Google Chrome vs The World

I was a loyal Firefox user for a number of years, after trying all the alternatives, including Safari. I liked the customisability of FF through extensions, security and portability of it. For a large amount of time, the immaturity of Chrome and the insecurity of IE meant that Firefox was the standard. A number of vital extensions such as Adblock for cleaning pages up, as well as Noscript for selectively preventing Javascript execution for added security made it the complete package, until it began to bog down and pause inexplicably and use huge amounts of memory. That’s when I made the jump to something even better.

What I do like about Chrome:

  • The speed. Tabs load quickly, pages load rapidly, and there’s minimal delay when opening a large amount of tabs from bookmark folders. Javascript heavy sites such as Google services are breezed through with the powerful “V8” Javascript engine. DNS prefetching cuts down loading time some more (type about:dns in the address bar to find out exactly how much by). Don’t understate the importance of faster page loading, as nobody wants to wait any longer than they have to for web pages to load.
  • The efficiency of space. Without unnecessary toolbars and status bars clogging up the screen, the usage of valuable screen space is excellent. Even the window title, which for most programs is largely wasted space, has been converted to the tab bar. 
  • The extension gallery is growing rapidly, now covering a large number of features that I used to use in Firefox. In addition, Greasemonkey site-specific scripts, which are applicable to a large range of browsers, can be implemented (see here).
  • Built in bookmark and preference syncing with your Google account. Move to another computer and your bookmarks and prefs follow you.

What I don’t like about Chrome:

  • New pages loading sometimes cause a substantial pause in page loading. I’ve narrowed it down to sites which implement flash, there is a pause which causes unresponsiveness in the browser for around 3-4 seconds. I believe this is a flaw with Flash itself, but it does not occur in Firefox. 
  • The way that new tabs open mean that tab opening behaviour which we take for granted in Firefox (such as hitting v to open story in a new background tab in Firefox), doesn’t work in Chrome. 
  • Bookmark manager doesn’t pop out in a sidebar. Admittedly, with the smart address bar in both browsers, a bookmark manager isn’t really required these days, but an integrated modular browser is preferred.

I still have Firefox residing on my system, which I use on the odd occasion to fill the gaps where Chrome can’t manage. In any case, chances are if you’re a Firefox user, you probably know your way around an installation file, in which case check out Google Chrome.

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