Firefox has been in the spotlight for the past few years, but now another browser is aiming to steal that attention away. That browser is none other than Google Chrome. It seems like these are very critical times as new browsers and browser versions are constantly being developed, but never has a new browser had such attention behind it. So, just how well does Chrome fair when compared to its competition? Figuring out which browser is the best is no easy task. Actually, it is virtually impossible -- everyone has their own preference. There is no "perfect" solution, but there are browsers out there that are better suited for their user. Even though these things are unpredictable: performance, reliability, compatibility and functionality are a few key areas to begin with when trying to determine which browser is better suited for a particular user. So, how does Chrome compare against the competition in these categories?

Page Rendering Performance

AnandTech: "Chrome varies from being the fastest of the four to being the slowest, depending on what you throw at it." When evaluating Chrome's performance in terms of page rendering, there is no single answer to the question of whether or not it is faster than other browsers. Some websites take a while to load, while others seem to load instantly -- no two websites are the same, and no two websites are programmed the same either. This is why it is nearly impossible to benchmark page loading ability on such a general level. If someone did manage to notice a difference in page rendering speed, it shouldn't be enough to justify switching to another browser. Furthermore, there has been plenty of mention by users throughout the blogosphere about how Chrome "feels" faster at loading pages. This isn't necessarily the result of faster page loading, but it could be a result of pipelining (a technique used by browsers to display content faster). There are also quite a few other tricks that could be used to display content as it is loaded, instead of waiting for the content to finish loading. Regardless, a page that takes a second to load entirely, still takes a second to load. Don't be deceived. Chrome performs very well, but anyone who states that it is faster in general is basing it on the type of sites they visit, which are not necessarily the same as another person. Verdict: Chrome is on par with other top browsers.

Javascript Performance

John Resig: "Chrome is definitely the fastest in these results - although the results from the new TraceMonkey engine aren't included." CNET: "Google's overall score is head and shoulders above the competition for executing JavaScript." ZDNet Germany: "Google Chrome is undoubtedly a breath of fresh air in the browser market, bringing new competition for the previous performance leaders." JavaScript performance is an interesting thing to analyze for several reasons: * JavaScript is being used on more Websites than ever * JavaScript is going to continue to grow in popularity and use * JavaScript has plenty of untapped potential As for the actual performance, there is no denying that Chrome with the V8 JavaScript rendering engine has the edge when compared to many other popular browsers. It blows the competition away.

TraceMonkey May Out Perform V8

However, there is a catch with that statement. You see, the Mozilla bunch is already making huge improvements with TraceMonkey, the developmental version of Firefox's JavaScript engine named SpiderMonkey. To make things more intriguing, Mozilla has already posted some JavaScript testing results that show TraceMonkey outperforming V8.

The Potential for Native Video Support

Lately, there has been some discussion about having video supported natively in browsers by using a Video Object Model (VOM) with JavaScript. Google could have enough justification for doing such a thing for Chrome as the Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight technologies are not open source. The competition should inspire all parties involved to really make huge progress in this area. So, even though Chrome and V8 receive two thumbs up in JavaScript testing, TraceMonkey -- when it is finalized for Firefox -- looks like it might easily offer V8 a serious challenge. For now though, we will have to wait to see what develops -- maybe Microsoft or Apple will come out with an alternative solution as well. Verdict: Chrome and V8, for now at least.


In general, people seem to favor the way Chrome is built. Many have stated that Chrome hasn't crashed, but, unfortunately, this isn't the case from personal experiences. When visiting Hulu -- a highly popular streaming video site -- there is a serious drop in stability. Several times the browser and/or computer -- which is running Windows XP Pro, AMD 3800+ processor, 2 GB RAM -- went unresponsive. There was also a single time when the computer needed a hard reboot to restore functionality. Also, when attempting to change Hulu's video to higher quality, the browser tended to crash within moments, if not instantly. Perhaps this was an issue with compatibility (as discussed below), but it certainly didn't leave a good impression with the reliability of Chrome. Perhaps other users will have better luck, but there are obviously some issues. Granted, the browser does great when viewing sites that do not have video content. Perhaps there are a few kinks to work out under the hood. Verdict: From personal experience, it could be better, but it was a great first attempt.


LifeSpy: "As a web power user, Chrome can’t still replace the functionalities that I get using Mozilla Firefox and my 20+ add-ons."

Plugin Support

First, the bad news: Beyond Flash and Silverlight, there are no plugins for Chrome. If a particular user is reliant on Firefox's plugins, he or she will likely be sticking with Firefox. If the lack of plugins is no big deal, Chrome might be a great replacement. The good news: Google is supposedly planning on releasing an API to allow developers to make plugins for Chrome.

Silverlight Support

As far as site compatibility with regard to Silverlight, there is little, if any support. It was an extremely disappointing experience. After navigating to a few Silverlight pages, the pages constantly failed to load, and a few times the browser crashed. Silverlight is rarely seen on the Internet, but it would be nice to know that the technology is able to function on Chrome. Surely this will be fixed in a future release.

Flash Support

As for Flash, it was really a mixed experience. The most memorable issues were with Stickam and Hulu. Considering that Chrome uses Flash 9, it was somewhat confusing as to why those sites were not working properly. We discussed the problems with Hulu previously, but Stickam doesn't crash the browser, it just fails to display the Flash content correctly. Many other sites with Flash content worked without a hitch. Perhaps the sites themselves are the culprits, but there is a great level of uncertainty. And if you didn't already know, Mac and Linux boxes are not yet supported. Mac support is expected soon though -- Google is likely using Windows as a test bed. There is some drama brewing here though, but more on that later. Verdict: Overall, things are good, but Chrome has some issues.

Google Chrome Shines Bright

Google Chrome is a very interesting project. It is made more interesting with the fact that it is a good product. It should inspire more competition and that is always a good thing. As has been Chrome's story thus far, drama is on the horizon. Google and Apple have a close but confusing relationship -- Google's CEO Eric Schmidt is also on Apple's board of directors. Apple certainly doesn't want Chrome to steal Safari's thunder -- even though both browsers are built from the same underlying technology -- but maybe this is also good for Safari as Apple might be inclined to step up their efforts with their browser. Overall, Chrome is a success on many levels, and it makes great strides in the performance department. We expect to see and hear more about how this browser performs over the next few months and will do our best to keep you updated.