Google Chrome

This week I made the switch from Firefox to Google Chrome. The latest stable release of Chrome supports “extensions” so all those pesky annoyances that kept me away from Chrome in the past can be fixed. My only complaint with Firefox is that I have to restart it a couple of times a day because the memory usage goes through the roof.

After a week of usage, I find that Chrome memory usage continually grows just like Firefox. Chrome seems to open web pages more quickly, but I haven’t actually measured (and I wouldn’t know how). I found one website where the navigation didn’t work with Chrome. I’m not sure what they’re using that’s causing the problem. And I can’t send you there unless you happen to have an HSA account at Mellon Bank.

The two extensions that sealed the deal for me are Type Ahead Find and Reader Background View. Type Ahead Find mostly works like Firefox’s “Search for text when I start typing” feature under Tools – Options – Advanced – General. Without this feature, I would have to quite using the Internet or write my own browser.

One nice thing (for me) about Firefox is about:config where I can fiddle with a lot of settings. For instance, I want links that create diverted tabs to open the background. Chrome doesn’t do that. The only place it really bothers me is in Google Reader. When I’m on a post and press V, I want that diverted tab to open in the background so I can read it later. The Reader Background View extension provides a Shift+V option that does that. It takes some getting used to, but I almost remember to use Shift+V every time now. Almost.

There are a few other annoyances. When I download something, a download bar appears across the bottom of the browser and the only way to dismiss it is to click a button. It should go away automatically after a time or at least give me a keyboard shortcut to dismiss it. The only Delicious extension I could find that had a keyboard shortcut uses Alt+D. I’ve been using Alt+D to go to the address bar since the Second World War II. I’m training myself to use Control+L, but after five days I’m only remembering it about 5% of the time. Yep, 1 time in 20 is not good.

I’m going to give Chrome another week to grow on me, then switch back to Firefox if I’m not sold. I think Chrome will be a fine browser for the vast majority of people. But I’m definitely one of those people who likes to tweak the seemingly mundane settings and Firefox provides that. Is anyone else using Chrome?

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22 thoughts on “Google Chrome

  1. I am 100% Chrome. For my personal browsing I switched from the beginning. Firefox was too slow for me. I don’t use a lot of extensions, and bookmarklets let me do everything I needed to do in Chrome. With the most recent release, I’m now able to move off of IE at work by using the IEtab extension. It’s amazing how many accounting products that are web based are tied to Internet Explorer.

    Also, because of extensions I can now replace my bookmarklets with the relevant extensions so I no longer need to see the bookmark toolbar. The other thing that is great with Chrome is that GreaseMonkey scripts are supported naturally and install in Chrome like any other extension.

    Welcome to Chrome!

  2. Love the site. Just happened upon it this morning. One thing caught my eye: “the Second World War II”!! Wow! there was a second World War II?! Why didn’t they call it World War III or at least World War 2.1?World War II, Jr.? Call marketing!

  3. I don’t notice much difference between the two for speed. I do believe the claims that the Chrome Javascript engine is faster, but I guess I don’t spend much time in JS-heavy places. Google Docs would be an obvious example, but I’m an Office-using “dinosaur” ;-) I do notice that IE7 (standard at work, so I have to check things work there) and IE8 are distinctly slower, so I use them hardly at all.

    Although it appears that most of what I have running in FireFox can now be found on Chrome, I just can’t be bothered to switch unless I see a compelling benefit to doing so. I’m pretty cheap, so it doesn’t have to be that compelling, but right now, I can’t see that.

    Google make plenty of things I like a lot: I have an Android phone and seem to spend half my life in Reader, for example. Oh, and their search engine gets a look in, too. I like Chrome, I just don’t need it. Yet.

  4. I used to use Chrome, but am one of a very small number of users that has page loading problems – DNS related – I do get them with FF, but maybe Chrome is that much faster that they are more prevalent. Anyhoo, made it unusable for me.

  5. I have been on Chrome pretty much since the beginning. I actually tried it for a week or so, and switched back to FF – I think I was expecting too much of Chrome, with all the buzz around it, and wasn’t impressed enough. But somehow FF wasn’t quite the same for me afterwards, Chrome stabilized – and I made a permanent switch. At that point, I don’t even have Firefox installed; I still have IE, because in the past some sites seemed to render bizarrely in Chrome (surprise surprise, I had issues with the MSDN documentation pages…) and this gives me a fall-back option.

  6. I test my site in Chrome for the ~5% of visitors who use it. But I’m not comfortable enough with it to use it for anything else.

  7. Chrome is my default, and has been for a few months, after 1/2 the things I tried to do in facebook would not work in FF anymore. (Have to keep up with what my kids are doing somehow.) It could have been a FF extension causing an issue, but it seemed like things broke 3-4x a week and then would sometimes start working and sometimes not. But it always worked in Chrome.

    What I hate about Chrome are the ads. I got used to NOT seeing flashing pieces of crap all over the place. I also believed that popup ads were dead, but found that it’s not the case at all. I tried to load one of the things that blocks ads for Chrome but could not make it work. Adblock for FF is pretty thorough, and I like the NoScript add-on.

    As far as speed, it may be the extensions, but I can open my iGoogle home page from scratch in chrome in a count of 2, where FF loads it in a count of 5 or more. And my favorite Google maps mashup, walkjogrun.net, has not ever worked for me in FF, and barely works in IE, while it never fails in chrome. It has been around since before chrome existed, so it must have worked at some point. Makes you wonder about how google may have begun manipulating things once the launched their own browser, but that’s a different discussion.

  8. I tried Chrome for a short while and then went back to FireFox 3.5.7 (3.6 seems to need more work).
    The custom font sizes in Chrome would not stick.
    Also, Zone Alarm was telling me several times a day that Chrome was trying to access the internet. Auto updates were turned off. I was not comfortable with that.

  9. I used to be an IE6 user, way back then. I WindowUpdated every time. I did everything right. Then, one day, while browsing, icons started appearing in my system tray, popping up windows, blinking… mocking me.

    From that point, it was no longer my computer, so I pulled the power plug, formatted, and started again with Firefox.

    A week later, I was at TechEd and I got talking about it with someone in Microsoft’s IE development team. He was all apologies, but really energised and very excited about IE7. He described the new features and IE’s security advantages over Firefox (Protected Mode). I really like how upbeat he was, and it was like their product had new life. He nearly convinced me to give it another shot, but if you’ve ever played ‘smell my cheese’ you don’t play it again, so I stuck with Firefox.

    Firefox has been good to me. No breaches, quick emergency patches, relatively quick.
    Not to say I haven’t noticed Chrome and wondered what if…

  10. I’ve been using Chrome almost exclusively for several months now on all my home PCs, ever since the Linux beta was released. I sometimes miss a couple of the extensions I used regularly in Firefox, but Chrome is definitely faster at startup and loading pages and less of a memory hog. The Chrome Task Manager is in my opinion a brilliant idea, as it provides per-process visibility of memory and CPU usage.

    I won’t be going back to FF anytime soon…

  11. I started using Chrome with the first release and it immediately displaced Firefox as my main browser.

    Firefox annoys with the gradual memory bloat & slowdown that it seems unable to shake, the slowness of its initial loading, the fact it insists on restarting to update itself almost every session and the fact that it’s never been as stable as it should really be on any of my PCs.

    Chrome, on the other hand, manages its memory much better (Shockwave is almost always to blame if its memory footprint is out of control – easily rectified using the task manager, and hardly Google’s fault), starts with even 10+ tabs in a second or two, updates in the background and, since about v2.x, seems to be at least as stable as any other browser. On my old T41 laptop it allowed me to browse effectively where FF just ground to a halt with any more than about 4 tabs open.

    Another nice thing about Chrome is that, out of the box, you get the same elegant UI and ‘it just works’ setup which means that across multiple machines (I regularly use five different PCs) I don’t have to tweak and install add-ins to get it working in a pleasant fashion – they all work just the same.

    All the FF plugins I thought I couldn’t live without (ad/script blocks, FireFTP etc.) turned out not to be as essential as I once thought, although now with Chrome v4.x add-ins are finally supported out of beta and seem to be maturing very quickly so I might give them a whirl.

    I still have FF installed, but only really use it to login to the same sites with different logins (e.g. business Ebay account in FF, personal Ebay account in Chrome). I can’t remember the last time a site didn’t render properly in Chrome.

  12. Hey Chip – noticed your comment about WalkJogRun.net. I’ve tested in IE, FF, Safari and Chrome consistently and not seen issues – please give them a test again and let me know what isn’t working. Hate to think 98% of the browsers out there can’t use parts of the site.

  13. I’ve been on FF since I first heard of it – probably version 1.x. I was disappointed with the upgrade to version 3.0 and tried other browsers – Chrome, Opera, and even the current IE. I wasn’t impressed enough with any of them to move off FF, even with my dissatisfaction with FF. Maybe it’s time for another look at Chrome

  14. Chrome may be getting add-ons, but it’ll take time to catch up with FF. I tried Chrome last weekend. It may be a bit quicker, but it’s not yet for me. Uninstalled it Tuesday.

  15. I’ve used Chrome since shortly after it came out. I find I.E. slow, now I’m reaching 40 every second is precious! I read Googles online cartoon style pamphlet about how and why Chrome came into being, interesting to read about the ‘under-the-hood’ stuff like the auto-testing against their vast archive of web-pages.

    I understand there will be a Google O.S. coming out (also called Chrome ??). And I’m intrigued by Google aiming to be an Apple-like competitor to Microsoft on that level.

    I’m not a fan of cloud computing but maybe a freeware O.S. as stable and well supported as XP could shake things up a little…

  16. Its all about dual-wielding browsers:

    Chrome for personal browsing – really fast, looks great and conserves the most page real estate (until the download bar pops up!)

    Firefox for work – advanced config settings with loads of scripts and plugins

    I love them both for their individual strengths but neither are that great for the alternative task.

  17. I’ve been using Chrome for a few months and find it really quick. I tried Firefox but didn’t consider it that much quicker than IE, and didn’t really use extensions much to find the benefit.

    On the subject of opening tabs in the background, I think if you click the scroll-wheel on a link it opens but leaves the focus on the current page.

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