Google Chrome for Users, Developers, and SEOs

By Kaitlyn Smeland Dhanaliwala | Jun 5, 2009
More Articles by Kaitlyn

Last week I asked everyone I knew what they thought of the TV ads for Google’s new browser, Chrome. The general consensus seems to be that the ads do a good job of reinforcing Google’s brand (cool, innovative, creative), but they might not communicate very clearly what exactly Google Chrome is.

So what is Google Chrome? Obviously, it’s a browser. But what makes Google Chrome different from Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox? Well, Chrome has some interesting features (and is missing others) that are relevant to different audiences- general users, developers, and SEOs.

Users | For general users who simply want to browse, check email, read news feeds, do some shopping, and/or catch up on the latest video clips of American Idol- and that is most of us at some point each day- Google Chrome has some nifty new features:

  • One single box for all browsing activities.  Chrome features a minimalistic interface with only one bar across the top.  The bar is used for URL addresses but can also be used as a search box.  You can set your default search engine.  And the box automatically suggests recent pages you have viewed and possible search terms as you type.
  • Independent and dynamic tabs.  Each tab in the browser is essentially run independently.  So if one tab crashes for any reason, it will automatically be pulled out of the group into its own window.  This way, the other functioning tabs are not compromised.  Tabs can also be rearranged in a window, regrouped, or pulled out into new windows easily.
  • Customized “new tab” default page.  When you create a new tab, the default page will show your most visited sites and recently bookmarked pages, and recently closed tabs.  These can also be manually customized if they are not useful to you.
  • Application shortcuts that cut out the browser interface.  You can use Chrome to create shortcuts from your desktop, start menu, or Quick Launch bar to online applications like Google Calendar- without having to use your browser.
  • Incognito mode.” This feature is an interesting little bonus.  For “private browsing” that you don’t want to appear in your search history, you can open an incognito window.  Any downloads made during your incognito session will also be absent from your downloading history.  (Files downloaded and bookmarks saved during your session, however, remain after closing the window).
  • Built-in safety notifcation triggers.  Google Chrome automatically wanrs you before visiting a site with suspected malware, viruses, or phishing.
  • Import settings from your old browser.  Chrome wants to make it as easy as possible for you to import all your bookmakrs and browser setting from your old browser.
  • New (simpler?) download system.  Instead of a popup window of your downloads, files fall to the lower tray of your brower window.  You can then simply click to open or delete when you no longer want to look at it.
Developers | For developers, Google Chrome includes a few features that might make life easier including:
  • Web inspector.  Right clicking anything on a page allows you to see all the resources associated with that component.
  • Task manager.  See all running CHrome processes and resources, straight from the browser.
  • JavaScript debugger.
SEOs |  SEOs who might be tempted to try Google Chrome for its faster speed may be reluctant given the fact that Chrome does not currently host the arsenal of SEO tools that Firefox does.  A few big-time SEO tools that do not work on Chrome yet include the SEOBook Rank Checker by Aaron Wall and the SEOMoz Toolbar by Rand Fishkin.  There are, however, a number of new apps being developed each day for Chrome, one being a PageRank Checker.  Only time will tell whether the SEO community will find it worthwhile to start developing tools for use with Chrome in the near future.  One way to speed up the acceptance of the new browser would be to develop compatibility with Mac and Linux systems as well!

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