Today is the day Google has officially released the Chrome beta. If you haven’t heard Google has decided to enter the browser wars. It’s about time too. Internet Explorer still holds a vast majority of the market share with about 75% while Firefox has 20% and the rest share the remainder.

I personally use Opera and have for many years now. I would love to espouse the greatness of Opera to you but this post is about Chrome.

My first impression was that it’s fast. It’s actually VERY fast. The program does open quickly on my Windows XP SP2. It has tabs which some believe to be originated with Firefox but reality is that Opera has had tabs since version 4. The tabs are on the top and so is a basic set of controls. Overall the designs is simple and it’s actually appealing. There isn’t much to annoy you. One shortfall is extremely limited options. One can’t tell if that’s because this is beta or if Google intends to make this browser simple and effective.

As expected the browser works very well with Gmail and other Google applications. This is sometimes a shortfall for other browsers as many sites write javascript or other specific code to detect Firefox or Internet Explorer.

Another relatively nice feature is a speed dial similar to Opera’s except that the Chrome one detects your favorite pages automatically and adds them. I find that pretty dang convenient. There is also the memory password saver which no browser is complete without one nowadays. A downloads and history section also exist but at the time of this writing it’s not tested.

One thing I did test was memory usage of Chrome. Below is a screenshot of my results. You can do a similar test yourself by opening up all your browsers with the same sites then in Chrome address bar type “about:memory” which will bring up your computers memory usage. Rather handy feature. As you can see from my image. Opera is the least user of ram and keep in mind Opera has a full email client, torrent client, download manager, and irc client.

Overall I am pleased with Chrome especially as a first day release beta. It’s small, sleek, and fast. It will be a great compliment browser to anyone that surfs. I use multiple browsers quite often just to test and now I have a new one added to my arsenal. Congrats to Google on a fine showing.

You can download Chrome here:  http://www.google.com/chrome