Seduced by Google Chrome

Resistance, as The Borg would say, is futile.

Every so often, I give the latest version of Google's Chrome browser a try. Each time, I walk away frustrated, returning to Firefox and my collection of favorite extensions. But slowly, insidiously, Google has been reeling me in. Improving and tweaking its browser to the point where even I -- a hardened, grizzled, long-time Netscape user -- have to admit defeat. In my first The Long View post, I'll tell you why this is and why you should care . . .

I first used Netscape in 1995, after getting frustrated how poorly NCSA Mozaic ran on my $10,000 HP-UX workstation. I lived through the browser wars, never once forsaking Netscape (unless you count the occasional tryst with a website that only worked with IE). When Netscape became the open-source Mozilla, I naturally switched to that.

From time to time, I'd try various builds of Opera, Safari, and Chrome. But they'd never manage to dull my desire to return to the browser I liked the best.

Cut to present day: the intertubes are humming with two related stories. First, the incessant rise in Chrome's popularity (something like doubling its market share so far this year). Second, benchmarks of the Chrome 5.0 Beta (more than twice as fast as Firefox 3.6 on SunSpider). I figure I'd better try it again, so it's off to the Chrome Beta Channel I go.

Let's see what all the fuss is about, shall we?

Well... wow. I usually take benchmarks with a bucketful of salt, but this time it actually seems noticeable in the real world. Chrome really is significantly faster: and not just in Google's JavaScript-heavy webapps like Gmail.

Of course, there's still niggles, but Google has been building a thriving community of extension writers. Some of them have helped ease my transition. In a future post, I'll share my favorite extensions.

I have a horrible feeling that Netscape and I are getting a divorce. Will it get to keep my cache? [You're fired -Ed.]

What's your opinion of Chrome? Do you have a favorite extension to recommend? Let us know in the comments below...

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations .

This story, "Seduced by Google Chrome" was originally published by Computerworld.

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