Saturday, January 2, 2010

Google Chrome for the Mac

...I've been borrowing a Macbook Pro from my friends at Apple to prepare for a Python course we're teaching there late this month. I've been dying to have a Mac to work from for a while and this was a tremendous opportunity to gain exposure without having to lay down the bucks required to own a new one myself.

One thing that has happened since I've been carting this jewel around in my carry-on bag is that Google has released Chrome for the Mac.

Now I've written elsewhere that Chrome is the browser I'd design if I started writing one today. It is written with an understanding of the way we use the web in 2010 rather than built on top of the assumptions of 1999.

Prior to the release of Chrome for the Mac however, I'd installed and come to peaceful terms with Firefox and have to say that the experience of using it is tremendous. On the Mac, Firefox seldom crashes. (In fact, I can't remember such an occasion.) The only reason I ever stop the browser is if there is an update or an extension that reaches deeply enough to demand a restart. The browser just works.

One of the big pluses for Chrome on the PC is that the architecture isolates poor behavior to a single tab, so while a tab may crash, the whole browser doesn't. That's not a big deal on the Mac (in my experience) because crashing is not such a common experience.

I've forced myself to use Chrome exclusively for a few days to see if I come to like it the best. So far, I have to say that it's not head-and-shoulders better than the other browsers the way it is on the PC. Perhaps I'll discover more as it goes, and perhaps it will evolve more rapidly now that people are starting to use it.

But my opinion now is that it's a good browser, but not significantly better than Firefox on the Mac.

I'll say more if I discover new perspective. I guess my lesson for the moment is that if I want to concentrate on doing the job I'm meant to do instead of monkeying with getting the computer to work, I should use a Mac.