Chrome continues to mature into an excellent modern browser experience. With the wealth of apps and features available only being matched by its speed and tidy design, it looks set to be the benchmark for a while to come.
Google has been slowly improving its Chrome browser over the past few years so that today it’s more of an entire eco-system than just a simple web portal. For some this has been a step away from the simple, lightning fast browser that first appeared back in 2008, but if you buy into the Google universe then it has some quite compelling features.Here’s our Google Chrome review (version 40). See also:
Best alternative web browsers
To get the most out of Chrome you’ll need a Google account, which is free and takes seconds to create. With this you can sync your favourites, open tabs, history, and stored passwords with any other machine running the browser – very handy indeed. The passwords themselves are encrypted by Google, but you can also enable all of your synced data to be encrypted by selecting the option in Settings, then creating a passcode that will be known only to you.
Chrome has a clean layout, with a universal search/address bar at the top, and any open tabs placed just above. The three lines on the right hand upper corner give you access to settings where you can organise your bookmarks, enter the ‘incognito’ private browsing mode, or increase the size of the content in the main panel. The More Tools section also gives you access to the Chrome web store where you can install a wide range of plug-ins, extensions, and themes. These are probably the most enticing part of the Chrome experience, as there are various extensions for apps such as Evernote, Pocket, Wunderlist, Pinterest, Gmail, as well as ad-blockers, reader modes, HTTPS everywhere, and Chromecast.
The Chromecast extension means you can mirror your screen on a television if it has a
Chromecast HDMI stick attached. Chrome also has a number of apps available in the store, many of which are actually links to the service on its website, but there are a quite a few useful ones that can increase your productivity (Google Docs, Hangouts, and Drive), alongside additional calendars, games, and office tools. With Chromebooks becoming increasingly popular, this eco-system looks set to continue expanding, with additional functionality accompanying the growth.
Chrome has an impressive voice search feature, where saying the words ‘Ok Google’ on the homepage will immediately enable you to dictate your search terms. The recognition is very good, with complex sentences being transcribed accurately, and Chrome will even read aloud the answers to some questions.
In our range of browser benchmark tests Chrome consistently came at the top of the table when compared to its rivals, which proves you can have plenty of useful features and still retain your performance. No wonder it’s so popular.
Martyn has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews for Macworld and its sister site Tech Advisor.