Update: This article was written in 2008, and so some of the points presented below are no longer valid.
I wrote a post comparing Google Chrome with FireFox right after the release of Chrome. It has become one of the most read post on my blog (mostly because it went viral on StumbleUpon). Based on the comments that I received on that post, and other reading I have done since on the web, I have put together a list of things people dislike about Chrome, and a list of things that are going well for Chrome.
CONS OF CHROME – Let’s look at the bigger list first:
Lack of Add-Ons – this is the single biggest problem with Chrome and why people just look at it, say “Nice!”, and never run it again after that. For example, it doesn’t have a StumbleUpon toolbar, or AdBlock, or S3Fox, or any number of add-ons and extensions that people have come to depend on.
Integration with Windows OS – there are little bitty things that don’t work:
- Speech Recognition on Vista doesn’t work.
- If you try are trying to Tile Multiple Windows (as talked about here), and one of these Windows is Chrome, then it won’t work (at least on XP).
- Some people are noticing continuous heavy hard disk activity when running Chrome on Windows XP 3.
Privacy Concerns – It’s from Google – most users are vary of the Terms of Service which Google has (and for Chrome these have been revised, but are not much better). There is very little trust, when it comes to Google tracking user data, and from Chrome, it has a license to track everywhere you go. The German Government has actually warned the citizens against using Chrome.
Other Annoyances – There are other small problems that keep the hate going:
- Some users reported that animated GIFs are jerky on Chrome.
- Most sites with Flash on them are in deep trouble.
- Zooming is clunky as compared to FireFox.
- Is not supported on all Operating Systems.
- Many popular sites don’t work on it despite the claims made in the Chrome Comics. (e.g. Facebook Dropdown Menus).
- The back browser button doesn’t have a drop down that lets you jump directly to 2-3 pages back. This is not true – as pointed by Christian, you can access this through a Right Click on the back button.
- I hate the fact that Chrome doesn’t remember entries that I have made in form fields (like FireFox does) and I have to enter complete usernames/email IDs, address info, etc. every time and every place.
And to top all of this, almost all the functional features (I mean those that are important to users such as real estate, app shortcuts, etc.) are also available in FireFox through Add-ons.
PROS OF CHROME – Here are some of the good things (I am listing only things which are not available in FireFox one way or another):
Process Isolated Tabs and Add-Ons – this adds stability to the browser in case a particular plugin or a page goes rogue. Also, since each tab is its own process, overall security should be better.
DNS Prefetching – I am not sure if FireFox does this (I think not) or whether there is a plugin which turns this one, but Google Chrome performs prefetching at a number of places making for a faster browsing experience (as people have been pointing out). Here’s a detailed explanation of this feature on the Chromium Blog.
Page Search – The neat thing about Chrome is that it has a little itsy-bitsy things that set it apart from other browsers. One such thing is how it does page search. You can access page search by hitting Ctrl+F, and when type what you are looking for it highlights the word in the page – but that’s not all, other browsers do that as well. Chrome also marks all occurrences on the vertical scroll bar. This allows you to quickly scroll to the occurrence (useful if you are on a long page). Take a look at the screen shot below to see what I am talking about (all those yellow lines on the vertical scroll bar mark the occurrence of the word that I searched for):
THINGS WILL GET BETTER
Of course, Chrome will not always stay this way. It is an Open Source browser and enterprising folks will make it every bit as powerful as FireFox in time. There is already a non-Google version of Chrome (Chromium).
Here are some interesting links on what the early adventurers are doing with Chrome:
- AdBlock for Chrome – this post on LifeHacker talks about how you can block ads on Chrome.
- Chrome for Linux – there is port for Linux using Wine, go here.
- Chrome for Mac – Chromium is the open source (non-Google) version of Chrome, and yes, there is a port for Mac as well, go here.
- Greasemonkey for Chrome – its actually called GreaseMetal, but check it out.
- Changing the User Agent of the Browser – if you can’t wait for an official way to do it, here’s a neat hack.
- Users are reconsidering their original negative opinions already – take a look at this tweet.
- The Chrome Song – yes, someone put together a song about the browser.
- Backup your Google Chrome Profile – someone wrote a tool for this already and you can download it from here.
There is so much more going on about Chrome, and I will keep updating this post as I find it.
(Maybe, this will become viral as well if people are kind enough to stumble it up… hint.. hint… )
- Here’s a response to the cool UI of Chrome – an Add-on for FireFox called FoxTab.
Google is not spending a lot to advertise Chrome, but still there are attempts by them on getting the mind share out. Here are some examples:
Google is showing ads whenever someone searches for a browser. This is what you see when you go to Orkut using any other browser (this is seen on the main home page):
This is what you see, when you visit Orkut using Chrome:
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