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A few months ago I got totally sick of Internet Explorer crashing all the time and decided to finally switch to a different browser. I checked out IE's main rivals like Firefox, most of which I'd used before in Internet cafes and suddenly remembered that I'd heard Google had released a browser too. I checked out the website and like what I saw, so I went ahead and downloaded it.
GETTING CHROME Chrome installs quickly and part of the process is a step which allows you to import data from your current browser - passwords, favourites etc. The website is here: http://www.google.com/chrome.
HOW IT LOOKS The first thing I noticed was that Chrome has a pretty minimalist look. Whereas IE has lots of buttons, bars and menus, Chrome keeps it simple. You have the usual browsing controls and an optional favourites bar, but all of the other tools have been condensed into 2 buttons - "Control the current page" and "Customise and control Google Chrome". The lack of superfluous toolbars and buttons means that the program interface itself takes up less space so you can use as much of the screen as possible for browsing.
WHAT'S COOL ABOUT IT My favourite feature is the ability to drag and drop tabs, making them easy to rearrange, separate into new windows or put windows together.
Coming a close second is the New Tab page. When you click to open a new tab you're presented with your most visited websites, recent bookmarks and recently closed tabs. Browsing suddenly becomes much faster!
You can search using your chosen search engine by simply typing in the address bar. Chrome also helps you out be making suggestions to complete the address or search term you're typing
If you want to keep a site out of your history, you can use Incognito Mode which ensures no record of your browsing in that window is stored on the computer.
When you download a file, instead of opening a separate box like IE, Chrome puts a little bar at the bottom of the page to show you the file's progress and allow you to open it when you're finished.
Each tab is a separate process, so in theory when one crashes, it doesn't affect the others.
Recently closed tabs allows you to reopen thing you closed accidentally or which the computer closed when you didn't want it to.
Chrome has a built in spellchecker! Great for alerting you to any typos and you also have the option to add words to the dictionary so you can 'lol' to your heart's content.
WHAT'S NOT SO COOL It's easy to forget about a download and close the page, accidentally cancelling the download - a pretty frustrating thing to do.
Because each tab is a separate process, having a lot of them open can be a drain on your computer. Also, on the rare occasions I have had a crash, it didn't just affect the single tab with the problem page, I lost them all.
Chrome doesn't offer the chance to customise its appearance. There's nothing wrong with how it looks, but being a typical girl, I'd quite like to change the colour from blue to something a bit more me like purple or pink.
THE VERDICT Overall, Chrome is a great little browser - quick, streamlined and easy to use. While tech geeks may lament the lack of customisation & advanced options to play with, if you're looking for a reliable, efficient browser then look no further.
The ultimate proof that Chrome rocks? My Mum (who's nearly 60 and struggles with even basic computing) thinks it's great. I downloaded & demonstrated it for her and she's over the moon with how much easier the Internet suddenly became.
So if you don't have Chrome yet, give it a try! I'm so glad I did, you wouldn't catch me using anything else now!