Google Chrome

May 25, 2009

We’re all used to Internet Explorer. A lot of us have started using Firefox. Why on earth do we need another Internet browser? What’s the big deal about Google Chrome?

When I first downloaded Chrome, I used it for a few hours and thought “What’s the big deal? It looks like all the other browsers out there.”

And that’s true, at first glance. But look  a little closer and you’ll notice a few differences. Then, if you open the hood and look at the guts of the browser, you’ll notice a lot of differences.

First Glance Features:

Home page defaults to your nine most visited pages
Say you get online every morning and immediately check the Tennessean, the weather, the day’s comics, CNN, and your email. Let’s say you visit those sites a lot during the day. Chrome will remember that and show you quick links to your most visited sites each time you open a new browser window.

No Title Bar – No Menu Bar
Chrome gives you tabs right at the top of the page. Next is the address bar. That’s it. Because why waste room that you could use to view the web page you’re looking at?

No search box in the upper right corner
While other browsers are making an integrated search box standard (like Firefox),  Google chose to eliminate that feature. Instead, they made the address bar function as both address bar and search box – they call it the Omnibar. If you type a web address, you’ll go to a web page. If you type keywords, you’ll get Google search results.


A lot of what’s special about Chrome is what you can’t see.
IE and FF are built of the original browser tech from the nineties – designed only for viewing HTML web pages. as new tech was introduced, these had to be added on later – the browser itself did not do any of the new tech. Google chrome is the first browser designed from the ground-up with today’s technology in mind

What’s special about Chrome is what you can’t see

IE and FF are built of the original browser technology from the nineties – back when browsers were just used to view HTML web pages. As new technology was introduced (like JavaScript and Flash – for all our blinking, video heavy pages), it had to be added on.

Google Chrome was built from scratch. It is the first browser designed from the ground-up with today’s technology in mind. Why is that important?

Chrome is fast
Chrome was built to handle complex Internet tasks, like uploading photos, online editing, and all the web applications we’ve covered on Staff in the Know. It was built with current Internet use in mind, so web applications work very fast.

Chrome runs each tab separately
If you’ve ever used Firefox on Internet Explorer 7, you have probably used tabs. And you’ve probably had one tab freeze up. With Firefox and IE, when one tab freezes, they all freeze. Chrome runs each tab as a separate process. So, if one tab freezes, it doesn’t affect the other tabs.

Chrome has Application Shortcuts
Web apps are programs that live on the Internet – they are not saved on your computer. Because apps live on the Internet, it can take a while to get to one: you have to open a browser and type a web address. Not difficult, but definitely more than one double-click. Chrome incorporates “Application Shortcuts” to make it easier to get to web applications.

Here’s how to create an Application Shortcut:

You can create a shortcut using IE or Firefox, but it is a far more involved process that is not readily available from within the browser itself. Plus, when you click on a normal desktop shortcut, it’s just a shortcut to the website – with the title bar and menu bar and address bar. Chrome’s Application Shortcuts only give you the program with none of the internet tools in the way.

Browsers of the Future

You may not be curious enough to use Chrome, but rest assured that the same browser technology will soon be copied by Firefox and Internet Explorer. The Internet has changed – you can do so much more than just view web pages. Look out for more advances coming soon to the browser of your choice.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

  1. Download and install Google Chrome.
  2. Upload a picture to Picnik using Internet Explorer. Then upload a picture to Picnik using Chrome. Can you see the difference?
  3. If you have any problems, ask for help in the comments.

Extra: Do you have a favorite browser?


9 Responses to “Google Chrome”

  1. Susan Says:

    Chrome has become my default browser at home. Once too often, I had probably 8 tabs open in Firefox when one died. I made the mistake of letting it try to reopen my tabs when it restarted, then nearly threw my laptop across the room when the same thing happened. I love the screen shots from my most-visited pages on Chrome, I love the speed, and above all I love the stability!

  2. Esther Says:

    Help! Once Google Chrome was downloaded onto my work computer, it changed the look of all the e-mail and Intranet applications on that computer. Was this supposed to happen?!

  3. Jenny Says:

    Esther – Eeek! I’ll try to help.

    Downloading Chrome shouldn’t affect any other program or the settings of any other browser. when you look at the Intranet in Internet Explorer does it look the same?

    • Esther Says:

      It is no longer listed on my favorites in Internet Explorer. My web mail shortcut has the Chrome Symbol now also. I’ve also noticed that if you look up your e-mail on this computer, it comes up with the Chrome page behind it. There isn’t a print option when this happens.

      • Cook Says:

        It sounds like you allowed Chrome to set itself as the primary browser on your computer. IE should prompt you to change it back the next time you opens it. If not, try this:

        Open Internet Explorer
        Under Tools, click Internet Options.
        Click the Programs tab.
        Under ‘Default Web Browser’ click ‘Make Default’
        Click OK

  4. Esther Says:

    Thanks! That took and made it all normal again!

  5. Suzanne Says:

    I downloaded Google Chrome on my staff computer and I do like it — in some ways. My 2 biggest complaints are : 1. There is no Button to take me back to the Google Chrome main page if I go surfing off the main page instead of making tabs. I hit the Back button a few zillion times but it never went all the back to the main page. I had to close it and re-open it. Did I miss something?

    2. There are no links to Google Images, Gmail, or Groups on the main page.

    It is mighty speedy though.

    • Cook Says:

      Suzanne, Glad you are enjoying your new browser. Right, there is not really a ‘Home’ button, it was excused for space. Every time you open a blank new tab, it should have this home page. Use keyboard shortcut CTRL+T and you should have your main page.

      The links on the main page are determined by what you browse to most often, so they will change daily until the browser recognizes the sites you use most. Otherwise, if you visit those Google features frequently, you might try setting up an iGoogle page which could feature all of those. Go to to try it out.

    • Jenny Says:

      I missed the Home button too. But you can bring it back if you want it. Click on the wrench-looking button in the upper right and choose Options from the list. In the window that opens up, there’s a Basic tab where you can check a box that will restore the Home button.

      In that same Options menu, you can also set what page you’ll see when Chrome opens. So, if you don’t like the most frequent site thing, you can have Chrome automatically open up two or three (or more) sites.

      I hope that helps!

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