The other day I left my Linux desktop on for several hours and when I came back, it seemed everything hung there. I managed to open `top`, and found the cause being Firefox eating up all the memory. Long ago I complained that and somebody told me that it must be some extension. But anyway I’m considering a switch to Google Chrome seriously. Now, several days later, I’m quite happy with Chrome and here is my summary.
Every extension in Firefox has an equivalent for Chrome
Several indispensable extensions of Firefox for me are –
- Delicious – bookmark interesting pages and save on the web. Currently Chrome’s delicious extension isn’t as good as the one of Firefox but it’s enough for my use.
- Search Status – displays alexa ranking and Google pagerank. It’s designed for SEO but I think it also helps judge if the page you’re visiting is authoritative.
- Firebug – a must have tool for web developers. In Chrome it’s the built-in developer tools.
What makes Chrome better than Firefox
- Chrome is faster
- Desktop notification. It ultimately makes web apps the same as desktop apps. For example, when Gmail gets a new email, a notification pops up from one corner of the screen just as Microsoft Outlook does. I have been depending on Gmail itself as my email client for years and it now becomes better. Also Gmail chat behaves like any instant messenger when you turn the notifications on.
What I miss in Firefox
Firefox has Awesome Bar and Chrome has Omnibox. One feature I use frequently in Firefox’s address bar is defining a keyword for any search engine (often an online dictionary) and typing “[keyword] query” will take me to the search results. Omnibox is also awesome in that it also has the very same feature.
I rarely use bookmarks but heavily depend on Firefox address bar’s auto suggestions. I always type some keywords into the address bar and Firefox searches my browsing history for the matching URLs (whose URL or page title contains the keywords). Overtime it learns from my previous choice and becomes smart. I’m also used to pressing the tab key for navigating through the list of suggestions.
But Omnibox tries to be even more smarter so some simple tasks become hard. Chrome invented a “tab to search” feature – when you press tab, it tries to determine if the typed in string is a clue for some search engine and lets you input the query. If it fails, the tab key takes you out of the Omnibox. Using the arrow keys for navigation is slow and painful since my right hand must leave the normal position.
To overcome this I decided to use the newtab page and pin some pages in the “most visited pages” section. It would be great if the number of pages and the size of thumbnail are configurable.