23 April 2009

Chrome vs Firefox

A constant trickle of correspondence asks me about Google's Chrome browser.

I was sure that I had written something about it in here, last September when it was released; but, having combed through the archive, it would seem not. I found a set of email discussions with friends, where I said "Unless I find something horrible (unlikely) it will, of course, stay on my machine as yet another browser to be aware of, alongside Opera, Safari, et al. Whether I will love it, whether it will replace Firefox in my affections, only time will tell; I certainly feel favourably towards it thus far".

After that it sat around for quite a long time, being used when I thought of it but forgotten for much of the time. That wasn't the best way to get to know it; so eventually I set it as my default browser for a while.

  • Its strengths are its rapid load and close down, its speed and responsiveness in use, its and its efficient use (and release) of memory.
  • Its weaknesses are minimal easy access to controls (particularly cookie management and history clearance) and fairly blunt range of extended function.

For some time now, I've settled into what seems likely to be the long term pattern. Chrome is confirmed as the default browser, more than powerful enough for most routine use but light on its feet, servicing perhaps 90% of my browser time.. Windows open and close instantly, providing information and making hardly any demands on system performance. When something more than routine is needed, however, a manually started Firefox remains the research window manager of choice; slow run up and occasional restarts of the system are a price worth paying for its richness, flexibility and depth.

One day, no doubt, one browser will offer both aspects: Spartan efficiency and extensibility. In the meantime, the two programs are here to stay in tandem.