Google Chrome vs. IE10 on Windows 8 Metro

Google just released a special build of Chrome to work with Windows 8. Take a look at what a Metro-style app can do when not constrained by Metro conventions

Want to see what a Windows 8 Metro-style app can do when it isn't constrained by the usual Metro conventions? The latest developer build of Google's Chrome browser brings a fascinating view of what the future could hold if app developers aren't chained to the swipe-here-swipe-there confines of "normal" Metro-style apps.

If you're running Windows 8 RP, head over to Preston Gralla's blog for directions on how to download and install the Dev Channel version of Chrome and set it up as the default browser (the only way to enable Chrome on the Metro side of Windows 8).

Before you start on these little guided tours, get rid of your preconceived notions about what a Windows 8 Metro app "should" do. Microsoft made the mold. Google can break out of it. Cleanse your mind of the lecture about how Metro "always" does this or that. Microsoft's making up the rules as it goes along anyway, lest you've forgotten the last-minute changes in Aero or the ribbon-shown-as-default flap in Internet Explorer.

Tour No. 1: Add a new tab

In Metro IE10:

Step 1: Swipe from the top or bottom, or right-click on the screen to bring up the app bar.

Step 2: On the upper right, click or tap the plus icon.

Step 3: Choose from frequently used or pinned tabs, or type in an URL.

In Metro Chrome:

Step 1: Click or tap on the right-most mini-tab.

You're done. Metro Chrome works exactly the same way that every modern Web browser works.

Tour No. 2: Add lots of new tabs

In Metro IE10:

Step 1: Repeat Steps 1 through 3 above to add 10 more new tabs

Step 2: Swipe from the top or bottom, or right-click on the screen and you can see your tabs. What? One of them disappeared?

That's because Metro IE10 doesn't take more than 10 tabs. I have no idea how it decides which tabs to throw away -- it doesn't toss the first one or the last one, generally, but if you add an 11th tab, one of the old ones goes into the bit bucket.

In Metro Chrome:

Step 1: Follow Step 1 above and add tabs till the cows come home

If you add more than the screen can hold, the tabs turn into little slivers on the left. If you frequently hit this problem, or you want to see thumbnails of all open tabs (you can see up to 10 tabs with a Metro IE10 swipe),  download and install TooManyTabs. That's really hard to do: Click or tap the equivalency symbol icon in the upper right, choose "Tools, Extensions." At the bottom, click or tap "Get More Extensions," search for TooManyTabs, and follow the instructions. Yes, the TooManyTabs extension works fine in Metro Chrome -- desktop Chrome, too.

Tour No. 3: View Flash animations

In Metro IE10:

Step 1: Go to a website with an embedded Flash animation. (You can use my IE10 test site, if you like.)

Step 2: If the animation works, the site is on Microsoft's whitelist. (My test site hasn't been whitelisted, so Flash won't work.)

If the Flash animation doesn't work, you may see a notice that you aren't running the correct version of Flash. You may not even know that there's something missing on the page -- Metro IE doesn't tell you. If you somehow get a notion that you're missing the Flash, you can flip over to the desktop version of IE10:

Step 3: Swipe from the top or bottom, or right-click on the screen.

Step 4: At the bottom of the screen, click or tap the wrench icon and choose "View" on the desktop.

In Metro Chrome:

Step 1: Go to a website with an embedded Flash animation.

You're done.

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