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I know I’ve missed the Chrome-rambling bandwagon by several months. Everything that can be said about Google Chrome has probably already been said, and probably a thousand times over. Luckily (or unluckily, as it may be) for you, I have not read any of those thousands of articles (except the ones about the original TOS; I did read those) and will approach my whining completely unaffected by such comments.

I’ve been using Google Chrome for the past few weeks, after several years of being a devoted Firefox user. I do like Firefox, but there comes a point at which even my lazy self won’t tolerate having all my preferences wiped at random when my laptop crashes. It crashes every day! My preferences didn’t get wiped every day, but even if they were only wiped 5% of the time, that’s once every three weeks. It simply wouldn’t do.

In the hope that Google Chrome would more reliably store my settings, I decided to try it out. I haven’t decided whether or not it’s an acceptable replacement for Firefox (I haven’t even set it as my default browser), but in certain regards it’s much better. It has not once deleted all my preferences, for instance. Unfortunately, there are also ways in which it really does not match up…

The first problem I had with Chrome was with its tabs. If I click a tab and move my cursor too fast, that tab becomes a new window. Worse, it is really hard to put the tab back where it belongs. It becomes a game: can you find the magical pixel over which you must drag your new window to make it go back? If not, you lose! (It’s kind of a self-explanatory game.) Seriously though, this makes any task that involves frequently switching between tabs (e.g. reading the news) intimidating. I don’t want to play that game!

The second problem I have with Chrome is that (my installation of) Chrome is really lazy about loading pages. It’s like it goes, “Man, this page takes more than a second to load? I’m out!” And then it throws up some error page like, “Are you sure this page even exists? I don’t think it exists. How about you find something else to read?”

Blocking ads in Chrome isn’t very easy, certainly not like Firefox where all you have to do is download one extension. Blocking ads in Chrome is hard work. You have to download some extra program called Privoxy which allows you to create something like a firewall between you and the world. And rather than blocking politically sensitive information, you can block ads! (Well, don’t get me wrong, you can block politically sensitive information too. However, seeing as it’s pretty much pointless to block such information from YOURSELF, a better use of this program is to block ads.)

Unfortunately, I’m unconvinced of this way’s efficacy. Sure, it blocks ads. However, it’s not very straightforward to set up. The first time I tried it, I managed to block the entire Internet from myself. (Evidently I fixed it.) The second time I tried it, everything loaded really slowly. Since my Chrome is hardly “the little browser that could”, I ended up with a lot of half-loaded, imageless pages. It then suddenly sped up. I guess right at this minute, this solution is working. These difficulties don’t make me feel particularly secure, though.

Why do I stick with Chrome then, despite all these annoyances? Well, I’m not totally sure I’m going to, but here’s why I have so far:

  1. It hasn’t once deleted my settings!
  2. The browser’s design is very minimalistic, and I like it.
  3. I like the way each tab is split into a separate process. In Firefox, one tab would hang and the entire browser would become unusable. In Chrome, one tab hangs and I can kill it — and even if I kill it, I can reload it to retry the exact same page.
  4. Firefox would also have issues where I’d close it, but get told that it was still running when I tried to reopen it the following day. Then I have to kill the process from the task manager, which is an unnecessary chore I shouldn’t have to do. Chrome doesn’t do this.

So I’m still a little undecided, but I’m sticking with Chrome for now. I mean, I never agreed to that old TOS which would have handed Google permission to use anything I typed in Chrome in any way it saw fit (or whatever that crazy thing said), so there’s no reason not to, right?

For everyone wandering past and contemplating commenting (ha, or not), here’s a question for you. Which browser do you use, and why?

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4 Comments

  1. This is an interesting post. I love Firefox and I’ve used it from the beginning before it really had spread very far. My husband uses Google Chrome now but I haven’t made the switch yet. I keep meaning to try it out but haven’t had the time. I think that I will like it but I am pretty attached to Firefox too.

  2. I use Firefox for home, Explorer at work (because, for some reason, our IT person can’t get Ff to work at work and allo me to use it at home. Strange, because I can use IE in both places…), and Chrome whenever Gmail gives me a strange “redirecting loop exceeded” message in Ff and won’t let me access my mail.

    I have exactly those Ff problems you mentioned – the “but I’m still RUNNING, you CAN’T open me!” is particularly annoying – so I don’t know why I persist with it. Oh, yes I do: skins!

  3. Interesting read. I personally use Flock, the “social” browser. I am a full time web content developer so it helps me manage my writing and my social media just right.
    I also use FireFox (even though Flock is based on FireFox) and Safari because they are required for the back end of one of my client’s websites…
    I prefer Flock because it is social. I love Opera the most and Chrome next. With both of them my only problem was that they weren’t copacetic with websites I have to visit regularly.
    I would recommend Flock. Anyhow, good luck with your web browser conundrum. (Can you tell that I had my own?)

    • I’ve used Flock (for a few weeks) before, but the social networking aspect didn’t get much use from me, so I stopped. I use a few of the sites it integrates with, but I usually preferred the site itself to Flock’s integrating tool. For instance, the blog editor seemed pretty limited compared to the actual entry-writing interfaces on WordPress and LiveJournal. The Facebook interface didn’t include chat, so it was only open if I didn’t want to chat — otherwise I left a tab open on Facebook. That kind of thing. I can definitely see why other people would find it useful — if I had memberships with tons of these sites and couldn’t open all of them, I’d probably find it useful — but it just wasn’t for me.

      I’ve also tried lots of different browsers — I have five installed on this laptop (Firefox, Flock, Chrome, Safari and IE7) and had two others on my old laptop (Opera and Songbird). I haven’t really tried Safari or IE7, but I’ve used the others. I keep returning to Firefox because it has extensions I use all the time (and they often don’t work on Firefox’s derivatives), but so far I haven’t missed them while I’ve been using Chrome. We’ll see whether I stick with it, though. It wouldn’t surprise me if I don’t.


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