Google Chrome

I’ve been starting to use a bunch of new (to me) applications lately and I’m really liking what I see out there these days. I’m going to try to carve out some time to go over most of them at some point. But for the moment, I’ll start with Google Chrome.

Google Chrome of course, is the web browser put out by Google. When it first came out there was no support extensions and as a long time Firefox users, that in itself was a complete no-go for me. Besides, at that point I really didn’t find the idea of yet another browser to be an attractive idea. I was already using Firefox and had it tweaked out to the max and I really couldn’t see myself bothering with anything else, especially if that something else couldn’t be equally modified to suit my needs and preferences. mumble… Adblock… mumble… Flashblock…

Then on Monday I was on a conference call with a Google Engineer or two in someone’s office that I’ve been doing a large Google project for. Afterward the call, they mentioned that they were really digging Chrome and asked me my opinion of it as their “Google Expert” (their words, not mine), and I had to sheepishly admit that ironically enough I hadn’t really delved into it yet.

That prompted me to take another look at it and that’s when I found out that Chrome now supports extensions and that among the ones that are available are the few that I consider must haves. So I finally installed it, added the extensions on and took it for a spin.

Holy bacon double cheesburgers batman!!… Chrome is FAST. Not that I was particularly surprised that it would be faster, Google is a company that knows the web fairly well after all. But the expectations I had on the aging machine I was using was that there would still be at least a little lag in page rendering and not that my browsing would be orders of magnatude faster over and above what I was getting in Firefox.

Besides just the speed, I like how it handles the screen real estate. The tabs and address bar are unobtrusive and unlike Firefox, you don’t lose 1/4 if your screen to program menus and buttons. In fact the tabs actually somewhat crowd, and depending on your settings can even encroach into, the area where programs traditionally waste for a title bar. (Don’t think of the word crowd as being bad here though. I’m not using it in the sense of angry mob, more like lots of people gathered together to see a really cool band.)

At first glance, this takeover of the titlebar area seems odd, I was certainly put off by it at first. But that’s only because we are conditioned to the traditional GUI model and the more you use it the more sense it makes and the more natural it feels. You are using it to see webpages after all, so having it waste valuable screen space just to remind you what program you are in is a bit silly. Especially considering the major push by manufacturers to sell monitors with diminished vertical resolutions as if they are some new and amazing thing. 1080p HD my arse; a basic monitor should be no less than 1200p these days and at the larger sizes 1400p… but I digress.

I’m not completely throwing in the towel on Firefox just yet. At the moment, I’m merely challenging myself to use Chrome for the next month so I can get used to it. After that I’ll return to Firefox and then I’ll be able to have a sense from using both one after the other, what features I miss in each and which one works best for me. It’s not looking too good for Mozilla right now though, I have to say.

An added bonus is they don’t seem to be treating Linux as a second class citizen. Which is great because I like to do silly things like sort my folders, which apparently is something that Win 7 can’t do because Microsoft removed that option for some strange reason (at least that’s what I hear) and now that Apple is competing to become just a pricier version of the dark side Linux is becoming less of a choice and more of the only reasonable option. But I digress again… perhaps that’s a post for another day.

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~ by ghendar on July 29, 2010.