The extension that makes Google Chrome bearable

I’ve heard a lot of people extolling the virtues of the Google Chrome browser. I tried it a few times. I even tried to make it my default browser for a couple of months. It didn’t last long, even though there are a lot of good things about it.

Here’s what I like about Google Chrome:

  1. Like Firefox and Opera, it’s cross-platform (works on Windows, Mac, and Linux).
  2. It loads pages quickly.
  3. Tab switching is fast. Sometimes in Firefox if you have too many tabs open, there is a slight delay before the page will show up after you switch to an even already-loaded page.
  4. The status bar (well, at least to show you what URL you’re hovering over) pops up only on hover. This is great for netbooks, which have scant vertical screen real estate.
  5. Extension installation or theme changing doesn’t require a browser restart.
  6. Private browsing can be opened in a new window that operates simultaneously with the regular browsing session. This is very handy for testing what your Google profile or Amazon wishlist looks like to the outside world without having to disrupt your workflow.

Ah, but here is what I don’t like:

  1. Even though it generally loads pages up quickly, every now and then the loading just hangs in the middle. This has happened to me in both Windows and Linux, on two separate computers with two separate internet connections.
  2. If you download a file, a little download progress bar pops up at the bottom of the browser. When the download is finished, though, the bar doesn’t disappear.
  3. Theoretically, Flash crashing one tab shouldn’t affect any of the other tabs, but I’ve experienced Flash suddenly turning into a frowny face, and having that happen in every single Chrome window (apparently, it’s the Flash plugin itself that’s failing and not any particular page, but this has happened to me in only Chrome, not Firefox).
  4. The address bar will recognize URLs if I start typing the beginning of the URL, but if I start typing the middle of it or some other key phrase, sometimes it’ll bring up the URL I’m looking for, and sometimes it won’t.
  5. Some sites do not behave well with the middle-click on Chrome (WordPress tag surfing, for example… sometimes Google News). Instead of opening in a new tab, the site will insist on opening the link in the same tab.
  6. I don’t have enough money to buy a proper site certificate for my websites, so when I use https for certain things on my own websites, I get a security warning. In Firefox, I can just install the Mismatched Domains extension to avoid this warning. In Chrome, I have no choice but to just put up with the extra click to get through the warning.
  7. The tab behavior in Chrome doesn’t work with the way I browse websites.

This last point was really my biggest pet peeve. I realize I’m in the minority here, but even if that is the default behavior, I should have the option to switch it. Now that the Modified Tab Ordering Chrome extension has come out, Chrome is finally bearable for me. I understand the reasoning behind opening tabs next to the current tab instead of at the very right. Supposedly it helps you not to lose track of tabs when you have too many. Whatever. If you don’t want to lose track of a tab you just opened, open it in the foreground instead of the background (Control-Shift-Click).

This is the way I surf: I have a bunch of root links I visit every day. I open them all at once from my bookmarks. Then I middle-click or Control-click the sublinks I’m interested in. Those sublinks all appear on the far right. Once I’m done closing all the root links, I can finally read all the sublinks. With the Chrome default behavior, I would have to either read all of the first root link’s sublinks and then go to the next root link, or deliberately skip over all those sublinks to get over to the next root link. That’s not the way I do things.

Thanks to Brad Dwyer for making this extension available!

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4 Comments

  1. afaik firefox’ new version will be shipping with that same tabbing behavior you don’t like. it took me a month to get used to it…

  2. Thanks for posting this =) I’ve been thinking about trying out Chrome, and you have some good points to consider here. I think I’ll just stick to Firefox for now!

  3. I am in the exact same position you are, surfing-workflow-wise. After installing a couple of extensions (Adblock, FlashBlock, Sidewiki, The Camelizer), I found Chrome more than just worth using on a Mac. For some strange reason, Safari has been crashing on me almost on an hourly basis. The Modified Tab Ordering extension is a lifesaver, thank you so much for posting a link to that.

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