FAQ: Google polishes up its new browser, Chrome

Is it a Chrome-tastic browser, or just another app?

How about Chrome for Linux?

You're even more out of luck than people running Steve Jobs' operating system. The e-mail notification for Mac users -- but not for those running Linux -- is more than a hint. Chrome's developer notes spell out the bad news: "There is no [emphasis in original] working Chromium-based browser on Linux," says the build documentation, in red type within a bordered box, no less.

That must mean they're serious about "no" meaning, well, "no."

Should I bother?

Computerworld's Barbara Krasnoff came away with mixed feelings, but in the end recommended that people try Chrome. "At the very least, it will offer a new take on the browsing experience."

And hey, it's free.

What's under the hood?

WebKit, the same open-source rendering engine used by Apple's Safari, also powers Chrome. And Google execs also credited Mozilla's Firefox with providing some unspecified "components" inside Chrome.

Oddly enough, or perhaps not odd at all, Apple was the only one of the four major browser makers -- the others are Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera -- that didn't bother responding to requests for comment on Chrome's introduction. Nor did the various WebKit blogs, including David Hyatt's "Surfin' Safari," bother to post entries about Chrome and its use of the engine.

How fast is Chrome?

The jury's still out. Some testers who have run it through JavaScript benchmarks have reported out-of-this-world results. But others, including Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal -- as far as we know, the only reviewer who got an early look at Chrome -- dinged it for rendering slower than, say, Firefox on Windows.

That's our off-the-cuff impression, too. Trying it out in Windows XP, Chrome is no speed demon here, either.

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Gregg Keizer

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