Monday, September 26, 2011

Google Chrome > Firefox

I've been a huge and long running fan of the Firefox browser for quiet some time. Today I finally made the conscious choice to move away from it and make Chrome my default browser of choice. Now I know this is probably a little later than most and I could and should have done it earlier but this is why.

I've always like chrome. As a browser it was fast and slick and clean, but Firefox was more mature at the time and most importantly had the plug-in support that I have come to rely of daily.

The first was password and bookmark syncing via Foxmarks. I have numerous browsing environments, my work PC, my work Laptop and my home PC dual booting Windows and Ubuntu. With this syncing tool I was able to keep my Firefox set-up the same between all of them. A bookmark and password set on one session were available at the next without any fuss. Firefox (Mozilla) then produced their own version which I migrated to and used until I started getting problems with bookmarks randomly changing order and disappearing. As it turns out they stopped developing it and with each new version of Firefox it became unusable. So I moved back to Foxmarks but found out that they'd spun off the password syncing to another plugin - LastPass. This plugin is just ghastly to use, it's only redeeming feature is that it syncs with IE, a nice to have but not a requirement for me.

I persisted with it as long as I could but today i finally gave up. I like to keep it simple and Google do simple the right way. So now rather than having Chrome idling in the background for occasional use (mostly Angry Birds) it has now been promoted to my primary browser of choice.

With Chrome I sync everything securely with my Google account. I can sync as before with the added benefit that it also syncs with the Google browser on my Android 3.1 Tablet (Samsung 10.1).

The Google sync isn't perfect, it's not currently very customisable. I found out after my initial import from Firefox and Sync that I have over 2200+ bookmarks, most of which are multiple duplicate folders and very old. A clean-up does not seem to sync very well and this large amount appears to be breaking the sync of Android. After cleaning it all up on my home setup I deleted the online store and resync'd clean, this however did not sync properly with the Android. It added the new clean setup but failed to remove the old defunct bookmarks and folders, which I have to remove manually. This is turn has thrown up some process errors on the device so I've turned it off for now. Today I'll work getting the home and work bookmarks clean and synced before pushing that to the Android.

It is now the slick and fast browser I always knew but now it does all the cool the plugin stuff that Firefox offered. All those features that I couldn't do without are now right there.

AdBlock Plus - always the first plugin I install.
Bookmark and password syncing
IETab - for those pesky sites that insist on IE
In line spelling to correct all my typos

Not to mention all my Google stuff will work seamlessly - Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Blogger, Google+, Piscasa and Reader (not that they didn't with Firefox).

Then there's the memory usage - with both browsers open on the same page on my home PC (Windows 7 x64 with 4GB ram), Firefox is my second largest running process at 101k, Chrome a good 10k below that and it's spitting the processes for both tabs and plugins, making it much easier to kill a webpage that's not responding without having to kill the entire browsing session and other open tabs.

Firefox was excellent for a very long time but they've been comprehensively overtaken by Chrome which goes from strength to strength at a rapid pace.

Now I'll just wait somewhat impatiently for the 64-bit version to blow me away.

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