Chrome Not Quite Shiny Yet

» 27 June 2010 » In Opinion, Tech »

A month ago I decided to stop using Firefox as my main browser, because I was becoming frustrated with its sluggishness and general stability issues. I wanted to give a new, modern browser a chance and Google Chrome seemed like the most fitting choice. I’ve been using it diligently and exclusively since then and wanted to share some good and not so good things that I found out after a month of daily usage. The caveat is that I’ve only used it on the Mac platform, so my findings may differ for Windows/Linux users.

  1. It’s fast and stable. Pages load quite a bit faster, if only perceptually. And while the memory usage is not that much lower than FF’s – after all, those DOM trees and images have to go somewhere – I have never had to force-quit (or even just quit) Chrome the way I had to with FF after a couple of days. This is a big win in my book.
  2. The built-in developer tools are nice, but are not quite as good as Firebug, it seems. I will have to try them out on a project before I can say this with certainty.
  3. There is a lack of integration with 3rd-party tools and websites I used with FF, mainly 1Password and Delicious. Yes, there are Chrome alpha/beta extensions for both, but I miss the full functionality the FF versions offered. Hope the vendors hurry up and bring them up to feature parity.
  4. I miss the quick search engine access that FF has in the upper right corner. That’s how I searched Amazon, Wordreference.com, and several other sites. I can’t find an equivalent in Chrome.
  5. There is no way to configure proxy settings through Chrome itself. You have to use a command-line parameter (who does that on a Mac though?), an extension, or do it through OS X’s System Preferences.
  6. It’s from Google. So it’s just what I’ve come to expect from their products – great engine and features combined with some usability problems and a lack of polish.

Overall, I’m pleased with Chrome and will continue using it as my main browser unti something better comes along.

Update: As the comments below indicate, it is possible to configure and use various search engines from the “omnibox”, aka the search bar. Right click and select Edit Search Engines.

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7 Comments on "Chrome Not Quite Shiny Yet"

  1. andrei
    Kunal
    27/06/2010 at 9:42 am Permalink

    Disclaimer: I’ve only used Chrome on Win and Linux, so this might not work for you.

    For quick searching other websites, like wikipedia etc. chrome allows you to search directly from the address bar itself: start typing http://www.wiki... and press tab. This changes the address to “Search Wikipedia for:” and then you can search directly.

    On another note, I just switched back to Firefox from Chrome precisely because Gmail had started crashing in Chrome (“Aw, snap …”).

  2. andrei
    Chris Bartow
    27/06/2010 at 9:43 am Permalink

    You can search any web site with built-in search using the URL bar in Chrome.

    Example:

    Type ama, press tab and it should say “Search amazon.com.” Then you can just type what you want to search for on Amazon.

  3. andrei
    Andrei
    27/06/2010 at 9:48 am Permalink

    Kunal, that doesn’t work for me. I tried both “wiki” and “http://www.wiki” and the focus just goes to the next field.

    Chris, that “ama” shortcut does work, thanks. Where is that documented though? Are there more shortcuts like these?

  4. andrei
    Jordan Alperin
    27/06/2010 at 10:15 am Permalink

    You can actually add any sort of search shortcut to the chrome url bar with these directions:

    http://www.tiptrickmod.com/web/how-to-search-delicious-bookmarks-with-chrome/

    I find it much better than FF’s split up search and URL bar.

  5. andrei
    Chris Bartow
    27/06/2010 at 10:27 am Permalink

    “ama” is not a specific shortcut, it should work for any web site you visit that has a search box. Pressing Tab is just a shortcut to access the search a web site option.

    Here is the Chromium page that lists all the main features of the omnibox:

    http://dev.chromium.org/user-experience/omnibox

  6. andrei
    Kunal
    27/06/2010 at 10:30 am Permalink

    Ah, sorry — I hadn’t realized that Wikipedia was not included by default — you can add it by right clicking the search/url bar and adding it.

    I had been using that shortcut for so long that I forgot that I had added it.

  7. andrei
    Artem Nezvigin
    28/06/2010 at 7:44 am Permalink

    Spend some more time with the developer tools and you’ll see they’re exactly the same as Firebug.

    The only thing missing for me is FirePHP and being able send output to the console log using http response headers. I’m not certain if Chrome supports this (it probably does, knowing Chrome) but FirePHP made it easy by integrating with Firebug.

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