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Google's Chrome: 7 reasons for and 7 reasons against

J. R. Raphael | Sept. 5, 2008
There's ample reason to be excited about the release, and just as much reason to be wary.

6. It opens new doors on your home page.

Chrome comes with a default dynamic home page. As you use it, the program remembers the sites that you visit most often. The top nine of those appear in snapshots on your home page, along with your most commonly used search engines and bookmarks. There's no force-feeding here, though: You can override the dynamic home page with any home page you want, just as you can set the default search engine to any service you prefer.

7. It lets you stay incognito.

Like Internet Explorer 8's recent beta release, Chrome offers a private browsing option--one it calls Incognito. You can open a special type of new window and rest easy knowing nothing you do in it will be logged or saved on your computer. And unlike Internet Explorer's, Chrome's Incognito window is isolated from the rest of your browsing experience, so you can have your private window open alongside your regular windows, and each will operate independently.

Seven Chrome-Related Concerns

1. It's only in its first beta.

This is Chrome's first test release, so problems are bound to crop up over the coming months. If like most people you rely heavily on Web browsing, you run a risk by putting your online life into the hands of an unproven product. Visits to some plug-in-oriented sites such as logmein.com have generated errors ("This application has failed to start because xpcom.dll was not found..."). Do you want to deal with that kind of uncertainty daily?

2. You won't have any add-ons.

Add-ons are a huge draw for Firefox fans, and none of these are available in Chrome yet. Google does intend to create an API for such extensions, but for now you'll have to make do without your AdBlocks, Better Gmails, and BugMeNots--or you'll have to switch between browsers to use the add-ons you want when you want them.

3. You can't synchronize.

One big plus of Firefox is its ability to synchronize across multiple computers using Mozilla's Weave option. This arrangement allows you to keep your home browser, your laptop browser, and your work browser looking identical at all times--and once you get used to that level of synchronization, it's hard to give up. Chrome doesn't yet have that capability.

4. You may draw the short stick on standards.

Standards get a little less standard as this new player enters the equation. It's based on WebKit, the same open-source system that drives Apple's Safari; but when you look at pages in Chrome compared to pages in Firefox or IE, you'll notice a difference in text formatting. And since most sites give coding priority to the market leader, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment with Chrome.

 

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