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Google Chrome Revisited

Posted by on Dec 18, 2010

In September 2008, I wrote a review on this blog concerning Google Chrome. It wasn’t the most positive review, but it was brand new and I said I’d check it out again at some point. That point is now.

First, let me tell you why I’m doing it. I’m a Firefox guy, but as you may remember, I wrote in August about some of the problems I’d been having with it. The sucker was constantly freezing up on my computer and I couldn’t shut it down via the Task Manager, so I’d have to reboot to use it. Also, this problem started with CommentLuv in the past month where I’m visiting blogs and having to refresh a few times to leave a comment so the program will pull up any of my posts. My hope and test was that Chrome would alleviate those issues.

Installation is still goofier than anything else I’ve seen. You still get this super long EULA before you can download it, and I decided to read the entire thing to see if there were any traps in it. If there were I missed it, but I made sure not to allow it to add anything else to it when I downloaded the loaded it up.

It says it installs fast; trust me, Firefox loads at least 10 times faster. And when the browser finally showed up I have to admit that it looked a lot more like Opera than what I was expecting. There were two tabs at the top, with a plus sign where I could add more tabs, and a menu bar; that’s pretty much it. I pulled up the Help link so I could figure out how to use a few more things, such as wondering where toolbars were. Seems they don’t use toolbars because they say it slows things down; I’d never heard that before, but I did some reading and they’re not the only ones saying it, so I’ll leave that for now.

To set things up, everything starts by clicking on this little wrench at the top right. I did change a few settings, nothing overly brash, but one thing I set that didn’t seem to change anything was making the default fonts bigger. When I closed and reopened the browser, that setting didn’t take hold, so I found myself having to enlarge every page I went to later on.

I’ll say this; pages do load pretty fast. I turned off pre-fetching, which can slow things down, and I’m sure that helped. I also changed the theme, which is under one of the default tabs when the browser opens for the first time, so that was pretty cool. I learned how to import bookmarks from Firefox, and one of those was my bookmarks toolbar, so that’s one toolbar I got back, and all the other bookmarks are aligned under this button to the far right that says “other bookmarks”; that makes sense.

As for plugins or extensions, there seems to be a lot of them but not the one I’m looking to use, unfortunately. I like being able to see PR or Alexa rank when I visit new sites, and the closest I could find that works with Chrome was SEO Quake, and I don’t like running that all the time. But that’s a personal preference thing; I’m sure you could find something to use.

The important stuff now. I can’t tell you if the browser will lock up and shut down like Firefox had been doing, but I have to admit that Firefox hasn’t messed up in this way for me in the last month or so. There’s no way to test for that, I’m afraid, except to leave it open for a month or so; that’s probably not going to happen. I did check resources and it’s using about 2/3rds less than what Firefox consumes, so that’s a benefit.

But when it came to CommentLuv, it seems I have the same problems with what’s going on with them on Chrome as I have on Firefox. So, at least this tells me it’s not a browser issue; heck!

So, once again, I don’t think it’s bad, but it doesn’t fix the main issues I have with Firefox and thus don’t warrant my changing just yet. But it will be another browser I’ll use to look at new webpages as I create them.

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Hi Mich

Funny your post should be on this topic. I just speak to Mitch Allen about Firefox. He says Chrome uploads faster. I don’t know about any of this and at the moment got Firefox and as it’s working won’t fiddle with it.

Patricia Perth Australia

December 18th, 2010 | 10:54 AM

Pat, seems I agree with both him and you. It loads fast when you’re using it, but when you’re installing it, the process was really slow. But my browsers need more than just speed and Chrome didn’t overcome my issues and I just like Firefox so for now I’m staying put as well.

December 18th, 2010 | 2:58 PM

I too have tried Chrome twice. The first time was shortly after it was released and I found that it did not handle the Cold Fusion log-in process my bank uses to access my accounts on line. Otherwise I was pretty happy with it, but that was a death knell for it.

More recently (like last week) I tried again in an attempt to solve a problem. I have a several blogs hosted on Blogger. They changed the photo insertion process (again) and I found I was constantly getting an error message and “try again later”. In a blog that is photo intensive this is a bad thing! Some research showed I was not alone in this problem. More research indicated that it is a specific problem with MSIE 8, which is what I’m using. So I installed Chrome to see if it would fix the problem (Google’s browser darn well ought to function with Google’s blogging platform). It did. I haven’t tried banking with the newer version… I don’t expect to use Chrome for anything but Blogger blogging. It is faster than MSIE (most anything is) but I know where everything is and how it works in MSIE. Learning to use another browser – especially one I have to assemble piece by piece – is something that will have to wait until I have more time to play.

December 18th, 2010 | 3:59 PM

It’s funny how things work, Allan. There are things I like from all browsers, but the one giving me the best experience across the board is still Firefox, even if it does lock up here and there. So we stick with what we know until something compelling takes hold of us.

December 18th, 2010 | 5:55 PM

That sure is weird about commentluv. The only thing I can think of is it’s conflicting with another plugin.

As to Chrome I only use it if for some reason I want to open another browser rather than another tab. I still prefer Firefox.

December 18th, 2010 | 5:23 PM

I got email from Andy saying it was something between my service and theirs that was blocking things, and thus it couldn’t be fixed. So it’s not a plugin, and wouldn’t be since I’m on someone else’s blog at the time.

December 18th, 2010 | 5:57 PM

DOH! Man, how the hell could I get that sooooo wrong 😀

December 18th, 2010 | 6:15 PM

Hey Mitch, I’m a huge fan of Chrome and I’m a huger fan (if that’s possible) of CommentLuv, so I’m really curious about this conflict. When you say your “service” and theirs, what type of service are you referring to?
This is the first time I’ve heard of anyone having this refresh problem with CommentLuv but I’m glad you talked to Andy about it already, (I was going to suggest that).

The next time you fire up Chrome, get the SEO Site Tools extension. It’s the baddest SEO add-on around and Google is even using some of the stats on webmaster tools now.

Also, Alexa has a Chrome toolbar extension, and I use both even though SEO Site tools gives me everything (Google PR, Bing, Yahoo! and Alexa….) because that toolbar works wonders for the Alexa Rank. 🙂

December 19th, 2010 | 6:33 AM

Ileane, I’m not sure; those were Andy’s words, not mine. And it seems I’m not alone, but it’s not a problem Andy can reproduce so we’re stuck for awhile with it.

I don’t see me firing up Chrome again any time soon. Opera is second choice most of the time. Truthfully, sometimes I’m just not sure I trust Google with my privacy, such that it is, especially after that really long EULA before you can even download the program.

December 19th, 2010 | 5:35 PM

Ok thanks for the details.

I have another question, do you know from your Google Analytics the percentage of traffic to your sites that are using Google Chrome? I see the percentage of Chrome users rising on all of the sites I monitor. On the other hand, the number of IE users seems to have stabilized compared to when Chrome was first introduced.
The one that really surprises me is the number of mobile users on my blogs. I plan to install a plugin to make my blog more mobile friendly, but I haven’t investigated the options yet.

December 20th, 2010 | 6:13 AM

Ileane, I get 14.8% of my traffic from Chrome. That follows Firefox, IE & Safari. Firefox is more than 2x higher than IE; that’s kind of amazing to me. It is up from 12.99% at the end of October. I’m not sure how to see if they’re mobile or not.

December 20th, 2010 | 10:52 AM

Mitch, look under Visitors > Mobile and you’ll see Mobile devices and Mobile Browsers. Let me know if need a screenshot. 🙂

December 20th, 2010 | 3:07 PM

Wow, I’d never noticed that there before. Looks like 208 visits from cell phones over the past month; you might need to write about that plugin! lol

December 20th, 2010 | 3:23 PM

Google Chrome is a good browse, I also prefer Firefox and this is my default browser, but as well the same add-ons available in Mozilla are available for Chrome. Usually I am using both browsers on my Ubuntu machine for my SEO work, because of the option for 2 working spaces at the same time.

December 19th, 2010 | 3:36 AM

Carl, I have to admit that when I need a second look at a website I pull up Opera instead, which is also very fast.

December 19th, 2010 | 5:31 PM

Firefox is still the browser of choice for development purposes, my people use it when designing and testing websites as it has the best debug plugin to date (Firebug), but honestly for everyday use I’ve been a fan of Safari (Mac) since day 1. Lately though, due to some slowdowns and issues I can’t really track the origin of, I’ve been switching to Chrome for my normal use. It’s by far the fastest browser of all the bunch, and it never hangs or underperforms.
Gonna stick with it for the time being.

December 19th, 2010 | 12:41 PM

Gabriele, that’s the thing about browsers; there are so many choices because we all have our favorites. I’m wondering what Firefox 4 will be bringing soon.

December 19th, 2010 | 5:39 PM

Hi Mitch,
I actually have the same problem with firefox, after it runs for a while, it starts hogging up the computers memory and it loads slower and sometimes even freezes.

And I think I read something about this issue, and it seems to be a problem in the way firefox is programmed, it doesn’t free memory when its done doing something, so if you keep it running for long, it will start to consume more and more RAM.

I, too have tried Chrome right after the launch, but didn’t find it satisfactory so, I uninstalled it. But it seems that Google’s aggressive marketing campaign it’s starting to pay off, and Chrome it’s stealing more and more market share.

Oh, and I think I heard something about Chrome sending some statistics back to Google, which is kind of creepy.

December 19th, 2010 | 2:16 PM

Alex, it’s the statistics thing I don’t like, and they actually tell you in the EULA that they’re going to be doing it. As for RAM, I made a change in the About:Config on Firefox that’s supposed to reduce memory usage if you reduce the window here and there, but I haven’t noticed that working. Still, it works best for me overall.

December 19th, 2010 | 5:43 PM

First of all Mitch, its nice to be back here at your blog.!

Oh, I am a hardcore (lots of plugins and stuffs used) firefox user. I do have chrome browser but I haven’t used it as much as I use Firefox.

December 19th, 2010 | 7:22 PM

Glad to see you, Ron. Firefox replaced my love of Netscape and I’ve never looked anywhere else.

December 19th, 2010 | 7:53 PM

Really glad to be back at your blog.

But firefox needs a good update soon. Seems like crashing problem is their main bug. =)

December 19th, 2010 | 8:19 PM

Ron, Firefox 4 is supposed to be coming out within the next few months, and maybe that’ll take care of some of these issues.

December 19th, 2010 | 8:40 PM

While my team and I usually use Firefox for almost everything, we also have different other browsers in place including Chrome. We do that for designing and programming purposes, so that we could see if what we have done so far works well in all browsers. But, so far, that is all about what we use Chrome for.

– Wes –

December 19th, 2010 | 8:23 PM

Wes, that’s the reason I loaded Opera, and of course IE is always around as well.

December 19th, 2010 | 8:41 PM

Mitch, Well, loved FF since i learn internet. Even if it crashes and sucks often, i still love it. The first thing why it crashes is because of too many extensions(addons) which chrome too experience once you start installing many extensions. Chrome is definitely high speed browsing experience but still lacking alot. Not ideal for any webmaster yet. None of my extension (which i love) is there.

December 22nd, 2010 | 4:34 AM

Thanks for your comment, Kim. Yeah, there’s just something about Firefox that compels us to forgive its idiosyncrasies here and there. Kind of like Windows! lol

December 22nd, 2010 | 11:03 AM