NEW YORK - Google’s new Web browser, called Chrome, does much of what a browser needs to do these days: It groups pages into easy-to-manage “tabs” and offers several ways for people to control their Internet privacy settings.
Yet my initial tests reveal that this “beta,” or preliminary release, falls short of Google’s goals, and is outdone in an important measure by the latest version of Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer.
Chrome is a challenge to Microsoft’s browser, used by about three-quarters of Web surfers. But it could equally be called a challenge to Microsoft’s Office software suite, because what Google really wants to do is to make the browser a stable and flexible platform that can do practically everything we want to do with a computer, from word processing and e-mail to photo editing.
At work, I often have 40 or 50 tabs open in Firefox, grouped in different windows. Frequently, Firefox would slow down all the other applications on my computer, then seize up completely.
Flash is a tremendous resource hog in Firefox, eating up processor time. Luckily, there’s a small add-on program for Firefox that lets the user prevent Flash files from running automatically.
Chrome has the same problem, but unlike Firefox, there’s no way to stop Flash from running.
On the plus side, Chrome allows you to diagnose problems with runaway plug-ins easily, because it tells you exactly which pages are consuming which resources.