. Tested against Firefox and Internet Explorer 8 on a freshly set-up laptop, Chrome’s blazing-fast renderings of Web pages needed no fussy benchmark tests.


Not content with my drooling praise, Google engineers have already sped up Chrome’s handling of Javascript-heavy interactive Web pages, such as Gmail’s main interface, by another 30 percent. ... Installing Chrome after a week using Firefox made me feel as if I’d bought a new laptop.

Gordon Kelly adds:

If you use Google Chrome there's a good chance the primary reason is because it's very, very fast - but according to Google: not fast enough. ... The new build takes advantage of an updated version of Webkit and an upgrade to Google's JavaScript engine, V8. Most usefully, these improvements are said to be far more scalable so users will notice it most when lots of tabs are open.


Next is increased stability with more than 300 bugs now squashed and there's two long requested additions: a full screen mode (yep, accessible using the usual F11 key) and a basic version of form autofill (it remembers what you have typed as you click on each field).

David Worthington reminisces happily:

The renewed browser war resembles more of a game of leapfrog than the big-bang releases of the 1990’s when one version of Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator could change the balance of power in the browser wars overnight. ... Two months ago, the Mozilla Foundation was bragging about how much snappier Firefox 3.5 will be over its predecessor. ... Safari 4 [claims] ‘world’s fastest browser,’ and Microsoft has introduced Internet Explorer 8 by performing benchmarks of its own.


For the first time in years, there is major innovation happening in the browsers due to increased competition. ... that this latest round of competition is a very good thing for people who use (and create) Web apps, and those who care about standards.

But Vexorian vents frustration via a fake-FAQ:

Q. Is it true Chrome is open source software like some articles said?

A. No, Chrome is not open source software. It does not provide you any of the basic reassurances Open source software actually gives you. To make up for this, we invented Chromium, which you can find after diving to another maze of links and compile yourself. ... Please, don't use it as it will give you the basic FOSS freedoms and we do not want that for our browser.

Q. Is it true that ... Firefox, Opera and Safari are also working on javascript speed making the only important chrome feature worthless?

A. Definitely, as a matter of fact, since some of their new versions actually beat Chrome in memory usage and they have no problem in working in many platforms ... there's really no point in using Chrome. ... Of course, chrome might still be faster, but this is due to the fact we implemented the javascript VM using as much crazy, unmaintainable windows hack as possible.

And this Anonymous Coward spots a naked emperor:

They've now released Windows v2, after originally claiming the Linux version will be ready "as soon as possible" eight months ago during the original hype & release of v1. Google is due for some flack about this.

Not to mention the lack of Mac version.

So what's your take? Get involved and leave a comment.

And finally...

  • Advanced Cat Yodeling

    [no cats were harmed in the making of this video,
    but a few were "moderately annoyed"]

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter or FriendFeed, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: contact Richi.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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