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

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Tour No. 4: View page full-screen

In Metro IE10:

Don't need to do anything. Metro IE10 is full-screen all the time, except when the navigation bar or app bar is showing.

In Metro Chrome:

Step 1: Swipe from the top.

You're done. To go back to the "chromed" version, swipe from the top again.

If you don't have a touch-sensitive computer:

Step 1: Press F11.

You're done. Press F11 again to go back.

Tour No. 5: Bring up bookmarked sites

In Metro IE10:

Oops. There are no favorites or bookmarks. You can pin a site to the Metro Start screen, but that's about it. Snap!

In Metro Chrome:

Step 1: On the Bookmark toolbar, click or tap the site you'd like.

Bookmarks in Metro Chrome behave precisely the same way as bookmarks in every other version of Chrome.

Tour No. 6: Change your default search engine

In Metro IE10:

Give up. You can't. The only way to change the default search engine in Metro IE10 is to flip over to the desktop and then:

Step 1: Click or tap on the gear "Options" icon.
Step 2: Choose "Manage Add-ons." On the left choose "Search Providers."
Step 3: Way down at the bottom of the screen, in tiny letters, click or tap on the line that says "Find More Search Providers." That takes you to the Internet Explorer Gallery website. When I tried, there were 123 search engines on offer.
Step 4: Find the search engine you want. Good luck -- they aren't alphabetized. When I checked, Google was nestled below Mountain Rose Herbs Search and Kenmonjo Search, just before AOL Search and Bubiloop. When you find the search engine you want, click or tap on it.
Step 5: Once you've selected the search engine, click or tap on the button that says "Add to Internet Explorer." When IE asks for verification, be sure to check the box that says "Make this my Default Search Provider" then click or tap "Add." The new search engine becomes the default in both desktop IE10 and Metro IE10.

That's all it takes to switch from Bing search to Google search in Metro IE10.

In Metro Chrome:

Step 1: Click or tap on the equivalency sign icon in the upper right and choose "Settings."
Step 2: Under Search, click the down arrow next to Google and choose Yahoo or Bing.

You're done. If you really want to use Mountain Rose Herbs Search (which may well be a fine search engine!) click or tap on the button that says "Manage Search Engines," and knock yourself out. The new search engine takes effect in both Metro Chrome and in desktop Chrome.

I won't lecture you about which is better. Just go through those six tours and you tell me.

Are there any problems? Sure. This is version 1.0. Metro Chrome freezes and chokes on a lot of websites. Some extensions (painfully including LastPass) don't work on the Metro side. The Search charm doesn't work -- but I don't use the Search charm in Metro IE10, either; I just type in the address bar, and that works in both Metro IE10 and Metro Chrome. Signing in to the desktop version of Chrome doesn't sign you in to the Metro version, so you have to log in with a Google account twice. Pin to Start doesn't work. There's still much work to be done.

I've seen much gnashing of teeth about the way Chrome doesn't implement "true" Metro standards. Bully, I say, bully and hear hear. A right-click in Metro Chrome brings up a context menu, not some weird thumbnail display of up to 10 active tabs. I can click or tap and hold on the "back" arrow and see all of my previous sites. I have full access to all of Chrome's settings from the Metro side of the force, instead of IE's dumbed-down selection from the Settings charm.

On the other hand, the stuff that Metro does well -- quick posting or mail through the Share charm, for example -- works just fine in Metro Chrome. My guess is that Metro Chrome gets snuffed out soon after you flip to a different Metro program; when it comes back, Metro Chrome says it "didn't shut down correctly" and offers to restore your tabs. That's cool -- and I bet it saves on battery life, too. I love to see the add-ons survive in Metro Chrome -- perhaps Google's using the trick I described in March to pass the add-ons between Metro and desktop?

All in all, Metro Chrome makes me very, very hopeful that some day I may actually want to use Windows 8 Metro. Imagine.

This story, "Google Chrome vs. IE10 on Windows 8 Metro," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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