Island in the Net

A personal blog by Khürt Williams, full of inchoate writing on photography, coffee, and geekery.

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Google Chrome is faster than ….

Google Chrome is faster than ...., Chrome 128For me the word Chrome evokes images of the shiny, the futuristic and the fast. Clean, efficient and well built. Google Chrome developer preview doesn’t disappoint. Google has taken WebKit, the same Open Source browsing engine that Safari is built on, and in a very short time developed a browser for Mac and Windows that is winning converts everywhere. On my work PC (Windows XP) Google Chrome has displaced Firefox as my “get things done quickly” browser.

To Safari users, Chrome’s no-frills GUI will appear familiar. However, Chrome offers one interface tweak that Safari does not. Chrome can be “skinned” using themes. Some of the themes are designed by Google but there are over 90 themes designed by artist like Karim Rashid and Wes Craven.

Chrome is based on WebKit and has a similar feature set as Safari, and has the same limitations (no plugins or extensions). They are so similar that one could almost believe they were developed by the same software engineers. GUI enhancement aside, why run Chrome at all if Safari meets your needs? Quite simple, speed. Using the UNIX time utility I tested how long it took to load the default Apple home page from both Safari and Google when each launched for the first time. In my unscientific tests Google Chrome beat Safari each time, but only by a few seconds. For a more objective test I used the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark browser benchmark tests on the WebKit web site. This benchmark runs each test multiple times. I ran the tests in both browsers (Safari first) and then compared the results. Based on this benchmark Google Chrome’s JavaScript is 1.23 faster than Safari. Download Chrome and test for yourself. Although it’s a developer preview it’s rock solid.

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