Google Chrome works for SharePoint users, less so for administrators

Today I downloaded and installed the just-released Google Chrome browser, ran it through some preliminary tests with SharePoint 2007 and so far, acceptable but missing a few key things. Chrome supports NTLM authentication, uploads (though not multiple uploads), renders all the usual menus correctly, and generally does a good job of rendering SharePoint pages. And it's screaming fast.

On the downside, when you click a file you're asked for a Save location rather than opening it with the associated application. So if you're in a Doc Lib and click a document, you're asked for a location to save it. If you open the ECB menu and click "Edit in Microsoft Word" you get the message that "'Edit Document' requires a Windows SharePoint Services-compatible application and Microsot Internet Explorer 6.0 or greater." And the back button sometimes asks you to reload / re-post, even if there wasn't a user-driven POST and you'd expect it to work, like like opening an image in a library and then hitting Alt-left. Maybe I'm just used to this behaviour in other browsers.

Administrators will especially want to hang on to MSIE or Firefox for a while. Web Parts don't drag and drop while a page is in Edit mode, and even the Minimize/Close/Delete/Modify This Web part menu oddly shows as a right-hand column rather than inline with each web part itself, perhaps this is default behaviour for unrecognized browsers. Because SharePoint's UI was designed to provide all it's functionality to unknown or unsupported browsers (e.g. Opera), you can still assemble and rearrange pages, but niceties like drag and drop don't work here yet.

So for WCM sites, Chrome will work fine. For Collaboration sites, hold off until Chrome supports opening files with their associated applications. For administration, you may want to hang onto MSIE or Firefox for a while.

And if only Chrome would render the rich text box controls used in my blogging engine, I could have used it to write this post. . .

My general (non-SharePoint reaction to Chrome -- It's fast and clean. I wouldn't be surprised if they heard from Hasbro about possible trademark infringement against Simon for that logo. There are a few odd things in like missing borders on text boxes. It supports NTLM, that's a plus. Silverlight 2 doesn't support it yet so no video. YouTube is fine though, I suppose you'd expect them to get the most popular sites right.

It saves paswords but there doesn't seem to be a master key file that I have any control over (Firefox does), so no idea whether it's actually encrypting my secrets on disk.

Conclusion: not bad for an initial beta, but when you write anything from the ground up in a mature industry you can expect several releases to get the important parts right.

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