Google Chrome Browser: What’s this and why special?

Few days back at 19th November 2009, we got the final news about Google Chrome OS that this project is being open-sourced and the OS will actually come to market by end of 2010. The related video are given below:

The same news ignited me to collect some info around Chrome and special things about it. Before the OS itself, in this article I thought to limit myself to Google Chrome Browser only this time.

You have many browser choices out there, if you have Windows then you see the world from the eyes of Internet Explorer, if its MacOS, then your world get flashlights in face of Safari , if its any flavour of Linux, then you are most likely to get the wing from Firefox and if its mobile then you must have seen Opera.

Due to constant updating features and blazing fast performance than other browsers, we already see Firefox racing in front of the giant Internet Explorer in the market share. I really wonder if there is any place left for a new browser and yet the innovator Giant Google announces a new browser, then there must be some means and strong backing behind the same. The core of this concept is around Web 2.0, Chrome was build up from the ground up for Web 2.0 and the focus always remained on speed, security and reliability throughout the visionary design process.

Basically, Internet apps now days takes more than what we known from long as simple HTML. All the other browser started from simple keeping that HTML in mind and then adding on capabilities and so over the time, browsers were sure bulky and slow as first apps has to load then the browser. You must have noticed that how much time Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari takes in opening just the first blank page.

“ This all has gone under a big change with, what we calling the Google Chrome Browser. Chrome takes advantage of new technology from ground up, which runs most of these advance features without using as much memory as old browsers do now. It means that Chrome Browser opens up quickly when you clicked it and so for the tabs. You will fee the performance, when you open up Internet Apps designed for Web 2.0, like Google’s sites and services. ”

So, here we know, why its attractive to pick up. Let’s see more deeper. It got best all, Tabs, Speed Dials with screenshots, Security Features, themes and yet the simplest interface to compete from any other rivals.

The Omnibox (New address bar): Its unique feature (although Firefox also have it in a way) is its Omnibox, which we know as Address Bar. In Omnibox, Google Chrome has combined the address bar, the search bar, the search from other sites and a little more. Let’s put the points over some of the features:

1- Link Navigation: The most basic thing of browser to type in address in address bar, has got more wing with added help and suggestions from web, from your history and making to type much lesser keys then ever with its real time suggestions.

2- Web Search: You could type anything to search for in the Omnibox and you get will to the search results of any search provider (Google is default one).


3- Web-History Search: It makes it much easier to search within pages, you already visited. Just type a keywords from middle and it will pick up whole link you visited. Isn’t this cool for most of us?


4- Bookmarks: Google now have provided Bookmark sync through Google Account itself, which enables user to have their bookmarks everywhere they logged in, but even if you are not using that it combines local and google’s bookmarks of yours and provide real time suggestions, while you type in the Omnibox, aiding you at its best to reach out your site.


5- Search out of search engines: This is a feature, right now lesser people know about. You want to search something in YouTube, type in in Omnibox and it will display message like “Press TAB to search”, press tab and you will get “Search ” written in Omnibox and then type in any word after the colon and here you go.

tab searchtab search2

For the people caring about their privacy concerns from these above mention features, there are option to control most of the features, even could have separate profiles with little tweaking. And above all, you have option of incognito windows, opened by Ctrl+Shift+N, in which whatever you do, don’t get recorded in history. Unlike Firefox’s Private browsing, it doesn’t shut off the other opened windows means you could work in normal windows and incognito windows at the same time :).

I am dammn sure that this Omnibox has started changing the way we see browsing for the people, who has started using it. Just give it a few mins and it starts learning your preferences on its own. You open Chrome again and it shows your frequently visited pages with their snapshots within 60 seconds to choose upon like speed dial.

Playing with the TABs: TABs became an integral part of browsing experience with all browsers, even then Chrome found new ways to improve them. With easy drag and drop, you can change the order of TABs and even pull them out for become a new chrome window. Moreover, technically each TAB runs in a separate process, so even if one page crashes, other TABs are safe and in most of the cases, your whole browser doesn’t crashes.

The simplest toolbar: Forget the days, having a tool/menu bar having menus like File, Edit, View, Favourites, Tools etc. You got just easiest thing, the browser. There is an Start Button for easy Bookmarks, Refresh Button, Navigation for Back-n-Forward and a triangular Go button with Page Menu and Settings Men next to it, that’s it.

Page / Settings/ Options Menu: There is just two menu, having it including option to Text Zoom. You have options to make applications shortcut like for Google Docs, Google Sites, Gmail, Google Maps etc (Thanks to built in Google Gears).

Bookmark Bar: Chrome claims to having most happening bookmark system in browsing world right now. Just click on star button and you get easiest options for this one click bookmark. In rest of the things, it got all that arranging in folder and whenever you want to see bookmark bar, then just press Ctrl+B. When your bookmarks grow in hundreds then search is always inbuilt.

Security, sandboxing and safe browsing: Malware and phishing are two main problems that affect users conviction and assurance on the Internet. In the present time, malware is a very important aspect as it is related to stealing passwords and other documents. With SANDBOXING – a new feature prevents malware from installing itself on your computer. Your passwords and documents are at a safer hand – so, why worry.

Google chrome’s task manager: Just like your own CPU, you can now monitor sites that are using most of the memory, downloading the most bytes and interrupting in browsing sites you are working on – so, just eliminate them and work efficiently without any mess. In addition, you can also see plugins that are associated with the tab.

Although there are much to discuss about in world of advanced features with plugins, hidden features etc but that will lengthen this article much more. So, ending just here with the request that if you haven’t tried Google Chrome, then just give it a try and that’s it.

Saving time with keyboard shortcuts

Use these keyboard shortcuts to take some stress off your mouse. Here are a few mostly used shortcut keys for a quick reference (Full list is here).

Ctrl+T Open a new tab.
Ctrl+W Close the current tab.
Ctrl+Tab Cycle through current tabs.
Ctrl+N Open a new window.
Ctrl+Shift+N Open a new incognito window.
Ctrl+Shift+T Open the last tab you closed.
Alt+Home Open your Home page.
Ctrl+L Jump to the Omnibox.
Ctrl+K Search for a word in the
Ctrl+F Find text in an open page.
Ctrl++ Increase the font size.
Ctrl+- Decrease the font size.
Ctrl+0 Restore the normal font size.
Ctrl+B Always show the Bookmarks bar.
Ctrl+H Open your browsing history.
Ctrl+J Load your Downloads page.
Ctrl+X Cut.
Ctrl+C Copy.
Ctrl+V Paste.
Ctrl+P Print the current tab.
Shift+Esc Open the Tab Task Manager.

And at the end for knowing Google’s vision over Chrome, the famous comics is always here. For more interested people, I will recommend reading the book Google Sites and Chrome for Dummies.




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Buying a Laptop: things to look for – A Layman perspective

Wait, confusions, going through reviews and conversations … finally all these leaded to the decision of buying one: Dell XPS 1530. Yes, finally the day came, when I really went for the deal 9th December 2008. I am here to discuss things around it for you all, might still be in earlier stages of making a big purchase. J

Before buying a Laptop, what you keep in your mind, keeping the fixed configurations (something you can’t change later on) as higher as possible and even then tight in budget as you can.

Processor & Motherboard: One was sure to choose a decent Core 2 Duo Processor (2.0 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.2 GHz, 2.4 GHz, 2.5 GHz or 2.6 GHz) at least and also to watch out that how much L2 Cache (1 MB, 2MB, 3MB, 6 MB, 12MB) it has or how much FSB it offeres (800 or 1066 or 1366). The processor chosen also alter the specification of motherboard significantly, which is a thing most of the vendor don’t disclose to customer that which one they are using for which configuration.

RAM: The next thing what come in someone’s mind is RAM. Various technologies like DDR2, SDRAM etc and then frequencies over which they operate. The obvious line is “Go for as much higher RAM as possible”, but for me, now days its not of that worth thought because of much cheaper prices and high RAM requirement of Vista and most of the leading softwares. For me, I find 3 GB DDR2 RAM as sufficient nice choice as no 32 Bit OS is making full use of 4 GB RAM. Frequencies available are 667 MHz, 800 MHz, 1066 MHz and 1366 MHz and so are the prices in same order.

Hard Disk & Partition size: Again as I say, prices are as much cheaper now days that you wont mind spending a few bucks more for doubling the Hard Disk space. Choices available range from 120 GB-500 GB and for a Laptop, I find 250 GB or 320 GB a better catch. The next thing to think about in the same reference is the speed of the drive. Yeah now days all the drives are SATA, but RPM speed still matters and this is one of the reason of performance differences between desktop and Laptop. Unfortunately, if you want a performance 7200 RPM drive, then you might be spending 3k more and that too not available with all the brands. Fortunately Dell and IBM ThinkPad are one of the few offering the same with consumer range.

As about partition size, then most of the time, you get Laptop with one partition only or two partitions, out of which, the second one is only for recovery purposes. Everyone wishes to get a partition only for OS and the rest of the space for the other usages. I wish if the vendors make it a practice to make OS partition separate of 40-60 GBs and rest space unaltered.

Graphics Card: There was a time, if you were talking about a graphics card then people were just reverting back that no no.. that’s useless expense as I don’t play games. One of the reasons was higher prices of Graphics card and exclusion of PCI Express Slots from all the older Motherboards. Thanks to Vista in this way that it made people realize that Graphics Cards are going to be necessity very soon. Choosing which graphics card is not a big question as nVidia sure leads from the front, but the question is to choose which one and of how much capacity?

As DirectX 10 has been released and lots of games and softwares are not really going to support any card of lesser capability, but still it might go optional for people, who want to use Laptop for Office purposes only. But for the people, who want to invest for a higher and durable configuration and interested in gaming, I should say that any 128 MB Graphics card or anything lesser than nVidia 8600 GT is a big No No. You need at least 256 MB Graphics Card with DDR3 RAM or if your budget allows, then go for higher. Many games are recommending 512 MB dedicated Graphics card only now days (e.g. Far Cry 2).

Sound: This is now days most neglected side of the Laptop from most of the vendors. Keeping a full fledged and rocking speaker along with other high configuration components and then keeping the size, weight and form factor limited to as low as possible is really a tough task. I really never seen a good laptop with a sound like 2000 Watt, so neither I expect much from a laptop in this regard, nor should anyone else. What we could do is to see whether a decent headphone is shipped with the package or not and where is the placing of Headphone jack and how many jacks are here.

Additional accessories to look for: When one think about a Laptop means a mobile solution then connectivity becomes a big thing all of sudden. You need wireless connectivity at its full, you need Bluetooth, you need In-built Multi Card reader, you might need a Finger Print Scanner keeping further security in mind and most importantly the Inbuilt Web-cam at least you should ask for 2 MP Webcam, although in medium range most of the laptops are offering 1.3 MP Webcam.

With all these you should think about Firewire ports for adding high capacity storage, HDMI ports and as many connectivity options as much possible. USB port also seems to be mandatorily as many as possible.

Optional components: Optional components might be Bluetooth or USB Mouse, TV Tuner, Modem, Data Cards etc. Obviously, it depends on individual’s choice and pocket. For me TV Tuner seems to be a burden.

Other things, which often get unnoticed: This is a part related to service, warranty and in the same reference, choice of the vendor. Many Brands I discussed over net, with colleagues, with mates, with strangers, under forums and I found these brands as major player in Market:

Dell, HP\ Compaq Presario, Sony Vio, IBM, Lenovo and Toshiba

*Dell (My final Choice): I will discuss my chosen configuration later on, but Dell was always the leading one to provide the best technology at first. The only catch is the payment option as paying the cash before getting hands over the real thing going to be crucial with most of the customers in India. Even then they are decent enough, if one is desperate for good deals. They cater a pretty good range starting from just 35k to 85k or higher to meet most of the needs of variety of customers. I find the marketing and sales side also the same level aggressive in pricing and support.

HP: They have their high end Laptops and I guess are targeting Business range most of the time, for the consumer range they have taken over Compaq, which is sure a winner over prices and easy availability. Marketing and sales is this much aggressive that not only local dealers go for recommending their products, but if they know that the buyer has the potential to give them business further then they could follow it in person or via calls continuously and could give you a series of deals. I am not sure that was it better, if I have given a decent thought to this option as well, because one of my colleagues in Dubai bought a similar configuration as mine along with 512 MB nVidea 9600 Card and processor\RAM at 1066 MHz frequency. It was any from HP Pavilion series and the price was only Rs. 53,000/- INR as per rates there.
Now, I will be wondering that whether I made a mistake, although most of the reviews and benchmarks supporting my decision to go with Dell XPS. A good choice, if you don’t want to stress yourself much and not of very much techie to make full use of some higher configuration.

HP Compaq Presario: I should say a cheaper option for consumers in deed. You could get a decent 2GB RAM and 2GHz Core 2 Duo configuration just in Rs. 35,000/- INR and if you just want a good working one with Dual Core then one of my friend just bought it in Rs. 32,000/- INR. I really don’t give weight to Acer, so I could say that its most popular, easiest and cheapest option. Offers are like Music player and Data Cards and the local dealers also make it attractive through offering 4Gb Pen Drives, Mouse, Headphones etc. A good choice for people, who just want a Laptop.

IBM\Lenovo: It’s another brand after HP covering all the ranges in decent manner. You could get a Core 2 Duo configuration just in Rs. 36,000/- and it still work better than any Compaq one. If you leave Leanovo series, then in next ThinkPad\ IdeaPads are here, which comprises of decent high frequency processors, which even Dell is not offering. Prices might be there, but they worth it. Although I didn’t stressed myself much otherwise, I was able to give more insight over this brand, which is another attractive option, I guess.

Sony Vio: I could say earlier what I heard about this brand was only this much that it’s too costly for someone’s budget. I really never given a thought to it, neither tried to know how much rates are there for which configuration, but recently I visited a few Benchmark scores and got to know it performs good enough. But even then will admit that it was never an option to me, so I don’t know much about it right now.

Rest in next review that after these many thoughts how I went through Dell, what were proceedings and how everything went.