Google Chrome: First impressions (and a few benchmarks)

Google Chrome has now been released for download - see Derek's post for some opinion on this or the "leaked" information from Google.  I've installed it and I have to say that I like it a lot - the minimalist UI is rather nice (although IE7 has drifted in a similar direction), the "omnibox" (was previously the address bar) seems to actually work in terms of how it handles it's auto completion and the initial start page is a great idea.  But the thing that really got to me was just how fast it is.  And I mean ...

fast

There's lots of numbers below where I try to measure just how fast Google Chrome is compared to IE 7, but what really impressed me was when my wife (who is non-techie) browsed a few sites using Chrome and noticed the difference in speed.

To see just how real the speed increase was, I visited a number of benchmarking sites.  QuirksMode have a benchmark for creating HTML table elements via JavaScript.  As the following table outlines, IE 7 took 4,652 ms to complete all the tests and Google Chrome took 186 ms.  That's literally an order of magnitude faster.

chrome-table-gen

Celtic Kane has a benchmark which attempts to measure the core JavaScript engine.  Again, Google Chrome is literally an order of magnitude faster than IE 7 and it looks to me as if Chrome would probably come top of his overall performance table.

chrome-javascript2

As a final test, I loaded up the SunSpider test from WebKit - this is a test which purports to target real-world usage and avoid "useless" micro-benchmarks.  I expected Chrome to do well against this, since Google say that Webkit forms a big part of the Chrome browser, but Chrome managed to beat my already high expectations.  It came in 16.9 times faster than IE 7 and some of the differences were simply staggering.

chrome-javascript

Overall, this is quite an amazing first drop of code and I didn't have a single crash or notice any rendering errors.  I'll leave others to speculate on exactly what this means for Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but I think it's fair to say that Google have raised the standard of what to expect from a browser quite considerably.

[EDIT: Rory has also posted about Google Chrome.  The interesting thing is that he also includes some numbers about memory usage.]

September 2 2008

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