New Google Chrome is really fast

A new version 2.0.172.28 of Google Chrome was released yesterday with Google claiming the web browser is up to 30% faster than previous versions and with some new features included.

I’d agree with the claim that it’s faster. In my (wholly unscientific) tests since installing it yesterday, it’s notably faster especially when compared to Firefox and Internet Explorer, two other browsers whose latest versions I have installed on my Windows PCs.

In my experience so far, the elapsed time from clicking the Chrome icon to being able to open a web page in the browser is under five seconds. That is fast! It’s about 50% faster than the previous version, in my experience, and hugely faster than running Firefox.

What about Internet Explorer? Let’s just say, I prefer Chrome.

Here’s what Google says is behind the increased speed in the latest version:

[…] Thanks to a new version of WebKit and an update to our JavaScript engine, V8, interactive web pages will run even faster. We’ve also made sure that JavaScript keeps running fast even when you have lots of tabs open. Try opening a bunch of web applications and then running your favorite benchmark. You can read more about V8 in our JavaScript scalability post on the Chromium blog.

There’s more information on the Google Chrome blog about the new version including some details on new functionality.

I’ve decided to make a complete switch from Firefox to Chrome now. Not a light decision – especially as I’ve been with Firefox since 2004 – and one that means doing without some useful functionality provided by Firefox addons that don’t exist in Google Chrome.

But nothing really so essential to prevent a switch to a browser that is just reliable and very fast by comparison.

So I manually installed the new version last night, ran the “import bookmarks and settings” wizard  to grab all my bits and bobs from Firefox (a lot of things, resulting in a Chrome crash) and here we are today.

I recorded an Audioboo last night with some immediate impressions. (If you see the Flash player at the top of the page, you can listen to it here and now without downloading the MP3 file.)

Hopefully, it’s a good move long term. We’ll see.


Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. neville

    Doesn’t look like it, Fred. From my own perspective, that’s not an important feature for me as I rarely ‘save’ RSS feeds from a browser.

    Yet I recognize it would be a major omission for anyone accustomed to saving RSS feeds in their favorites (IE) or as a live bookmark (FF).

  2. Jack Stanley

    Despite of the fact that Chrome is in lack of an extension system yet, there are some pioneering add-ons existed already. e.g., Cleeki, has provided its add-on for Chrome. You can consider Cleeki as an alternative to IE8 accelerators, only superior. Select any text, and Cleeki can search/share/publish on the Internet and preview the results immediately in the same page. Check it out yourself:

    http://blog.cleeki.com/?p=70

  3. Robert Safuto

    Chrome is faster than Firefox. But it comes up very short on functionality. The lack of RSS support is huge in my opinion. Firefox also has a much better address bar. If I start entering a term in the Firefox awesome bar it will search anywhere in the url string whereas Chrome only searches the beginning of the urk string. I find the Firefox functionality much more suited to my needs. I also use the AdBlock Plus add on which I don’t really appreciate until I switch over to Chrome and start seeing all those ads again.

    So while I like the speed and clean layout of the Chrome interface I can’t get past the shortcomings mentioned above. So for the time being Chrome will play second fiddle to Firefox on my desktop.

  4. neville

    That makes complete sense, Rob, for you to stay with Firefox.

    It’s all rather subjective, isn’t it? The lack of RSS support in Chrome is huge for you, whereas that’s not an important thing for me. I don’t mind ads that appear and I like the Chrome combined address and search bar: works just fine for me.

    The only thing I do really miss – but not enough to make me go back to Firefox – is the search feature in FF where you could choose on the fly, a place to search. So I had the Google bar installed in Firefox and used the in-built FF search bar for Wikipedia mostly.

    Still, on balance, Chrome for me is a better browser. But that’s just me saying!

  5. Shel Holtz

    I’ll stick with Firefox; I’ll put up with the extra couple seconds in order to keep GreaseMonkey — all by itself, it’s a critical plugin.

    What’s particularly interesting, though, is that IE8 is faster than Firefox. Nobody thinks so, I’ve heard people on podcasts (like TWIT) dissing IE8 as way too slow, but this month’s PC World has bench tests: Chrome comes in first, then IE8, then Firefox. How ’bout that?

  6. neville

    I’ve never found any Greasemonkey script indispensible when compared to overall Firefox stability and speed. But that’s just me: I know lots of people who, like you, swear by Greasemonkey.

    As for IE8, I’m not impressed.

    Ain’t choice a wonderful thing?

  7. Shel Holtz

    Oh, I’m not impressed with IE8, either. I just found it intriguing that bench tests show it to be faster than Firefox (and Safari), yet everyone who talks about it complains about how slow it is. I think it’s their perceptions of IE affecting their objectivity.

    As for Greasemonkey, two scripts in particular are indispensable to me. One lets me organize pages of links (like those on delicious) by different criteria such as popularity; the other lets me just continue scrolling through multiple pages without having to click the “next page” button. I use several others, but those two alone I now wouldn’t want to live without.

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