Bob Rankin: Is Chrome the Best Browser?

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By Bob Rankin

Should You Switch to Chrome?

Google introduced its Chrome Web browser in December, 2008. As of October, 2011, Chrome was the third most-used Web browser, with a 25 per cent worldwide market share. And according to StatCounter, it’s on the verge of taking over the #2 spot from Firefox within weeks. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer’s market share has dipped from 50% to 40% in the past years, and some are predicting that Chrome’s current growth trajectory will put it in the top spot by the middle of 2012.

Chrome is strikingly different from its two major competitors, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. The latter two browsers have become feature-bloated, according to many users. Chrome has a minimalist feel; it doesn’t even support RSS feeds. The emphasis in Chrome is on speed, simplicity, and security. Chrome runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. The most recent version can be downloaded here.

Chrome may have had a decisive edge in speed when it first appeared. But that advantage has been narrowed in recent rounds of the browser wars. Different benchmark tests give different rankings, particularly when a test is designed by the developer of one of the browsers being tested. But a wide variety of reviews suggest that Chrome and Firefox are about tied in speed, and that IE is only an insignificant step behind them. See my related article Which Browser is Fastest? for some additional information on browser speed testing.

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This excerpt is shared with permission from Bob Rankin.

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3 thoughts on “Bob Rankin: Is Chrome the Best Browser?

  1. My main browser is Opera. On the few pages Opera doesn’t display properly I resort to IE9. The biggest problem I have with Chrome is that I don’t trust Google, never have, and likely never will. I wonder if someday we’ll find everything people have done on Chrome listed on some website. I’ve always found Firefox to be a pain. Only a super fast internet connection will notice any difference in speeds. Since we’re at the outside limit of our ADSL2 exchange, every browser is just as slow as the others.

    Once again the bottom line: to each their own

  2. Biggest problem with Chrome is, it never clears out the cache. In particular, the temp folder gets full very quickly. This SLOWS computer performance drastically. Yes I had everything set internally to supposedly clean out everything on shut down. I would have to stop browsing and run CCleaner to clear up the temp folders on my older and slower home computer, my latest and greatest computer for work could handle it better, but still was slowing things down by the end of the day.

    I use IE again now and couldn’t be happier (firefox is blocked at work). I call BS on Chrome being faster and more secure, just a bunch of hype IMHO.

  3. I switched to Chrome as my default browser the first time I used it, but a few months ago it developed a serious problem for me, but probably for very few others. It no longer allows me to print my online bank pages because, for some unidentified reason, it can’t read the pages when I try to print even though it can read the pages without a problem when I view them on the browser. Perhaps that’s because they’re in traditional (Big5) Chinese instead of simplified Chinese, or because the bank doesn’t support Chrome. I don’t have the same problem with Firefox (I’m using the Nightly 11.0a1 beta as my default browser now) or IE9. That’s enough to keep me from using Chrome as my default. OTOH, Firefox has a problem when I look at the comments to articles in the Washington Post: it doesn’t show them all. That’s a recent glitch, so I switch to Chrome when I want to read them. Chrome used to have serious problems reading and rendering PDF files from medical journal websites on my machine, so I would have to switch to Firefox. That may be because I’m still using Adobe Acrobat Pro 7 on my Win7 64-bit OS machine — Acrobat Pro 7 doesn’t run well on Win 7 (it won’t install the PDF printer driver, and Adobe said that if I give them US$100, I could upgrade to Pro 10, but I think that this is extortion because Pro 7 worked perfectly for one year on Win7 Ultimate RC1, and then Adobe hobbled it when MS started selling Win7).

    Chrome is probably the best browser out there, but it doesn’t do one of the things that I need it to do, so it’s only a sometimes app for me. The other problem I have with Chrome is Google itself. Even though Google offers a lot of great free apps and services, they take advantage of their position on the Net. I don’t like the way they force users to accept things, like the upcoming UI change to Gmail. I know that MS does the same thing with MS Office (I really hate the ribbon and still use Office 2003), but it’s an app that I have to use because all my clients use it and the Libre Office/Open Office dinosaurs don’t measure up. I don’t have to use Google products.

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