Sep 02 2008

Got Chrome?

Published by at 12:39 pm under Testing

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock today, you’ve probably heard that Google released their own browser, Chrome. The comic book that they’ve posted with it is cool, if for no other reason than it’s illustrated by Scott McCloud. But my first reaction to Chrome is “So what?”

Yes, it has a lot of security features built in. But so do IE 7/8 and Firefox 3. I was a little disturbed when I realized that Chrome not only copied all of my bookmarks and history from FF, it also downloaded my user names and passwords. I’m less concerned that Chrome was able to do this then the fact that the passwords can be exported from Firefox at all. I need to rethink saving any of my account information to the browsers at all knowing this.

There are a lot of other people writing reviews of Chrome, so I’m going to keep it simple. After a short test run, it seems to render everything at least as well as Firefox. It’s a bit faster to load and it gives me just a touch more screen space by using the top bar for tabs rather than as just a place holder. One interesting thing is that it appears to use quite a bit of memory, but it’s using it for individual tabs as separate processes rather than one process as Firefox and IE do. This is obviously part of the virtualization and sandboxing Google promised.

I’ll be interested in reading what people have to say about Chrome over the next couple of weeks, but I think I’ll be doing the majority of my surfing in Firefox 3 for the foreseeable future. I rely too heavily on many of the add-ons in Firefox to switch easily. How are your experiences with Chrome turning out and do you see yourself moving to Chrome from your current browser?

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11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Got Chrome?”

  1. John D.on 02 Sep 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I’ve also toyed with it a bit and found something that I really didn’t like. By default, all cookies are accepted. There are three choices: Allow all, block all and restrict how 3rd party cookies are used. I’m not sure how restrictive that third choice is. My gut tells me that it isn’t the same as “block 3rd party cookies”.

  2. Martinon 02 Sep 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Hmm, cookies are another big consideration I’ll have to look at before giving any more of my information to Chrome.

    Besides everything else, I don’t think I like the possibility of Google having ALL of my internet traffic as well. If they’re scary with my search history, imagine what they can do if they know everything.

  3. Imranon 02 Sep 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Just downloaded it after a long wait all day. My first take, it looks and feels good. More screen space, tabs on the top instead of underneath the toolbar are better. One of the first issues I have run into is that Chrome is not fully compatible with all web sites, in my case, my most visited site Hotmail, it gave me a little warning message asking me to upgrade my browser or I won’t be able to use all the features of Windows Live Mail, didn’t really miss on any features, everything worked fine, but at least Hotmail thinks it is not compatible, one of the things they will fix in the final version. Haven’t really found anything against it as of yet, will see how it goes.

  4. Michaelon 02 Sep 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Martin, first off you should not save your password in Firefox. It’s not just Chrome that you should be worried about reading your stored passwords, its things like malware that you should be worried about. Also, Chrome is open source, so if it is phoning home to google with your sensitive browsing information i’m sure someone will raise a big red flag.

  5. Martinon 02 Sep 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Michael, sorry for the confusion, the fact that passwords are exportable is a problem I have with Firefox, not Chrome. I had never realized before Chrome exported my passwords that they could be exported. And yes, you’re right I should be careful about which passwords I allow the browser to cache.

    I’m sure we’ll hear in the next couple of days if there’s any information being sent back to Google. It wouldn’t be a smart thing for them to do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll do the smart thing. Or that they won’t give in to temptation farther down the line.

  6. Christianon 02 Sep 2008 at 5:30 pm

    I’m gonna hold off for a few more days. I’m lazy and rely almost entirely on people such as yourself and the other wonderful SBN members to highlight any glaring security problems 😀

    Great post mate!

    Cheers,

    Christian

  7. John D.on 02 Sep 2008 at 8:48 pm

    I haven’t listened to the Network Security Podcast 118. I hope you did consider the entire “if it can encrypt and decrypt on the same system” issue when dealing with local password storage.

    As you know, only having something you have isn’t a good password/pass-phrase storage make.

  8. Denison 03 Sep 2008 at 3:21 am

    I’ll try it when there is a NoScript add-on for Chrome 😉

  9. Aaron Guhlon 03 Sep 2008 at 6:13 am

    Having your cached passwords is an issue with a lot of browsers, Firefox and IE included. Cached passwords are easily attainable through Protected Storage when you choose to save your passwords. If you have access to that local account, then you have access to all those stored passwords that you allowed your browser to store. They need to change they way they handle and store passwords, IE and Firefox in particular. Third-party credential managers help. I’ll have to play around with Chrome to see if it is any better without third-party software.

  10. Tarun Guptaon 03 Sep 2008 at 9:20 am

    Google just released a browser chrome which has bad url handeling, Just visit http://ntoolz.net/test/testcrome.html in Google browser and hover the link, do not click and browser will crash…..

    If you type about@ or about:@ in address bar (no need to hit enter) it will crash, also

    If bookmark is created with a toooo long randon url in address or name then also when clicked the bookmark it will crash…..

  11. Stanleyon 05 Sep 2008 at 1:29 am

    I tried chrome, and I like it quite a lot (too bad it’s windows only for the moment). I will not change from Firefox for now, I like my extensions too much. But maybe Mozilla team could learn something from design decisions behind chrome and incorporate them in Firefox.

    And the thing about passwords..Chrome tried to import my passwords from firefox, but it obviously failed. Why?

    Ever heard of master password? I was pretty surprised that anyone dealing with (or interested in) security would have their passwords cached without encryption. Or maybe I’m just being paranoid (I even have master-password timeout extension installed). Off you go, set you master password immediately.

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