Well, Google has launched the next broadside in the battle between Redmond and the Googleplex – their own ‘Chrome‘ Browser. Creating a browser makes a lot of sense for Google, really – IE7 had ‘Windows Live’ as the default search provider for the Search box, so Microsoft were clearly starting to try and leverage their ownership of the desktop, and the browser on it (which, of course, is leveraging their ownership of the operating system – though having a web browser integral to the OS seems bloody stupid to me!) And yes, you can add Google as a provider, and set it as the default (I always do) – but it’s effort, and a bit scary for my granny, you know?
Anyway, I found myself wondering – how does SharePoint work with Chrome? We know Chrome is based on Firefox and Safari and other bits – but how well would it perform. The short answer – not bad…
It’s worth noting, this testing was done with the beta that was released today. I simply installed it (very easy) and tried using SharePoint, looking at common tasks, and awkward areas that I didn’t think would work very well. So, I logged in to my Sandbox system (Note, these images are compressed – Chrome doesn’t have the same dithering):
Okay, nice – though I never could get rid of the scrollbars. I’m figuring that might just be a feature of it being a beta – or maybe it’s to do with SharePoint’s styles…
Next, I had a look at the Calendar page, ‘cos it’s fairly complex:
Worked – but again, a scroll bar (at the bottom of the calendar) that won’t go away – seems to be ‘cos of styles again.
What about editing documents, and document libraries? Well, the menus and sorting work:
Cool. Editing in word? Well, the item menu shows okay, but it doesn’t work – just like Firefox.
Hmm. So what if I just click on the item? Well, it downloads, which is a bit weird in how it’s shown – and then you have to click to open the document:
But where is the document downloaded to? Well, to My DocumentsDownloads – so upload is a manual thing from here (which isn’t surprising).
Navigation? Well, the menus seem to work, and so does the treeview (well, as well as that damn treeview works, anyway):
What else? Well, I figured Excel services might be a challenge -and they were. A few quirks here – the data displayed okay, but the menus opened behind the Excel charts/tables:
And yet, sometimes the menus did work:
Weird. Other notes? Well, the top right page menus didn’t look right – I kept getting some wrapping. This may be due to the sidebar problem:
And the final thing I noticed was that Chrome highlights links, sometimes. You can tab or shift-tab through the links – and the highlighting is pretty nice. Unfortunately, the colour could be a little confusing with the Default theme…
So, broadly, Chrome worked. It’ll be one of the ‘reduced functionality’ browsers, naturally, but that’s okay. I’ll wait for the final release with curiousity. While I like the sound of how Chrome manages it’s processes and memory, from a user standpoint, I didn’t feel I saw any huge benefits of it as a browser. It’s a very simple UI – but I’ve not yet really seen features that set it apart. The ‘incognito window’ (or ‘Porn mode’) is neat, but I’m a bit puzzled by the ‘history’ and ‘bookmarks’. I’m not sure, but these might be being stored on Google’s servers? I’m not sure I like that idea…