CoolNovo extends Chrome with IE Mode, mouse gestures and more

January 2, 2012 – 11:01 by in Tips Print Share No Comment

Chrome is an excellent browser, one of the best around, with plenty of essential functions and features.

Could it be better, though? Maple Studio say yes, offering their own version, CoolNovo (the browser formerly known as ChromePlus) as evidence. It’s based on the same source code, so you’ll feel at home right away and can use all your favourite Chrome extensions, but the company has then taken things further by adding new features of its own.

CoolNovo can render awkward web pages as though it were Internet Explorer, as well as Chrome, for instance. So if you’ve come across an annoying page that really needs IE, just click the mode button in the address bar and all should be well.

Comprehensive mouse gesture support allows you to control just about every aspect of browsing – scrolling through pages, moving around tabs, browsing your web history and more, 18 functions in total – with a wave of the mouse.

It's Chome, with lots of extras (not all of them so great)

A Privacy Plus section provides some useful privacy tools. In particular, you can choose to delete your history, cookies, cache, download history, passwords or form data when CoolNovo is closed.

If you’d rather others didn’t know you were using a browser at all, then you might appreciate CoolNovo’s Boss Key; press your preferred hotkey and the program will be minimised to the system tray, safely out of sight.

And other additions range from the small and simple (double-click a tab to close it) to the far more involved (extended bookmarking features, extra download tools, Adblock support and more).

CoolNovo has plenty to explore, then. But it also has its share of problems.

The program makes itself the default browser on installation without explicitly telling you, for instance, never a good start. (You can avoid that by clicking Customize and clearing the relevant option, but it shouldn’t be necessary.)

IE Mode worked just fine when we switched an existing tab, but if we manually opened a new IE tab then that refused to display anything at all.

The documentation is minimal, and what you get has some dubious translations, so understanding the new features can take a while.

And there are assorted other issues which make the product look rather less than professional. The developers have just proudly announced that the browser is now called CoolNovo, for instance, but unfortunately they’ve not yet got around to changing the installer, as every reference on your system – the program’s Start menu entry, say – uses the old name, ChromePlus.

If you’ve no particular interest in Chrome, then, CoolNovo probably isn’t going to win you over. And if you haven’t the patience to dig around, trying to figure out how everything works, then this isn’t the browser for you, either.

If you’re a Chrome fan, though, CoolNovo can be fun to explore, at least for a while. Sure, there are problems, but these aren’t critical (they’ll be fixed over time), most of the new features work well, and the program will happily co-exist with an existing Chrome installation. Give it a try, see what you think.

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