Uninstalling: Google Chrome

As you might expect from one of the monoliths of the knowledge era, the launch of a new web browser from Google, Chrome, has attracted a lot of attention in the last few days.

In the space of a day it has already grabbed something like a 3% share of the browser market.

It's meant to be one of the fastest and smartest browsers around, making effective use of a lot of the open source research which has come before it. (And remaining admirably open source as well, feeding back innovation into the community).

I tried it out yesterday and did find it quite nimble at loading pages and featuring a clean & simple Google interface that we've come to know so well.

But ultimately I've decided to uninstall it and maybe come back for a look in a little while. 

I have no problem with Google - they have produced (or bought up, rebranded and released) a raft of great web based applications over the years - including Blogger of course. I'll generally go to YouTube first for videos, mainly use Gmail and Google talk for communication, track traffic to this blog with Analytics and have had some fun with Sketchup.

But Chrome, so far, doesn't really give me what I want in a browser.

It is streamlined to the point of oversimplification for me - something like a point and click disposable camera. It does what it's meant to do but I just want a whole lot more control. The menu options give you virtually nothing to fiddle around with and there are at least a dozen add-on features that I have in Firefox 3 (including Ubiquity, which I mentioned the other day) that I'd really prefer to keep using.

These include mouse gestures (browser control by right-clicking and making shapes with your mouse - faster than going to the buttons all day), Ad-block plus, foxytunes (a music player control bar in the browser),  fireftp (an ftp client), colorzilla (for identifying colours on screen), measure-it (a click and drag onscreen measuring tool) and my gmail notifier. Not to mention the array of themes that Firefox community members have produced to brighten up the browser - hard to imagine life without Pimpzilla and its gold-bling buttons and leopard skin tabs background.

Not to mention the fact that Chrome simultaneously installed something called Google Updater, which constantly runs in the background, chewing up processing power and which I haven't yet figured out how to remove.

On a more pragmatic level, you can do all of the lab testing that you like with a new piece of software but it's only when it hits the real world that a lot of the flaws in it really become apparent - particularly security problems (which have already been found apparently). It just makes sense to let the dust settle and see what else comes up in the next few weeks or months. After all, it's not like it's some exclusive club that you have to join from day one.

On a more emotional level, I think that Firefox still deserves our support. It has consistently raised the bar in browser development and, as I've already mentioned, still has a number of features that aren't found elsewhere.

And is it just me or does the Chrome logo look just a bit like a Poke ball - the thing that Pokemon creatures come out of. Gotta catch 'em all indeed.