Firefox has got to go. It was terrific in its day, but has now succumbed to two horrid Microsoftisms:
- Software that grows slow and fragile with age, and
- Reboots are necessary to correct #1.
My own installation had become ramshackle, forgetting toolbar customizations haphazardly, and completely spazzing-out on the Google Reader site.
So I chucked it and hopped aboard Google Chrome, the latest browser bandwagon.
Soon will come a day when your choice of web browser is as meaningful to you as your favourite brand of celery. We're almost there: when asked which browser they use, my students will respond "MSN," or simply, "the internet." But I'm not yet prepared to stipulate browser fungibility.
What Firefox had going for it was extensions: little add-on customizations to, let's say, hide advertisements, report the weather, signal incoming e-mail, and generally add a dash of NASCAR design sensibility to your humdrum windowed existence.
Chrome followed with its own extensions: smaller, slightly less capable, but
<megaphone> installable without restarting the program
Dear reader, I'll spare you the full accounting, but in the above image, Chrome is telling me that I have three newly-arrived e-mails, one hour until my next meeting, forty-one irrelevant things to read, no ads disturbing my view, and a partly cloudy, -7°C day outside.
Yet with all of these add-ons, uh, added-on, Chrome doesn't seem to succumb to the lethargy of a similarly blinged-out Firefox. Overall, Chrome appears to be one of the snappiest browsers available:
As you might expect, Chrome has googly-search-goodness baked into the address bar, with a swifter touch than Firefox's awesome bar.
Of course, Chrome is not all smiles und sunshine. In particular, the tab placement and operation takes some getting used to. Closing the last tab, for instance, shuts down the entire browser. The optional decorative themes also seemed designed to camouflage the tab and window buttons.
Chrome has crashed on me a couple of times; something Firefox hasn't done in a while. It does feature some form of session recall, however, as the same tabs reload the next time you launch the program.
Finally, it is upsetting to trust something so fundamental as browsing to a large multinational. At least Firefox was produced by (Google-sponsored) volunteers. But there's always "who couldn't love cuddly Norwegians?" Opera for the unassuaged (or, cuddly-Cupertinian-produced Safari, for that matter).
Once I suppress my inner socialist, I can bring myself to really enjoy surfing with Chrome. It's early days yet, but I'm impressed with the browser's demeanor. True, while that is an anthropomorphic opinion of a web browser, it's not as though I'm claiming that Internet Explorer is mean to me.
- Geof Harries on 20100403.Saturday:
Have you tried Chromium? It's the same codebase, style and behavour of Chrome, without the Googleness attached. I've been using Chromium for about a month and it's pretty darned awesome.
- Dave on 20100403.Saturday:
Geof, I started on Chromium since, at the time, that was the only option for Linux. I didn't realize it was less-googly in nature, but I suppose since it's an open source project, it could be modified to be whatever. I moved to Chrome once it was stable on Linux.