Young though I am, I get quite set in my ways – I’ve been a Firefox user for as long as I can remember, but have also noticed that the application frequently slows down, freezes, and causes my computer to run much slower, as well. Meanwhile, Google launched its new Chrome browser, and I’ve seen many of my online friends switching, claiming that Chrome is faster, smoother, and overall much better.
For starters, this wasn’t possible until recently, when Google Chrome added support for extensions (called plugins on Firefox). These are small add-ons that can be installed in your browser to add additional features/capabilities. One that I simply require is Xmarks, which synchronizes all of my bookmarks from one computer to the other – it works awesome, especially in keeping my Dell XPS M1330 and Asus EeePC 1000HE in sync – I can seamlessly swap between the two computers and all my bookmarks/links are already there.
However, as reliant as I am on Xmarks, I was surprised/pleased to see that Google Chrome integrates Google Sync, which accomplishes the same goal. I’m actually using both at the moment, with no averse effects. I’d like to see Google Sync supported in Google’s Android phones, too, but that’s another post for another time. Basically, syncing across multiple Google Chrome installs works the same as it did with Firefox. The only thing I’ve noticed thus far is that Xmarks in Firefox was also able to sync my usernames and passwords – a major help, and something that’s definitely noticeably missing from their Chrome extension.
Since speed was one of the main reasons I considered the switch, I’ll start there – Google Chrome is easily twice as fast as Firefox, if not more. I can give you two specific examples where I notice it the most:
Startup – on my XPS M1330’s Windows 7 taskbar, I have three apps pinned – Chrome (previously Firefox), Seesmic Desktop, and Digsby, in that order. When I sit down at the computer to work, I typically click these three buttons in order, starting with the browser, then Seesmic Desktop, then Digsby. When I was using Firefox, I had no trouble clicking both Seesmic Desktop and Digsby before the Firefox window would actually appear. I don’t have any default tabs open – just my homepage. With Chrome, I have yet to be able to click Digsby before the Chrome window is open. Sometimes I miss Seesmic, as well, but I never make it to Digsby. That’s a noticeable improvement.
Netbook – on my 1000HE, I cannot play high-definition video streams from Hulu fullscreen in Firefox. I’ve tried all sorts of tweaks, but never really get anything that’s watchable – there’s always significant stutter and whatnot. In Chrome, I have no problems whatsoever. Animation, live action, doesn’t matter – it all plays nice and smooth.
This is a big win for Chrome, and honestly has me wanting to check out the Nokia Booklet 3G again – maybe Chrome would make the Booklet 3G’s processor/RAM combo less painful.
Search – I search – alot. However, I don’t always use Google – I search IMDB, Facebook, YouTube, and a handful of other sites quite frequently. I’m a heavy user of the Firefox search box, and have a dozen or so different search engines loaded up in the drop-down list, for easy access. This is something I really miss from Firefox, as I’ve yet to figure out a way to duplicate the functionality in Chrome.
Dual Monitors – I use UltraMon to manage my dual-monitor setup, and it has this great feature of adding a button to the top of windows that lets you really easily send the window to the other monitor – it’s much easier than un-maximizing and dragging the window over. This works awesome on Firefox, but doesn’t appear in Google Chrome – it’s a big deal.
Smaller Toolbar Area – one thing that I *really* like about Google Chrome is the minimalist approach they took to the toolbars. With the exact same stuff being shown, Chrome does a much more efficient job showing you information – freeing up more space for you to see the webpage. I’ve done my best to re-organize the Firefox toolbar, but I’ve not gotten the same experience that I have in Chrome ‘out of the box’.
Thus far, that’s really the only differences I’ve noticed. I don’t use keyboard shortcuts, so that’s a moot point for my usage. I did go ahead and replace my browser shortcuts with Google Chrome on both computers, and am still evaluating the experience.
Which browser do you use?