I’ve been keeping half an eye on Google Chrome for a while. Regular
unicorns readers will know that my browser of choice has been Firefox for quite some time, for a number of reasons:
- It’s not Internet Exploder, which even in its latest incarnation is still a bit too wobbly for my liking
- I can use the same browser on my work computer (on Windows XP) my proper home computers (Macs) and my netbook (Ubuntu Linux)
- Extensions. Firefox has squillions of them to make the browser do extra clever things
But as it’s developed, Firefox has tended to get a bit bloated and slow. Safari (Apple’s browser) would be a valid alternative, given that its rendering is somewhat quicker, but it lacks the configurability offered by Firefox’s extensions, such as the indispensable AdBlock.
The early versions of Chrome had promise – much faster rendering, but lacking lots of basic functions, so I didn’t pay much attention. The first Mac beta did the rendering thing very well, but lacked such fripperies as a bookmark manager, so I didn’t really feel like using it much.
Then came the latest beta. This one supports extensions (including a version of AdBlock), allows editing of bookmarks, and goes quite nicely, thank you. So, I decided to give it a serious test, and make it my default browser until such a time as it annoys me.
Well, annoyance soon raised its head when I tried to use it to create a post or two for this site. As soon as I pressed enter in the text box, the page crashed. Chrome shows a nice friendly message when this happens, but as I do need to press enter a few times in the average post, this wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.
A quick search using an appropriate search engine showed that a number of people were having the same problem, so it seemed it wasn’t something strange caused by one of my plugins. However, one person reported that switching to the “dev channel” – in short, running Chrome on the bleeding edge, with frequent (and possibly broken) updates would make this problem go away. So, I installed that version on the MacBook, and woo, hoo, it worked!
What’s making it even more likely that I’ll keep using Chrome is that, as this useful post informed me, Chrome has native support for running Greasemonkey scripts, which is a Very Good Thing Indeed. I’ve tested that with a few things I use on Flickr, and it does indeed appear to do just that.
Other than that, it appears to do what you’d expect a web browser to do, only a bit quicker than you might be used to. I’ll follow up with more reports if it seems necessary…