My first impressions of Google Chrome: this looks like a welcome addition to the browser landscape, and I expect it to steal a lot of market share from Firefox in particular. The interface is a lot cleaner than Firefox 3, you don’t have to jump through hoops to go to a site with an invalid security certificate, and there is a “porn tab” option instead of Sarafi’s “private mode” that affects all windows in the entire browser. It also seems to be pretty fast. 

So what are other people’s opinions? No matter what metric you use to measure popularity, Google Chrome has definately been a success. For me, the most important numbers to look at are:

  • Number of downloads: we’ll have to wait for Google to release figures on this, but I’m sure it’s a mighty big number. The installer is already appearing on a number of filesharing networks even though it’s a free download, which is always a good sign. 
  • Market share: according to Clicky, Chrome has double the market share of Opera on it’s first day. 
  • Attention from security researchers

There has surely been a lot of attention to the browser’s security. First, it is vulnerable to a “carpet bombing” attack:

“Just hours after the release of Google Chrome, researcher Aviv Raff discovered that he could combine two vulnerabilities – a flaw in Apple Safari (WebKit) and a Java bug discussed at this year’s Black Hat conference – to trick users into launching executables direct from the new browser. 

Then came news that the isolation between different tabs is not perfect: you can crash the entire browser with a malformed URL:

When a user is made to visit a malicious link, which has an undefined handler followed by a ‘special’ character, the chrome crashes with a Google Chrome message window “Whoa! Google Chrome has crashed. Restart now?”

And then there are small items such as the fact that executable files can be downloaded without notifying the user. So far, only relatively minor issues has been reported; with the amount of attention this product has been getting this means the Chrome team has done their (security) homework. The source code is available, so I expect people to have a good look at it real soon. 

I hope Google can keep up with the list of issues that people are posting; if there are regular updates in the coming days and weeks I expect to see a significant drop in Firefox market share when people start switching to Chrome as their primary browser.