Chrome adds polish to text search
I’ve been using Google Chrome as my primary browser for the last month or so. It’s not that I’m a Google fanboi (so far from it, believe me), but IE annoys me just often enough that I keep checking out alternatives. Plus, Chrome has a bunch of nice little improvements to the overall browsing UI.
This one is my favorite (so far): finding text within a page. Since about 1993 (and probably earlier, but that’s when I first started using Windows for realz) finding text in a document hosted by a Windows app has been a pretty standard — and pretty boring — experience: hit CTRL-F, type your string into the edit box, and get auto-navigated to the first instance. Then hit F3 as many times as you like to cycle through other instances. Maybe you have a persistent “Find” dialog that lets you move back and forth, or even make the big leap from “Find” to “Replace.”
Now check out the same task plays out in Chrome (image follows). How much better is that!? (“A freakin’ lot” is the correct answer.) A density map is such a great way to visualize the location of content in a linear datastream that we used a color-coded version of it (a 1D heat map) for the Pluggd A/V player. But what seals the deal here is how the info is overlaid on the existing vertical scroll bar. This is already the primary tool that you’re using to navigate the document; adding visual cues here about where you might want to go just makes perfect sense.
Nicely done, Google. Next up: get Marissa Mayer to stop joking around and design a real 16×16 icon for your brand. And by “real,” I mean “one that doesn’t completely suck.”