Google Chrome – Pros and Cons


Update: This article was written in 2008, and so some of the points presented below are no longer valid.

Chrome vs Firefox 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 CHROMEHere 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.

Faster JavaScript Engine – Chrome uses a custom built JavaScript environment which Google claims to be faster than anything currently in the market (though next version of FireFox is supposedly going to have something much faster).

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… :) )

MISCELLANEOUS UPDATES

  • 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:

If you liked this post, then please Digg It:


35 thoughts on “Google Chrome – Pros and Cons”

  1. i keep learning about more and more advantages and features with Chrome, with privacy, for example; now if only they would take care of it’s cookie management glitches…

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more on both the pros and cons.

    As far as cons go, I am unable to right click on misspelled words and have a correction menu come up. This works fine with the Google Toolbar add-on for Firefox.

    Anyway, I really love how fast Chrome works for all my Google stuff. Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Reader perform swimmingly.

  3. As for the cons – there is a way to go 2-3 sites back. A simple right click on the back-button will give you a dropdown menu.
    Standard and simple – less cluttering of buttons :)

  4. The damn thing refuses to install correctly on my computer. Every time I try to open a web page, it says that due to some application error Chrome cannot open the page. I re-installed it a few times, but the problem persists. So, as of now, it’s Firefox for me.

  5. i found that in chrome, when in your hotmail writing an email, your contacts don’t automatically come up as you type them? you get my drift – so you just press enter. yeah that doesn’t work??? LAME

  6. Just a note, you can also just hold the back button down (just with the left-mouse button) and the ‘history’ pages will pop up, you don’t have to right-click. Since we are talking about small things I thought it should be noted.

    Also the new hotmail update will allow Chrome to read email but not to write email. I think its partially Chrome as far as compatibility, but I think its also Windows refusing to meet part way with compatibility, preventing Chrome from being a part of the internet browser domain, since google is competitive against microsoft in other realms (Google and Microsoft Maps for one example).

    Chrome is not yet popular enough where Microsoft must make Hotmail compatible with Chrome, (like what happened with Firefox) so we won’t see Chrome’s full potential until the Chrome development team has enough feedback from the beta development to make Chrome more compatible, more flexible with add-ons, and more secure. Let’s wait and see. But for now, I think your assessment is pretty accurate.

    This post was submitted using Google Chrome. :D

  7. Google seems to have forgotten its past with Chrome … always provide a BETTER experience. Their goal with Chrome was to make it stripped down and efficient however, leaving out any or all of the plug-ins available with Firefox (DownloadHelper for one) simply keeps me riveted to Firefox. Whatever the spin, Google botched this one.

  8. On Youtube they’re advertising Chrome too. Had to switch my UA to one with Windows as the OS to get the ad to show though.

    :\

  9. im not using google as my homepage anymore, thats for sure. Unnecessary ads + some retarded info recently
    next version of firefox will completely obliterate chrome anyways

  10. It also doesn’t update itself very well, either. I’ve tried repeatedly to update the browser (using Tools > About) and I keep getting the same error mesage: Update server not available (error: 7)

  11. Hey guys give it time but keep the comments going cuz it’s going to look at it to improve. Anyway check it out today that’s 5\18\10 it’s so much more improved than the old one your guys are talking about. In fact I bet it’s going to make it’s debut pretty soon cuz chrome’s up to 1000 extentions/add ons

    You should update this one

  12. Hi

    I’m 61 years old. I’ve been on line about 20 years. I started with Windows, a virus killed my computer. I did Linux for a very long time. When I got into digital photography (less than 3 years ago), I couldn’t use the software or hardware I needed with Linux and was forced to use another operating system. I hate having to use anything offered bhy Microsoft (because of the way they built their business) and because it’s open to attack. But it was either use Windows(XP) or buy a new computer. I was stuck using Windows (damn). For the last few years, I’ve been using Mozila’s Firefox. I like it. For my home page, I have the most simple Google skin. It’s almost all white with a Google Search box in the middle. Simple and clean. Simple to do a search or go to a familiar site by using a bookmark.

    It seems everybody wants to reinvent the wheel. I like consistency. It takes time to learn new systems. I’m busy living my life. I don’t want to spent my time (time after time) learning new systems. I’d like to suggest to the people designing operating systems and web browsers to keep it simple. Spend their time working on how to make it work faster, more stable and without bugs. I have no time to play with “beta” versions of anything. I’ll leave that to the techno-geeks.

    I know this has nothing to do with Chrome vs Firefox but there is a commonality, my desire for “simple”. I was using a Motorola Rav 3 phone. When I was done with a call, I’d simply closed the flip lid and the call ended. Recently I got the new htc G2 (4g network), so I can show a file of my pictures and show folks my website or customer’s gallery. Now, I have to hit 6 keys to end the call, clear and turn off everything but the phone itself before I put it back into my pocket. It’s not bad when you have two hands free to do it with, but most of the time I’m making my phone calls while I’m driving. For me, it’s a more efficient use of time, and a lot more enjoyable than listing to audio. Please note, I’m an old drummer and a retire heavy construction equipment operator (operating engineer, hoisting and portable) and I’m use to multi-tasking.

    I’d like to suggest to the designers and engineers, before focusing on “bells and whistles”, build your products simple, fast and dependable first. From there, add all the bells and whistles you want, for those folks who like that sort of thing. Remember, new is not better. A new pain in the ass is still a pain in the ass.

    Jungle Jim
    http://www.SoYouPhotography.com

  13. Everyone shut up and listen to me, THIS ARTICLE IS OUTDATED!!!

    Google Chrome has already launched it’s commercial version and right it has no bugs!!!

    As for the person before me, Google Chrome IS simple you can get the fancy bells and whistles if you want but if you don’t it’s fine and its one of the best (2nd to ie 9)

    Go download on and download Google Chrome because IT IS NOT BETA TESTING ANYMORE!!! SOMEONE PLEASE DELETE THIS ARTICLE RIGHT NOW!!!!

    Side Note: Btw did you know firefox came out with a beta testing for firefox 4, it’s pretty awesome but copies Google Chrome’s design

      1. but it gives people the wrong idea of Google Chrome, Google Chrome is way better than this and it says its still in beta testing when it’s not

        1. Yes, agreed. But people should note that this article is more than 2 years old.

          But, since I agree with you, I have added a quick comment to the top of the article. Gotta keep my site visitors happy :)

  14. I’m curious to find out what blog system you happen to be working with? I’m having some minor security problems with my latest site and I would like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any recommendations?

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