Chrome Review

Bottom Line

Google Chrome has upped the ante in the browser wars by adding awesome features like voice search and syncing to its once-simple browser. In terms of speed, Chrome outshines the competition in many benchmark tests. Consumers and experts, however, have lingering concerns about Chrome's privacy policies and how the browser sends information back to Google.

Performance

Pros

  • Fast and simple
  • Easy to sync across devices
  • Auto updates

Cons

  • Privacy concerns
  • Bare-bones design
Our Analysis
Specs

Features

A more refined browsing experience. Since launching in 2008, Google Chrome has been known as a bare-bones browser, but it now includes many of the features of its main competitor, Firefox, including tabbed browsing, custom extensions and a built-in PDF viewer and Flash player. Voice search and spell checking make Chrome an especially user-friendly browser. (A heads-up for voice users, however: The searches are stored in Google). InfoWorld.com praises Chrome for more than just its speed, citing "excellent" web standards compliance (it's top notch with HTML5), automatic updating and synchronization across devices. It also uses technology that isolates stability and security issues in individual tabs, so the entire browser isn't affected in the event of an attack.

Privacy and Security

Some concerns. While Google Chrome's current features are leaps and bounds above those in its earlier versions, many reviewers say they prefer Firefox or Internet Explorer in part because of Chrome's weak privacy. Among other issues, Chrome sends search information from the address/search bar (called the Omnibox) back to Google (which critics equate with Big Brother), predicting what you might search in the future. (The feature can be turned off.) In addition, synchronizing Chrome between your devices requires signing into a Google account. Chrome does have an "incognito" mode that disables tracking and history recording, but its Do Not Track options are "buried and discouraged", notes PCMag.com. (The website nonetheless gives Chrome its coveted Editors' Choice award.)

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