Why I don't use Google Chrome or other browsers besides Opera
Saturday, May 28, 2011 9:47:43 PM
In what really matters, here are the cons of Google Chrome (those I can remember, because they're many), most of them are present in other browsers too:
Tabs and windows
Opera tabs are MDI, which means means they can be resized, organized, minimized, etc, as they were sub-windows of the browser, the ones on Chrome and other browsers are just tabs.
Pop-up windows open in new widows, in Opera they open in a new tab. Opera never open things in new window unless you explicitly gives the instruction to do so: what I never do. Other browsers opt for a mix of the two (tabs and windows) and make everything more complicated... Browse through windows is from the time when tabs didn't exist and is more complicated because the windows are mixed up with other open programs in the Alt + TAB.
New Tab page, or Speed Dial:
- Chrome doesn't allow you to choose the exact websites that you want to put on the page;
- Doesn't allow more than 8 websites;
- Doesn't has keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + # (Number of Speed Dial item) to go to the page.
- You don't have the choice of how much time you wish the websites (and its thumbnails) are updated.
- Firefox hasn't such a page!
- It has a list of recently closed tabs but only present a limited number of them (in my test it has been 9 only);
- To have access to the list you need to open a new tab, in Opera there's a button on the end of the tab bar;
- When you close the last tab on the last window the browser closes completely instead of showing the "Speed Dial", if I wished to close the browser completely I would use the X of the window (or Alt + F4), not the one in the tab (or Ctrl + W / mouse gesture down -> right).
It only can be made in a per-window basis, in Opera it's on per-tab basis (you can have private and ordinary tabs on a same window).
Chrome (and other browsers) doesn't offer sessions feature to save the tabs and windows that are opened so you can restart your browsing from where you stopped by reopening the "session".
If you open many tabs it becomes impossible to recognize which is which, in Opera when you hover them you locate because it shows thumbnails. PS. I hate the solution of other browsers to make a tab bar that scroll sideways to see more tabs, this is a cumbersome, unnecessary work, a waste of time to find the tabs when you have smarter solutions in Opera (you also have the option to wrap tabs into multiple lines or show an extender menu if you prefer).
When you close a tab it's completely removed from RAM, so to reopen this tab or the same website in another tab means reloading the website rather than reopening it from RAM, which means it won't be as fast as Opera or other browsers that maintains the data in RAM (RAM was made to be used with useful things like this that increase the overall speed of browsing).
The use of independent tabs can waste more RAM (the RAM in this case is spent in a sense that I find useless). Security flaws and crashes that are supposedly present in browsers that don't apply the sandbox system could be fixed (and they are by other browsers) instead of applying a system that masks the real problem and in the end doesn't prevent crashes and other failures on security / data theft caused by other parts of the software. Furthermore, even a sandbox system can be broken, Java and Flash run in the sandbox and cause havoc anyway!
Shortcut browsing / Usability
Opera has built-in mouse gestures (even with the existence of extensions that add this functionality, they don't take away the trouble of having to install them while another browser is already ready to be used out of the box and have much less negative points than the ones I show in this text).
Chrome has a good list of keyboard shortcuts but Opera has more (and is customizable).
The use of the Ctrl and Shift modifier keys in Opera to open websites in new tab / new tab in background doesn't work in the address field, text fields that post with Enter button on the pages, commands in context menus of links, images or selected text (for searching), Go to web address, etc, is missing in other browsers. To force the opening of some of these commands in the current tab is a missing option also.
Chrome allows adding and modifying the search engines but don't show them as options to search from the context menu of selected text.
Images context menu:
- It isn't possible to reload them individually if there was any problem with the loading (or you know that the image has been updated on the server and want to reload it individually, or you have "stopped" the loading of the page before the image download was completed and just to see this picture you'll have to reload the whole page);
- Doesn't allow opening the image in a new tab in the foreground;
- Hasn't a proprieties window (dimensions, size, alternative text, etc...).
The zoom control of the page doesn't has a fast way of resetting to 100% unless you use the keyboard shortcut for it.
It hasn't useful commands such as the synchronization control right from the main menu, you need to enter the required browser settings to find that the feature exists.
The synchronized items cannot be accessed through a web interface like in Opera Link.
The auto-update cannot be configured or disabled (only through regedit on Windows or similar commands in other operating systems).
It hasn't an "about:config" page.
As Firefox, it hasn't .ini configuration files that let you freely edit profile files like the search engine list (what open browsers they are, aren't they??).
Layout engines / Browser behavior
The layout engine implemented by Safari and Chrome (Webkit), Firefox (Gecko) and Internet Explorer (Trident), loads certain elements of the pages before displaying them, what causes a white screen before displaying the page. Opera (Presto) was developed to give priority to the loading of the text of the page and display it as soon as possible, leaving less priority to other elements that in my opinion are really less important that the text information that I can already be reading and stop the loading of the page if what I want is there and even use the links that are already loaded together with the text to proceed to another page, in other browsers: white screen.
If I open a tab, I type and hit Enter there is a kind of delay / hang, a blank screen, the hang before connecting to the website also occurs simply from one site to another in the same tab, not in Opera (based on test, both on the same computer).
Opera is the only browser that allows you to select hyperlinked text starting from inside of the hyperlinked area to get only the part of the text you want, in the other browsers you're obliged to click and drag the mouse at least one character before the link (and get more than the text you wanted to the clipboard / search / notes).
In Opera the TAB key switch the focus only between form elements (Shift + arrow keys switch between the other elements), in other browsers I need to press the TAB key more times, for example, to login in Hotmail where there's a link ("Forgot your password?") where the focus will pass before than the checkboxes that I want to check / uncheck sometimes (this is a silly example, take other pages where you have a search field and a lot of top links before it as another confirmation of the utility of separating form elements from the others). This is a major improvement for people who browse primarily with the keyboard.
Criticism to "minimalism":
- It isn't a new concept, in Opera the tab bar always has been above the address bar and you can even hide the address bar and customize the UI by moving the address field to another bar... Some users like to use the shortcut F2 to enter the address or search at any moment.
- When you're reading a text on the web you'll always end up having to scroll down the page anyway, so the extra space earned by the minimalism is useless...
- Minimalism on the number of resources? Chrome still has the largest installer of all even with the lack of a lot of features and moreover: it duplicates all its files for each user on the computer.
License / Company-consumer interaction
Open source? No one can guarantee me that a software is completely open source. Before being published, the base (Chromium project) gets modified (are added: Flash Player, PDF reader, the name Google and the differentiated logo, the auto-updater "GoogleUpdate", the RLZ, etc...) then who guarantee that other changes aren't made that aren't present in the original source code and I wouldn't use the software if I knew about them?
Lastly, Google does not behave as a good company. They do their websites targeted for use on certain browsers instead of using the standards effectively (and even implements non-standard things to work on certain browsers), and for example, right now services like the new version of the search for images and "Instant" are still unavailable to Opera browser users despite it being perfectly able to load pages when the User-Agent String is masked to one that is on the list of "allowed" browsers to access them. 
Update: Google made Instant available for Opera users, "only" 10 months later.
Google is as a company that doesn't listen to its users, being unable to handle the feedback they receive on their forums (forums that are read and moderated by people who are not employees of the company), that is, in the end it doesn't accept suggestions.
Simply, the language used in their blogs, the kind of humor used, the justifications behind the actions it has been taken..., Google doesn't praises me!
Notice that I didn't need to cite differentials of Opera like the notes feature, Opera Turbo or Opera Unite for example, or Opera Mail for those who want an e-mail client integrated into the browser (and yet still the browser that has the smallest installer), in addition to its completely customizable interface (add / move / remove buttons and other UI elements [even let's you to create custom buttons])... Opera wins in the details..., and I could make similar comparisons with any other browser, all of them fit together in the same amateur level of Google Chrome.