Why I Chose Chrome

I am not a fan of Internet Explorer.  That is the one fact that ties together this whole post.  Internet Explorer needs to die.  Preferably in a painfully violent way.  While I have used it for years, the program has always been glitchy and unresponsive.  The amount of times the browser has crashed on me comes to an ungodly amount.  Of course, when the internet was in its infancy, IE was the only choice.  For awhile, it did its job quite well – considering the technology of the day.

But a lot has changed in the past few years.

There are now tons of browsers to choose from, and almost all of them are superior to Internet Explorer.  And, not only are there lots to choose from, but browsers have become far more sophisticated.  They are completely customizable and can do far, far more than merely “surf the Web.”  So, about a year ago, after my 48,372th crash, I completely abandoned IE in all its forms and began my search for a new browser.  And I never looked back.

(One thing to keep in mind is my loyalty to programs.  If there’s a piece of software that I’ve used for years and have found it to do its job adequately well, I have a hard time giving it up.  Sure, I’ll customize it and mess with it, but I’ll rarely replace it for a different program that does the same job.  So, when you wonder why it took me so long to dump IE, that’s the reason.)

After the catastrophe that was IE (believe me, when I dumped it, I DUMPED it), I tried out Mozilla Firefox.  I started with version 3.5.  It was glorious.   Sure, the startup time was a beast (it has since gotten better, but the original 3.5 took a long time to boot the browser), but it ran consistently.  And fast.  And safely.  My favorite part, of course, was the add-ons.  Firefox has the fantastic ability to add all sorts of wonderful gizmos to the browser called “add-ons” (also known as “extensions”).  This is not only where Firefox shines, but also where the worldwide web drastically changes.  The Internet is no longer mere “surfing” – it is a combination of all kinds activities.  The programmers of Firefox have done a fantastic job in allowing the creation of add-ons that dramatically improve Internet usage.  For one, I never see advertisements anymore.  It also allows for quick webpage loading.  And a LOT of web security.  I was very satisfied with Firefox for quite a few months.

However, I always kept other browsers in mind.  Whether reading about them on the web or hearing other peoples’ opinions, I listened to the pro’s and con’s of the other browsers available on the web.  However, I always came out with the opinion that Firefox was the best.  Its add-ons alone made it the superior program, and few could argue with how gracefully it has matured as a browser (it’s the second highest used internet browser for a reason).  Within the past week, however, my ideas of what internet browsing should be has changed.  This is all due to one event.

I switched to Google Chrome.

I switched to Chrome last week because I had heard that the browser now allowed for extensions, just as Firefox does.  Curious, I downloaded it to test it out (after all, it had garnered positive reviews from those I know who use it).  So far, I have been immensely impressed.  It has its shortcomings, and Firefox does beat it in a few areas, but I’m still willing to call it the best browser that I have used.  And here’s why:

It’s ridiculously fast.

The first, and perhaps most impressive, feature that makes Chrome worth downloading is its startup time.  With Firefox, you would have to wait anywhere from a few seconds to a good half minute for the browser to boot up.  Once the browser did boot up, it ran fine, but it took some time to get there.  Not so with Chrome.  From the time I double click the icon, blink, and then look at the screen, my homepage has already loaded up.  It’s that ridiculous.  I didn’t realize how slow my browsing had been until I tested Chrome.  I was missing out.  Chrome takes the Internet and makes it fast.  Really fast.  You wouldn’t think it’s a big deal, but in the week I’ve been using it, it’s been phenomenal.  If a different browser wants to win me over now, they’re going to have to really work on its performance speed.

Additionally, Chrome now uses extensions, which puts it on almost equal footing with Firefox.  I currently have such useful features as an ad-blocker, a twitter update window, and a program that regularly cleans my cache in order to keep the browser running quickly and efficiently.  Chrome’s extensions are nice (they are what initially won me over), but, to be fair, Firefox has better ones.  After all, the ad blocker for Firefox literally removes the ads from the sites.  Chrome merely “hides” them by placing blank slots over them.  It’s still nice not to have to see the ads, but they still have to take that split second to load.  Additionally, the ad blockers for Chrome are far less reliable, as they do occasionally miss some ads.  Also, Firefox has some extensions that really maximize its security.  Chrome, well, it’s getting there.  Of course, Chrome’s extensions are still young and have a lot of maturing to do, so this explains Mozilla’s dominance.

Nevertheless, the trade off between really strong add-ons and ridiculously fast browsing speeds is worth it.  Chrome is just that fast.  Additionally, I really like the streamlined nature of Chrome.  It only puts what’s necessary on the screen – none of the extra crap.  While I do appreciate seeing my options, Chrome’s streamlined window leaves few distractions, which is nice.  I don’t even mind the fact that customization of the window is limited, especially compared to other browsers.

Overall, my opinion of Chrome is very high.  For the average person who doesn’t care about super-high security (lack of a NoScript function for Chrome is very dissapointing), it will be a godsend.  It has its shortcomings that I hope will be amended in the future, but those shortcomings will rarely conflict with the average user.  And for the speed that it gives you, Chrome simply can’t be beat…at the moment.

So, that’s that.  I now use Google Chrome.  Of course, I’ll continue to keep a lookout to see what the other browsers do to improve their services, but Google has set the bar very high.  I have a feeling I’ll be keeping this one for quite some time.

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~ by digitallysmitten on February 24, 2010.

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