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Google Chrome: My new favorite browser.

Pyromaniac's picture
Submitted by Pyromaniac on January 17, 2012 - 7:02pm

When I lost my 8 GB flash drive a couple of weeks ago, my digital life was over. With no working computer at home, my browser, games, homework, college essays, music, videos, and some projects I was working on were gone--nor could I do anything about it either. I had deleted my old backup data on my 2 GB so I could keep a copy of the original StarCraft on it after my laptop broke a while back. I was on the last mission of the Zerg in the expansion, when I realized my laptop wouldn't make it--I still got to finish that up some time.

So I turned to my 256 MB flash drive. I couldn't fit anything but the bare minimum on that 7 year old artifact, and was very selective among the apps I chose to put on it.

Among the apps was Google Chrome Portable. Recently, StatCounter reported that Google Chrome took second place in the browser war back in November, and had been climbing ever since.

I had tried Google Chrome in the past, but I never really caught on to it, mainly because I had customized the sh*t out of Firefox, and it had all my passwords and history and addons all that jazz, that to switch to a new browser would take more time than what it was worth.

But I had nothing too lose, so tried it, and it was good.

The most significant thing I noticed was the improvement in speed. The browser runs smooth, the look is modern, and the browser feels crisp. Not once has Chrome frozen on me, nor lagged, and, quite frankly I was starting to get annoyed by the random lags Firefox gave me, especially on slower computers.

I read an article in Maximum PC that discussed the advantages of Chrome over Firefox and IE:

It’s the only browser [of the three mentioned] to use sandboxing as its primary defense mechanism. This method combines a JavaScript virtual machine with an OS-level sandbox to prevent successful attacks against the browser’s rendering engine from affecting a user’s file system. Second, Chrome has been, hands down, the hardiest survivor of each year’s Pwn2Own hacking contest at the CanSecWest security conference... Third, Google updates the Adobe Flash and Acrobat Reader [Foxit, actually] modules itself. So if you’re running the latest version of Chrome, you’re running the latest, most secure versions of Flash and Acrobat Reader available.

Then again, there have been the disputes over the fact that Google Chrome sends info about your browsing history by default over to it's servers in order to "improve browsing experience." I personally don't have a problem with that, but for those who do, changing that is as simple as unticking the first two boxes in "Under the Hood" in Chrome's options.

As most of ya'll know, there are some alternatives to Google Chrome: Chromium (Portable), the browser upon which Google is built upon, and SRWare Iron (Portable). The former is not really recommended for anyone, mainly do to the fact that there isn't any real stable version for everyday use. Iron, on the other hand is pretty close to Chrome, with a few exceptions: Iron does not bundle Flash Player (which may be good for those with privacy concerns), Iron includes adblocking built in (there is an extension for Chrome), Iron does not include a PDF reader like Chrome, but it never sends browsing history or usage statistics to Google.

Chrome provides the alternative to Internet Explorer-dependent users. It's simple interface allows users to feel like they're working in a safer environment, and it's behind-the-scene updates on a locally installed version of Chrome definitely beats out Internet Explorer's "restart required" updates, or the lack thereof in Firefox, or lesser-known browsers such as Iron, Opera, Maxthon, Seamonkey and others.

If there is one fault to find, it's that Google has a bad idea of a Web Store. Many of the "apps" in there are simply links to websites with apps that look nothing like the "screenshots" or shortcuts you see on the homepage. Some of the extensions also seem a bit sketchy to me, particularly the Internet Download Accelerator, which, according to some reviews, only requests access to "All Data" and doesn't do anything to accelerate downloads.

All in all, though, I'm feeling the Chrome. It fast and secure and provides many ideas that other browser developers can learn from. I'm not going to say this is the best browser, per se, but out of the one's I've tried, I can say for certain that Chrome is certainly going to be my browser of choice until the next big thing comes.


What ever works! Smile Though Opera might be best for very low specs/space. I've had a semi-scientific test of making all browsers run on system start-up, and Opera was always fastest. At least on Windows. Another plus for Opera is Opera turbo, and integrated (although extremely lame) IRC client and email client. As I said, on low specs/space...

I'm a Firefox/Seamonkey fan, and been quite happy with Fx since the first day we met. Though it's not the browser that got me, it's the unique add-ons. Smile The ones other browsers can't yet have due to limited API-s... Regarding size, Fx is getting a redesign in it's phishing websites and malware protection, that should make the profile size a little smaller... Might even get in with Fx 10, though 11 is more likely. And nglayout.initialpaint.delay setting with default of over a second gives that feeling that Fx loads pages slower than other browsers. Try setting it to 100.

As for Chrome... It's nice, fast and restricted in it's API-s. Mostly using it for Google and YouTube. DNS pre-fetching has both it's ups and downs, but certainly gives it an edge in speed. Though I can never stress enough that what it gains in speed it lacks in (add-on) capability.

I hope that flash drive isn't USB 1.1 or worse! Can't imagine anything being snappy on it, except the smallest of apps and games. Ummm, games. I think it's time for you to try Bombermaaan... and Armagetron; and the other little gems Wink

My posts are old and likely no longer relevant.

Pyromaniac's picture

Opera is OK... I wouldn't say great, but it's a contender. I'd say it's best achievement was to be the first to introduce tabbed browsing, but other than that, it's mostly been hidden in my lost archive of amazing portable apps. I had it installed on my dead 10-year-old in fact, but I found Chrome (with no more than 2-3 tabs open) faster and more responsive (but a little better than Firefox).

I think turbo is an overstatement of the feature. Something like "Opera Slightly-Improved-Speed-on-Bad-Connections" would seem more fitting. I never used Opera enough to use the email client or IRC, so I won't say anything 'bout that.

I love add-ons, but I hardly use them. I think the only ones I really care for are WOT, Checker Plus for Gmail, Destroy the Web (thank god they got one for chrome!), and a little clock because the library computers don't have one. I had DownThemAll for FFP, but I was disappointed to learn that the devs aren't going to port it for chrome (again with the restrictions). Ah well.

As for my 256 MB drive... I remember when I bought it, USB 2.0 was branded in big bold letters across the bottom of the package. Runs a tad faster than my 8 GB, though, which was a nice surprise.

Maximum PC
Third, Google updates the Adobe Flash and Acrobat Reader modules itself.

Last time I checked, Chrome's PDF plugin was Foxit-based. Also, Adobe would never be able to put an Acrobat Reader plugin in a 4MB DLL.

As for Chromium Portable not having "any real stable version for everyday use", it applies for Chromium (the "base app") only (in fact, this confusion is one of the reasons I've rebranded it). I use it myself as my main web browser, and I can assure you, despite being based on "alpha"-quality releases, it's pretty stable.

I agree with the Web Store thing. I hate when I realize that an app is in fact just a webpage. It's promptly uninstalled.

Very interesting review. You should send it to some technology website. They may end up hiring you.

Previously known as kAlug.

Pyromaniac's picture

Yap, looks like your right. I confirmed it with a couple of websites, including this one.

I tried to check out that screenshot link you gave, but the internet is on strike today, so I guess I'll have to wait Blum

It seems to me that only the "Extensions" tab in the side-panel are the only non-webpage "apps" on there.

Thanks. But I'm planning on majoring in computer science this Fall. Wouldn't mind it as a hobby though.

Pyromaniac's picture

My 32GB copy of the world's best flash drive arrived yesterday!


Pyromaniac's picture

They always seem to be ahead in web page rendering.

In other news Chrome for iOS just came out today. I admit it's a bit slower than opera mini at downloading web pages but I like that it syncs with my bookmarks and feels a bit more responsive. I'm actually typing this up right now from chrome Wink

John T. Haller's picture

The iOS version may say 'Chrome' on it. But it's still just (slower) Safari underneath rendering webpages. As iOS doesn't permit anything but Safari to be a full browser with Javascript. So, Google bit the bullet and released a nice-looking Safari skin called Chrome for iOS.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!