I downloaded Google Chrome when it first came out just like all the other technology centric types did. I was impressed with its speed and I really liked that it seemed to import my passwords from Firefox (and slightly disturbed). But, without the plug-ins that I rely on, on a daily basis, I just couldn’t use it as my regular browser, so it sat mostly unused on my desktop.
Then, when the Google Updater constantly ran in the background on startup no matter how many ways I tried to disable it, I got annoyed and condemned it to the graveyard of Start –> Programs –> Online –> Browsers –> Chrome.
Recently, I took another look. I can’t even remember what prompted me to check it out again.
First, I had to re-allow Google Update in Comodo Defense+ where it had been set to Blocked Application as the only way I could actually get those processes to stop running all of the time. Then, I had to re-download it and figure out a couple of its nuances.
Morning Coffee for Chrome
Morning Coffee plug-in for Firefox allows the user to define a set of websites that can be opened all at once depending upon which day it is. For example, I check the freelance writing job boards on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. Instead of manually choosing a bunch of bookmarks, or even doing an Open All In Tabs Morning Coffee does it for me, before I’ve had my cup of morning coffee. I have started accomplishing a similar thing by using the Speed Dial plug-in for Firefox.
I’ve discovered a Google Chrome extension called Daily Links that basically does what Morning Coffee does, but I would still prefer the original. Actually, what I would REALLY prefer is synchronizing between Morning Coffee for Chrome and Firefox Morning Coffee settings so that I didn’t have to redo all of my websites when I move to Chrome.
Incognito Feature Kicks Butt and Wins a Friend
Like many others did initially, I dismissed Chrome’s Incognito mode as something of a gimmick. While I have enough intelligence to come up with reasons to use such a mode that don’t involve pornography, I just didn’t see why I would want a whole MODE when I could just use my Distrust plug-in, or run a separate profile.
Then, one day while working at Peaberry Coffee on my now aging badly laptop I finished up my work and my Large Americano and closed down my programs when I remembered that I needed to login and renew my library books. (The Denver Public Library lets you renew your books online. One of the greatest things the Internet has ever wrought, thank you.)
The thought of restarting up Firefox and waiting for it to load was too painful. I have more than a dozen plug-ins installed, but it still seems way to long to have to wait 30 to 45 seconds just to find out if I have to install any new updates, let alone actually get to use my browser.
I have IE, but I virtually never use it, so the odds of it having my library card number remembered were slim.
So, I fired up Chrome with its snazzy list of imported passwords. It started up almost instantly and I was logged in and renewing my books before Firefox would have given my keyboard back control.
While it still has no plug-ins, I have started to use Chrome as my “read and play only” browser. That is, I use Chrome to play Mafia Wars, and to update Facebook for that matter, or Twitter, or FriendFeed, or LinkedIn. I use Chrome to read my Google RSS feed reader. I use Chrome to read Wired, and Business Week, and Denver Post, and ABCNews.
In other words, if I won’t need to get a screenshot, check out page rank, need to clip, bookmark, or otherwise save a page, nor need to Download Them All, or FlashGot selection, then I’ll use Chrome.
I still consider Firefox my real browser and much to Chrome’s chagrin, it is still my default browser.
That being said, there are some things that I really like about Chrome that I think I’ll start looking for plug-ins to implement in Firefox until the next version comes out.
- Incognito Mode – Nothing helps an online writer and web designer more than being able to see what their site looks like to someone who is not the administrator. Incognito mode makes me into any other first time visitor to all my sites without having to change to a new profile. Double bonus: Google searches show un-customized results in Incognito mode. Now, I can see if I really am #2 in a search for auto tweets or if I’m only there because Google knows that I go to ArcticLlama.com a lot for some reason.
- Paste and Go – 99% of the time if I’m pasting a web address into the browser’s URL field, I want to go to that site. How great is it to just right-click for paste and go. The website loads and you never have to take your hand off the mouse or go click the “Go” icon. But, and this is important, there are times that it is VERY important to not just “go”, so I LOVE that it is a choice and not a behavior.
- Searching from the Address Field – At first I hated this, but there is something so simple about not having to select the Google Search field at the top of my browser window to do a search. Now, if only I could get it to default to d8search.com
- Dragging Tab to New Windows / Own Browser – When I first read about this feature, I thought, “Who cares?” But, every time I realize that a tab I have open in Firefox would be better off as its own window instead, I think, “Why can’t I just drag this out like in Chrome?”
But, I’m not going to switch until I get these things:
- Speed Dial – Plug-in, not plug-in, there is no feature I care more about than my Speed Dial, not ad blocking, not NoScript, not password managers, or download managers, NOTHING! The difference between Speed Dial and the Chrome home page is USER CONFIGURABILITY and multiple tabs. In other words, I decide what is on my Speed Dial front page, not whatever I happened to use most this weekend and now has no use for me on Monday.
- Morning Coffee – Very similar to Speed Dial except it groups by function. Is it 8:00 AM on Monday? Then I’ll be wanting to check my stats on about 16 sites and Morning Coffee has them lined up. Is it Tuesday? Time to hunt for new writing gigs, and Morning Coffee has my favorite places to check lined up.
- Ad Block – Speed Dial may be more important, but if I only get two, this is number 2. I’m happy to have ads displayed on the sidebar, and I don’t even block Google AdSense, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to put up with Contera or those other “Ha, ha, you put your mouse here, so we’re putting up an ad,” advertisements. Also, I do end up on hacker sites and forums rather regularly and most of their ads are not the kind of thing the kid eating his muffin next to me at Starbucks wants to see.
- NO CONSTANTLY RUNNING UPDATE PROCESS!!! – Seriously! What the heck is this crap? How often does Chrome update? I know it does other apps too, but how often do they update? Do I really need to have an updater running 24/7? This is what Google is saying to me by running this process constantly on my computer: “What you are doing is not as important as updating our software.” And that is bunk! Before anyone says that it is a small process, I dare you to add up all the small processes that software companies try and run in the background on your computer by default and see how much computing power they chew up. (I’m looking at you Adobe Reader and Crapple QuickTime Player.)
If you haven’t checked out Chrome yet, you might want to try it out.