Negative Reactions to Google Chrome

September 8th, 2008 at 12:00 am
 


Google chrome

Google Inc. officially released Chrome on September 2, 2008, its first attempt to join the Web browser wars. Chrome is an open source browser aimed at pushing forward Internet innovation and elevating user expectations. Chrome features an intuitive but extremely simple interface, has Opera’s "speed dial" feature, and imports bookmarks easily.

It also features a "create application shortcut", allowing users to launch applications from the Web browser. In addition, Chrome is faster than Firefox, possibly because of its being a stripped-down browser. Chrome basically performs much of what a Web browser needs to do nowadays. But it is also being criticized in a number of grounds.

Overview

The name "Chrome" is based on Web browsers’ graphical user interface frame, known as "chrome". Chromium is the name of the open source project behind Google Chrome, released under the BSD license. Although Chrome is light on features, it is a surprise that it is polished and has a variety of very promising capabilities that could affect the future of Web browser design.

In a PC World review, Chrome’s design is seen as a bridge between desktop and "cloud computing". It strips away all the tabs and toolbars from the window, leaving the user with "something that feels much more like a desktop application than like a Web application or page."

Matthew Moore of the Daily Telegraph provides a summary of the verdict so far on Chrome: "Google Chrome is attractive, fast and has some impressive new features, but may not-yet-be a threat to its Microsoft rival." In a report by Michael Liedtke of the Associated Press, Microsoft downplayed the threat posed by Chrome and foresaw that most users will use Internet Explorer 8.

Security flaws

Google Chrome is under fire from multiple security experts who have criticized its automatic file download feature that is enabled by default. These experts argue that attackers can easily use this feature to trick users into opening malicious executable files.

Additionally, they have also found a denial-of-service weakness that enables a malicious page to crash the Web browser. Developers of Chrome have confirmed this shortcoming and have already made some procedures to fix the problem in the SVN repository.

Privacy issues

Users began to realize something was wrong with the data collection in Google Chrome, raising privacy issues. The auto-suggest features of omnibar send back the data Google regarding the inputted keystrokes.

According to a Google representative, around 2% of the data would be stored together with the IP address of the computer that sent the data. Furthermore, Google stated that users can opt-out by switching to Incognito or by turning the auto-suggest feature off.

Other problems

One major weakness of Google Chrome is the lack of support for tab overflow handling. It is unlike most Web browsers (which display a menu with a list of tabs that don’t fit into the tab bar) as it just makes the tabs smaller and smaller so that more will fit.

Another disappointment is that, when you double-click the combined title/tab bar, the window is maximized rather than creating a new tab. Moreover, there are some major features that appear to have been left out in Chrome. For one, it does not support RSS.