Google Chrome

I installed Google Chrome on my Mac and used it instead of Firefox for everyday browsing in November 2011. Chrome version 16 used less computer resources than Firefox version 8, and provided faster browsing. Firefox version 9 was released in late December with performance and memory usage improvements, and version 10 uses less memory than Chrome in one test. Chrome 16 still seems a little faster than Firefox: I am now using both browsers.

Chrome is currently the most secure web browser, and defnitely a better choice than Safari.

Observations

Chrome was not as pretty as Firefox, but I put up with that. Chrome's fonts were different from Firefox; they seemed to be smaller and not as good looking. I found only a few pages where Chrome displayed the page differently from Firefox, other than font issues. Chrome could display PDF files in a browser window, an ability that was removed from Firefox. I had a hang when opening a page with a Java applet the first time I used Chrome: quitting and restarting fixed the problem, and it did not recur.

Performance

I browse the web by opening many tabs with different sites in them, reading the pages, and closing the tab. Doing this in Firefox causes the Firefox process to occupy more and more memory over time. I observed that after a day of use, Firefox 8.0.1 was occupying over 1GB of real memory, and its response was getting slower and slower: sometimes a click would produce the Rainbow Pizza for 10 or 15 seconds. The cure for this is to quit Firefox and restart it: but quitting Firefox would sometimes take over 90 seconds. Chrome runs in many processes instead of one: the total real memory of 10 Chrome processes after a day of use is about 400MB (using version 15.0.874.121). I have not yet had a Rainbow Pizza, and quitting Chrome seems to be immediate.

Security Claims

I have friends who work on the Chrome browser for Google. They claim that Chrome is more secure for several reasons: one is the division into multiple processes.

Customizing Chrome

Chrome was able to install my Firefox bookmarks and passwords with no problem. I have installed the following extensions into Chrome: ScriptNo, uBlock Origin, Web Developer, Perspectives. (ScriptNo is roughly equivalent to NoScript for Firefox.) I have not yet installed Chrome equivalents for JavaScript Debugger, DOM inspector, Live HTTP Headers, Password Exporter, YSlow. I don't use the Chrome feature of synchronizing bookmarks among multiple computers yet.

My Plan

When new versions of Firefox come out, I will update to them and try them out. I'll test web pages in Firefox as well as Chrome and Safari (and IE). If Firefox speeds up again, I might switch back to using it as my daily tool.

Your Plan

Should you change over to Chrome? I think it is best for advanced users; it's still changing too rapidly. Depends on how much web browsing you do, and whether you are noticing Firefox slowdowns. There is no sense in fixing things that aren't broken for you.

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