Google+, Day 10: Which Browser Is Best for Google+?

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30 Days With Google+: Day 10

Not all Google+ is created equally. As I have delved into the Google social network for the 30 Days With Google+ journey, I have found that the experience is different depending on the browser you choose as your portal to Google+.

In general, I expect a mainstream website to work regardless of which browser is used. I think it is a responsibility of each browser to follow existing standards and to deliver compatible content consistently, and I think it is a responsibility of Web developers to test a site in each of the major browsers and ensure that the site renders accurately and provides the same experience for users no matter which browser they use.

Your Google+ experience may vary depending on which browser you choose.
Looking at Google+ in Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 5, Chrome 13, and Safari 5, the overall look and layout is consistent from browser to browser. There are really only two things that stood out for me in comparing Google+ between the browsers, and one issue I have yet to resolve regardless of browser.

The first thing I noticed is that the initial loading of the Google+ site seems much slower in Firefox. Actually, it was primarily the initial loading of images. Where other browsers seem to just pop the site up all at once, with Firefox I could basically watch as each image placeholder was populated.

This is really unscientific, and not really an indictment of Firefox because it's really more of an observation than an "issue". I only noticed this behavior on initial load--subsequent views loaded instantly. I assume the images were cached after that initial download.

The second thing that stood out for me with a specific browser and Google+ is that the animated graphic elements do not perform well in Internet Explorer 9. In fact, because I use IE9 as my primary browser the flaky performance of dragging and dropping users into Circles significantly impacted my experience and opinion of the Circles interface.

In Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, I can click a user, or multiple users, and drag the contact(s) down to one of my Circles and all of the animation involved is very smooth. With Internet Explorer 9, the animation is jerky--like it only shows every 5th frame or something so it appears that the dragging is more like "hopping" across the screen.

Granted, I still have issues with the Circles interface that go beyond how smoothly the whiz bang graphics work, but it is a much less frustrating or annoying experience using any browser other than IE9. Other Google+ activities involving animation--like Google+ Games--also seem less smooth in IE9 than the other browsers. In fairness to IE9, though, playing games is a little glitch in all of the browsers as a function of my PC and my Internet connection as well.

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