At times, necessity is indeed the mother of invention, or in this case, substitution.  I ran into an issue with Firefox a couple of weeks ago whereby it refused to launch.  I’ll spare you the laundry list of things I did to remedy the situation; the important thing is the fact that while I was unable to use Firefox, I began using Chrome, and haven’t looked back.

Here’s why:

  • It’s lighter and faster. Chrome launches in about 1/3 the time required by Firefox.  Sitting around waiting for a browser to launch just doesn’t float my boat; YMMV.  I also like Chrome’s minimal, no-frills look and user interface.
  • It’s well organized and intuitive. Chrome utilizes tabs much like Firefox, and the latest version of IE.  With Chrome, however, the tabs are at the very top of the browser window.  You can drag tabs from the current browser to create a completely new window, rearrange tabs by dragging them, and even create a duplicate tab by right clicking on it and selecting, duh, winner! “Duplicate.”  Also, with Chrome the tabs get smaller as new ones are added, and all are always displayed – there’s no need to scroll left or right to see them all.  Mousing over any tab results in a display of the site’s tagline or name.  One other note:  you can “pin” tabs, so they’ll always appear in the same location whenever you open Chrome; very handy!

In the image below, you’ll note that the first 4 tabs are smaller; they’ve been pinned, and will appear in these locations every time Chrome is launched (until I choose to unpin them)-

  • Stability. One other neat thing about tabs in Chrome:  if one tab crashes, just that tab closes; the balance of your tabs remain open and functional.  With Firefox, if one crashes, they all go down.
  • Ease of use. The interface is simple and uncluttered, and it’s fairly easy to adapt Chrome to your needs.  There’s a handy tutorial available that covers the basics.   Many of the most often used tools can be accessed by clicking on a small spanner symbol in the upper RH corner of the browswer:

  • Numerous extensions are available. I became reliant upon certain tools I used with Firefox, and I haven’t found one yet which doesn’t have a Chrome version:  iMacros, Stumbleupon toolbar, Roboform, Alexa toolbar, Greasemetal (Greasemonkey for Chrome) and so forth.  I’ve lost nothing in terms of capability, and the browser is lighter and faster than Firefox.
  • Incognito mode available. Like Firefox’s “Private Browsing” mode, with Chrome you can launch an “incognito” mode which is a separate browser window; history and cookies from such sessions aren’t recorded.  Hitting Ctrl+Shift+N launches a new “Incognito” browser window.

  • Readily available bookmarks bar. As you can see in the image above, Chrome sports a Bookmarks Bar that’s similar to that on IE and Firefox; you can choose to have it displayed all the time, or only when you’re creating a new tab.  As with Firefox, you don’t need to include any name or description for each bookmark – I prefer just the sites’ favicons, as you can see above.  Of course, when you mouse over each favicon, the web address of the site is displayed.
  • Security. Security is robust with Chrome: Chrome will warn you if a site you’re about to visit is suspected of being associated with malware or phishing.  Chrome also employs a tool called sandboxing, considered by experts to be a particularly effective security measure:

Sandboxing helps prevent malware from installing itself on your computer or using what happens in one browser tab to affect what happens in another. The sandbox adds an additional layer of protection to your browser by protecting against malicious web pages that try to leave programs on your computer, monitor your web activities, or steal private information from your hard drive.

  • Help and support. Chrome has an extensive Help Center available, as well as a Help Forum.

In summary, Chrome is definitely worth a look if you’ve never tried it.  I’d suggest a great starting point would be the Chrome Turorial.   You can download Chrome here. Who knows?  You may find yourself abandoning your tried and trusted browser – I did!


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6 Comments on Why Chrome is now my default browser

  1. David says:

    One thing I haven’t been able to do in Chrome is get my web based VPN connection to work, well, working….


  2. David says:

    I’d love to use Chrome full time too, but I’ve never been able to get it to connect to my workplace’s VPN site.

    There is a plug in that is required, but unlike in Firefox or IE, the installation does not work in Chrome.

    If anyone has managed to connect to a VPN solution with Chrome I’d love to hear about it.


  3. Lyle says:

    Have you checked out the Chrome Web Store?


    Kevin Reply:

    I have – very cool.


  4. Lee says:

    I’ve also become increasingly disenchanted with Firefox over the last year or so–not so much because of the slow startup but because of the frequent freezes. I’ll probably start using Chrome more, but over the weekend, I experimented with making FF lighter and faster by removing various add-ons.

    I was surprised to find that FF got the biggest performance boost by disabling the Google Toolbar. I disabled the Toolbar on a home laptop, running Windows 7 Home with 2 GB of memory, and almost immediately, the crashes disappeared. I noticed when I started Task Manager that FF seemed to release memory that never got released with the Toolbar enabled. I repeated this experiment on a netbook also running Windows 7 home with 2 GB memory–same result. This morning, I duplicated the results on my work computer, running Windows XP Pro and also with 2 GB memory.

    I noticed that in Windows XP, FF tends to use more memory than in Windows 7, but when I close tabs the same relative percentage of memory seems to be released. The pages, other than startup (and to be fair, my work laptop loads four separate tabs while my laptop and netbook only load one at startup), do seem to load faster, but I’ve not done any timing tests yet to corroborate my subjective impressions.

    I thought I’d miss my Google bookmarks, but pressing CTRL+K brings up the FF Google searchbox. I’ve also left on the suggest search feature on my laptop and netbook so I generally get site suggestions for sites I’ve recently visited, which are more likely the sites I’ve bookmarked anyway. I always wondered why Chrome never adopted the Google Bookmarks part of the Toolbar, which I’ve always liked much better than the equivalent in Chrome (a separate webpage that lists all of my websites as in Chrome seems much more cumbersome than the dropdown list in FF with various folders that expand to subfolders). Perhaps if others have had similar experiences, we might have some idea of this curious absence.


  5. thomas says:

    Only issue with Chrome is go to settings, options, Personal Stuff, manage saved passwords. Click on any password and show it. Who the hell wants that!!!!! anyone can access every locked site i go to!


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