I spent the last 3 days using the Google Chrome beta for Mac OS X and I just switched back to Firefox, but I figured I’d catalog what I liked and didn’t like about it and what actually made me switch back. The most compelling aspects of Chrome are the technical back-end features where it isolates tabs from each other and provides a mechanism to track resource usage to a given tab.
In windows, I understand that this all functions pretty well, but in OS X things feel a lot less polished. The tab task manager doesn’t exist and a bunch of the other features that any real web browser needs to have are still unimplemented.
- Bookmarks Manager: This is the most glaring omission. It means you can’t delete, rename or move bookmarks around though you can add them. Oddly, when I imported my keyword search bookmarks from Firefox they work in Chrome which is nice, but I doubt I can add a new one.
- Cookie Manger: This is admittedly only a minor annoyance as I think you can nuke all the cookies, but it’s still nice to occasionally go look and see what’s there.
- Certificate Manager: This means you can’t permanently confirm “security exceptions” and have to go through a big ugly red screen for each such exception you want to put in each time you run Chrome.
Then there are a series things which I’ve come to love in Firefox and expect of current web browsers that are missing.
- Open All in Tabs: I use this to open all my web comics at once and scan through them. Also for some blogs and other things. It’s just something small that I rely on daily.
- Vertical Three-finger Scrolling: This is the smallest annoyance, but in Firefox three-finger swipes up and down take you to the top and bottom of the page which is a useful shortcut on my MacBook.
All in all, I’m not overly disappointed with Chrome, but not wildly excited either. In the end if it manged to match Firefox more or less in feature set, then I’d probably pick it for the better and more secure back-end tab isolation.
Last, but not least, there’s the whole lack of extensions which they just fixed for windows and it seems like they’re going to finish that for the Mac soon. I won’t judge it too harshly for that, but rediscovering how many ads the web has on it was less than pleasant.