Back To Firefox From Chrome

After my daughter’s school started using Chrome, it seemed that the browser wasn’t big enough for the both of us. So I switched back to Firefox.

In a way, my switch away from Chrome was prompted by the success of Google for Education, and of Chromebooks. At school, my daughter Maddie uses one of the over 50,000 Chromebooks purchased by Montgomery County, Maryland, for use in K-12 schools.

Maddie has to sign in to her school Chrome account to do some of her homework. She does so on the office computer, otherwise known as dad’s laptop. When she started doing this, strange things happened to my browser, to the extent that Chrome no longer seemed like home to me. At first I thought about coexisting in Chrome, and set up a Chrome account for myself.

Then I considered switching to a different browser, and came up with multiple reasons for switching back to Firefox. It would be simpler to use a different browser from the one Maddie uses. I’m still a little annoyed at Google for discontinuing Google Reader. I was curious about what had happened in Firefox while I was away. Some recent browser comparisons favor Firefox over Chrome and other browsers.

Firefox this time round? So far, not bad.

Haiku-Ready Headline

PCWorld gets it:
Underwhelmed By Chrome OS?
That’s Kinda the Point

Yes, the two parts of the headline are 7 and 5 syllables. Just add a first line, and… instant addition to my collection of Chrome haikus.

Chrome defines a web appliance. I believe there’s a big market for such Chromebooks if they overwhelm in terms of speed and value.

Chrome Lost Its Shine?

Google’s Chrome browser launched a month ago: Svetlana (Profy) posted on the one-month anniversary, and Om followed up.

Svetlana presents numbers showing a falloff in Chrome use after the impressive early adoption rate. My own use reflects this: Chrome was my main browser for the week or two after its release, then I went back to Firefox. I fired up Chrome to write this post, though.

Her explanation reminded me of my own first impressions of Chrome: “Chrome is a rare Google product where “beta” actually means work in progress” is “this is an early beta, and hence a real beta” one month on.

I expect Chrome to gain shine, and regain share, as more months elapse.

Google Chromes Its Web

Umair Haque offers advice on How to Chrome Your Industry. He salutes Google’s open-source Chrome browser.

Chrome isn’t about building and strengthening core competencies, but edge competencies: competencies shared with others. The more Chrome – remember, it’s open source – is hacked, remixed, and tweaked, into still better browsers, engines, and plug-ins, the less Google itself has to invest to explode the utility of the entire www itself for everyone.

I agree with every word in that quote. I even agree with Umair that other firms (his examples include Ford, Unilever, and Wal-Mart) might do well to follow in Google’s Chrome footsteps with cooperative, market-creating activities.

But there is a vital point missing from the analogy between Google and these other firms. It’s not clear how any of them are as well placed as Google to benefit from such activities. Pretty much all the markets and other conversations on the web – even those that have yet to start – are complements to Google’s ad business.

This is not to deny the importance of the edge competences emphasized in Umair’s post. It is to add that they are particularly important as complements to Google’s core competence in web advertising.

Chrome Versus Firefox

I don’t like the post title: can’t the free/open source browsers get along? If there’s any versus, shouldn’t they line up against the common enemy, and amidst the smaller tribes?

But Chrome and Firefox don’t seem able to get along, at least not on this (Windows XP) laptop. Every time I’ve had them running at the same time, Flash has crashed.

As an early adopter, albeit one with a little early adoption fatigue, I am using Chrome. In fact, I’m using it to post this. But many of the other things I’d like to adopt early come in the form of Firefox extensions, and Chrome doesn’t yet support extensions. I’ll give just one example of a new(ish) extension: Mozilla’s own Ubiquity.

There are also some extensions I’ve got used to, such as Copy as HTML Link and FoxyTunes. I may well be heading back to Firefox, while keeping an eye on Chrome development.

Google Chrome First Impressions

Many of us who are highish on the web adoption curve have downloaded, installed, and tried Chrome, the new browser from Google. Some of those further along the curve won’t try Chrome until it runs on Linux (or perhaps OSX). Here are some of my first impressions.

  • I don’t like the name Chrome. It suggests unnecessary, ornamental pseudo-features. I’d even prefer GBrowser.
  • The comic book by Scott McCloud is great. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better introduction to a product.
  • The browser is, by all accounts, fast. It seems that way to me. But in saying that, I’m comparing bare Chrome and extended Firefox. By bare I mean that the early beta of Chrome doesn’t allow extensions.
  • Yes, this is an early beta, and hence a real beta.
  • The design is very tab-centric, in terms of user interface and of architecture. I like that.
  • The lack of a “home page” button seems very strange. Apart from that, I like the sparse look of Chrome.
  • Chrome is open source software. To be specific, it’s under the BSD. So other browsers can incorporate Chrome code.
  • Following from that, it seems to me that Chrome is intended by the Google top brass to keep the browser market competitive, and hence to improve the experience of the web, rather than to kill any other browser or platform. But I’m not saying that Google would shed tears were Chrome to hurt Microsoft’s browser or operating system offerings.
  • I’m impressed by how well-kept the GBrowser secret was. I wonder if an impending leak was the reason for the release before Chrome had some key “openness” features, such as extensions and Linux support.
  • So much has been written about Chrome already that I decided not to link to any of it. That’s a reflection on the quantity, rather than the quality, or what I’ve read elsewhere.

Shiny New Chrome on Old Windows?

So, using Firefox 3.0, I tried to install Google’s Chrome browser. I was told that I needed to install Windows XP Service Pack 2 first. I admit that I should have done this a while ago on this seldom-used desktop.

So, off I went to download SP2. I was told that, in order to download it, I would need to use Internet Explorer (or allow automatic updates). So off I went to Windows Update. But to use that site, I have to be using a current version of Internet Explorer. Yes, that does seem like a joke to me, but apparently Microsoft mean it.

So off I went to Internet Explorer Get It Now. You’re probably ahead of me here. IE7 and IE8beta each require… SP2.

I think I’ll wait to get my hands on the newish laptop downstairs before kicking the Chrome tires.