Less is more. Google Chrome is my preferred browser. Here’s why:

Recently I’ve bitched a lot, especially tearing utterly useles microformats that the InterWeb really doesn’t need (rel-nofollow, common tag …). Naturally, those pamplets get noticed as Google search engine bashing. Wait. Of course not everything a search engine company launches is crap. Actually, I do love –and use daily– lots of awesome services provided by Google, Yahoo & Co.

Google Chrome BrowserWhilst some SE engineers –probably due to my endless rants– have unsubscribed from my various you-porn social media streams, others have noticed that there’s also laudatory stuff in a grumpy old fart’s Twitter output, and asked for input. Thank you! Dear Johannes Müller, bypassing your WebForm, here is my greedy Google Chrome wish list (you do know the goodies yourself, hence I skip the cute stuff I should praise).

I’ll focus on functionality that I like or miss as a plain user, but I can’t resist to mention a few geeky thingies upfront. As a developer I do love that Chrome doesn’t die on faulty scripts (or on .htpasswd protected pages during startup with session restore like the current FF … on evaling perfectly valid JavaScript code from a server’s response to an AJAX request that exceeds 50 or 65k like IE …). Also, the debugging facilities are awesome (although I still can’t throw away Firebug and a few more FireFox plug-ins). I very much appreciate Chrome’s partial HTML-5 support, but besides neat video controls I’d love to see it render plain HTML-5 stuff like CITE attributes in Q elements correctly (4.7.3. User agents should allow users to follow such citation links), even when DOCTYPE says HTML 4.x or XHTML. ;)

WebKit is great, but it comes with disadvantages. Try to put radio buttons in a SPAN or DIV element with CSS controlling horizontal/vertical appearance as well as special label formats –instead of a RADIO-GROUP– and you’re toast. FF can handle that. Or set the MULTIPLE attribute of a SELECT element to FALSE (instead of ommitting it for combo-boxes) and you’ll suffer from select lists that you just can’t handle as a user, because WebKit (as well as other layout engines!) doesn’t render the element as a drop down list any more. Of course that’s non-standard coding, but stuff like that isn’t really uncommon on the Web. Just because other layout engines handle crap like this equally wrong, that doesn’t mean that the WebKit version used by Google Chrome must come with the same maladies, right?

What totally annoys me is that on the WordPress /wp-admin/post.php page the plus icons of “Post Slug” or “Post Status” just don’t work with Chrome. That means I’ve to fire up FF only to type in a value in a form field that Google Chrome sneakily hides from me. Nasty. Really nasty. Don’t tell me that I’m using an outdated WordPress version. I do know that, but I won’t upgrade because WP 0.87 (beta) perfectly fits my needs.

Ok, what do I like as a user? Google Chrome is lean and very easy to use, it eats less memory than any other browser I allow on my machines, and it executes JavaScript as well as nifty rounded corners amazingly fast. Because –at least with the naked version– I can’t install a gazillion of add-ons, I usually see complete landing pages rendered — instead of just the H1, an advertisement, and the very first P element along with an 1/6 clip of an image or video, because all the FF toolbars occupy nearly 3/4 of the browser window’s height. Try FireFox with a few plug-ins vs. Chrome on a machine running 1024*768 (not that unusual when traveling) and you’re convinced in a fraction of a nanosecond.

Now that I’ve completely switched to Chrome, at least at home (at work I have to test my stuff with everything except IE because that’s a not supportable user agent), I preferably sooner than later do want the FireFox nuggets. Dear Google Chrome developers, please find a way to extract the most wanted stuff from FF plug-ins. You can implement those as right-click popup menus, as well as an one-line toolbar (not stealing too much screen real estate), or both, or otherwise. It’s not too hard to detect that a user has a delicious or stumble-upon account (you read the cookies anyway …). You easily could show icons for the core functionality of such services, along with context sensitive menus enabling the whole functionality of a particular service as provided with overcrowded toolbars in other browsers. Examples:

Delicious  An icon “Remember this” to submit a page to delicious is enough, when “my delicious” and so on is available via context menu.
StumbleUpon  The same goes for StumbleUpon. Two icons, thumbs-up and thumbs-down, would provide 99% of the functionality I need quite often. Ok, my thumbs-down votes are rare, so you can even dump the second one.
TinyUrl  How cool would it be to create a tiny URI for the current tab with just one click?
PrefBar checkboxes  Next up, please feel somewhat challenged by PrefBar, an instrument I really can’t miss on the long haul.PrefBar combo-boxes 
Switching user agent strings, faking referrers, checking out Web pages without cookies, JavaScript and so on is a must have. Ok, I admit that’s geek stuff, so take it as an example transferable to some girlish stuff I refuse to recognize in my monster’s Web browsers.
Twitter  Also, let’s not forget Twitter, blogstuff and whatnot.
Imagine your preferred services, iconized in a one-line toolbar configurable compiled from single items of various 3rd party toolbars available on the InterWeb (of course you should enable Google Toolbar icons too). How cool would that be, in comparisation to the bookmarklets I must live with now?

Google Chrome bookmarklets


Context-menu stuff like “image properties” et cetera –as well known from other browsers– would be very helpful too. “Inspect element” is really neat and informative (for geeks), but way too complicated for the average user.

Another issue is Chrome’s lack of “Babylon functionality”. I want to configure my native language as well as a preferred language (read that as “at least one“). Say I’ve set native language to de-DE and preferred language to en-US, then when hovering a word or phrase on any Web object, I want to see a tooltip displaying the english translation from whatever gibberish the Web page is written in (of course for english text I’d expect the german translation); and when I select a piece of text I want to read the german (english) translation on right-click:translate in a popup dialog that allows copying to the clipboard as well as changing languages. I know you’ve the technology at your hands.

Oh, and please disable the defaulted DNS caching, that’s a royal PITA when you mostly consume dynamic contents because lots of previously visited URIs get displayed as error messages. Also, “reload” should pull images again, replacing their cached copies; right-click:reload should reposition to the current viewpoint.

I’d like to have “project windows”, that is on-demand Chrome windows loaded with particular tabs with URIs I’ve previouisly saved from a window under a project name. Those shouldn’t come up when I’ve set “load previous session at start-up”, but only when I want to restore such a window.

After a quite longish test phase I’d say that Google Chrome’s advantages beat the lack of functionality with ease. Pretty often the snipping of a particular commonly supplied feature (like search boxes in toolbars) dramatically enhances Chrome’s usability. Chrome’s KISS approach kicks ass. And I see it evolve.

Now that you’ve read my appraisal and suggestions, please consider picking a few items from my t-shirt wish list. You know, I’ve promised to link out to everybody sending me a (geeky|pornographic|funny|) XX(X)L t-shirt that I really like. ;) Just in case you’re not the type of reader who buys the author of a pamphlet a t-shirt, please subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks.

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8 Comments to "Less is more. Google Chrome is my preferred browser. Here's why:"

  1. Andy Beard on 22 July, 2009  #link

    I really hate the flash support in Chrome… or more specifically the way it can take down the whole browser requiring Chrome tasks to be shut down in task manager.

  2. Sebastian on 24 July, 2009  #link

    Yep, Plug-in Shockwave Flash messes up everything, sometimes.

  3. Michael Thomas on 30 July, 2009  #link

    I have noticed that the correct way of google embedding flash method does not work correctly in chrome. What is that all about???

  4. Nick Stamoulis on 31 July, 2009  #link

    I haven’t really explored too deep with Google chrome just yet. I did try Flock recently and it was pretty good if you like using all the social websites.

  5. Sebastian on 4 August, 2009  #link

    I just have to share Jeremy Zawodny’s comment: Google Chrome is the New Firefox, and Firefox the new IE. I agree that FF 3.5 is a nightmare.

  6. best adult sites on 7 August, 2009  #link

    “Now that I’ve completely switched to Chrome, at least at home (at work I have to test my stuff with everything except IE because that’s a not supportable user agent), I preferably sooner than later do want the FireFox nuggets.”

    Despite the functionality Google Chrome offers, FF still dominates when it comes to useful plug-ins and easy-to-navigate toolbars and bookmarks. Once Google incorporates these into its system it could be difficult to beat.

  7. Jim James on 8 August, 2009  #link

    “Google Chrome is lean and very easy to use, it eats less memory than any other browser I allow on my machines, and it executes JavaScript as well as nifty rounded corners amazingly fast.”

    I haven’t tried Chrome yet, but it seems like a good idea if you describe it as fast and light on the resources.

    “Dear Google Chrome developers, please find a way to extract the most wanted stuff from FF plug-ins.”

    Just a question about this: wouldn’t adding these items compromise the quickness and lightness of Chrome? I’m no expert on the technical stuff, but I just would like to know if that is the case.

  8. Mark Lopez on 21 August, 2009  #link

    First time on your site and just wanted to say that I found it using “google webmaster central trailing forward slash” - great article there.

    Secondly, re Chrome… I have been using it since the day after it came out as a secondary browser (i.e. so I can log into two google accounts - one FF, one Chrome). Aside from the fast load time I can’t find any other reason to use it over FF. Ok, people talk about crash recovery of Chrome vs FF but I haven’t had FF crash on me in a long time.

    The fact I can’t even log into hotmail with Chrome really bugs me. No google toolbar on Chrome? I would have expected that was the first thing Google put on it’s browser - or at least made it compatible for! It’s only techies using Chrome and for most of us Google Toolbar is essential.

    -Second attempt - your spam protection just failed me… 3 6 = 9 your math is off my friend.

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