Their url bar, which they refer to as the “omnibox," has a few of the favorite features from some of their competitors carried over. It allows for inline completion of web pages you have visited before or suggests search terms in much the same way Google’s search engine does.
Chrome is customizable with many themes as well, and some very good plugins, though Google certainly doesn’t lead the pack in that regard. It’s an entirely open source browser, in keeping with Google’s philosophy that as a company that thrives entirely as the result of the internet as a medium, it’s in their best interest to improve the medium itself by sharing ideas rather than trying to keep them under lock and key. As well, the “Google Gears" team works behind the scenes to create tools for developers in an effort to standardize things and to improve the base functionality of all browsers.
Of course, Chrome does come with some of its own unique features, such as automatically translating foreign web pages to your browser’s default language. In addition, when you open a new tab, rather than a blank page, Chrome presents you with a page showing your most viewed pages and a tab of integrated search bars for the sites you search on the most, as well as your recently bookmarked pages and recently closed tabs. This gives you a nice list of the places you were the most likely to have been going in that new tab anyway.
The biggest differences, however, are that Chrome runs multiple “processes" at once, and it does something that they refer to as “sandboxing" with those processes. Google Chrome's development team determined that running a single process, as all other browsers currently do, meaning that everything you do is forced to run through a single gateway, is bound to cause slower browsing than running multiple processes would. Your computer’s operating system runs a great deal of processes at once for the same reason.
Thus, every tab you open has its own process assigned to it, and when you close that tab, you close down the entire process, which prevents memory fragmentation from occurring. This also allows them to isolate problem tabs, the feature they call “sandboxing," so if their malware or phishing blockers fail, anything that gets through will be contained entirely within that process, and will not be able to touch anything outside of the virtual sandbox’s parameters, meaning it can’t read or write to anything on your computer without user permission. You simply close the tab, and it's gone.
The parameters of individual sandboxes can be altered by the user if you feel a specific site deserves greater permissions. This also means that any pop-ups are blocked and contained exclusively within the tab they originated from, and they remain there unless you decide to take them out and give them their own tab. As well, if a tab crashes, that tab alone crashes, instead of your whole browser, which is something that among the alternatives, only Internet Explorer also offers.
Chrome also allows you to open web apps such as gmail in streamlined windows that have no tabs or url ba for even greater speed, and the main process manager that all the tabs run through comes equipped with a task manager just like your computer, so if you find that you are getting slower speeds than you like, you can identify which process is using too much memory, and close that alone.
Plugins, however, can not be sandboxed, and are allowed greater permissions within the browser than other tabs. There is no way for Google to get around this, so what they’ve done is separated the plugin’s process from the tab’s process, so they exist entirely separately and if the plugin attempts to cause problems, it is at least as isolated as possible. Still, you should always be careful when downloading things, especially from third parties, as it is the quickest and easiest way to sabotage the speed and security of any browser, and ultimately of your entire computer.