Google Chrome for Mac – An Early Look

By this point Google Chrome is old news since it’s been out for months. At least for Windows users it has anyway. For Google, releasing Chrome in a Mac compatible version hasn’t been much of a priority.

mac-google-chrome-logoWith a few glaring exceptions, these days most companies have moved away from treating Mac users like inconvenient step children. (Can you hear me Intuit? Your Quickbooks & Quicken support for Mac is horrid!)

And since Mac users make up a disproportionate number of the technology early adapters I’m surprised that Google Chrome’s Mac version is so far behind Chrome for Windows.

Even now when you go to the Google Chrome for Mac web page they say it is still in development. But if you’ll give Google your email address they’ll shout at you when it’s released. I did that. Months ago.

This past week I finally got tired enough of waiting to check it out for myself that I went to the Chrome for Mac developer download page and got a copy for myself to take it for a spin.

Here’s the thing: It’s a fantastic browser.

Strengths of Google Chrome

Speed. The first thing I noticed is how incredibly fast Google Chrome is. I mean it’s crazy fast. With everything. When you launch it, it barely bounces in the dock twice before it opens. Most web pages load way faster than with Firefox or Safari. And it shuts down quickly too!

When you’re on the web all day long like I am, saving a couple seconds on every single page load adds up to a big increase in productivity by the end of the day.

Accurate rendering. I ran Chrome through the Acid3 Test & it passes. Unlike Firefox. That means you see what you’re supposed to on the web with Chrome.

Easy to Set Up. When I first installed Chrome on my Mac it gave me a choice to import my bookmarks and settings from either Firefox or Safari (or neither). It brought all my bookmarks and saved passwords over seamlessly. They’re are a bunch of Themes you can choose from to customize the look of your browser. I chose one that looks like brushed metal. Seemed chrome-like to me.

Weaknesses

Still in “development.” Since Chrome for Mac is still in development you shouldn’t be surprised if you find some bugs now and then. I’ve only seen a couple problems since I started using it. For example one time a text box on a form wouldn’t let me enter anything. But I am writing this post using Chrome.

No bookmark management yet. I have way too many bookmarks in my browsers so I organized them into folders. With Chrome for Mac all bookmark folders are at the bottom of the rest of the bookmarks under “other bookmarks.” So to get to a bookmark in a folder I have to scroll down the bottom of my list, go across to a fly out list of folders, then up to the appropriate folder, and finally across to the bookmark I want.

I’m looking forward to the manage bookmarks feature being turned on so I can rearrange them for an easier workflow.

No 1Password Integration. Yet. This is a big one for me, and the primary reason why Chrome won’t be my default browser on my Macs anytime soon. 1Password is a fantastic tool for managing website login credentials for your Mac. It syncs your logins across browsers and even syncs between my desktop & my laptop.

1Password was one of the first programs I bought when I made the switch to Macs, and with the number of websites I got to every day between social media sites & client sites it is a huge productivity saver for me. Until Chrome for Mac actually comes out of development I don’t expect the good folks at 1Password will invest too much time integrating with it.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day Google Chrome for Mac is an excellent browser. It’s even tempting to make it my default browser. Google seems bent on raising the bar for web browsers and the winners will be all of us consumers who will have better tools to access the web.

But for now I’ll stick to Firefox, even though it is slower. With all the extensions I’m using on Firefox (especially 1Password) it is still a more versatile tool over all for my work needs.

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