Google Chrome: There And Back Again

Okay, so I’ll admit it: I like Google Chrome.  Lots.

It’s fast, it’s clean, and it’s a pleasure to use.  The combined address and search bar (why don’t all browsers do this?) is nice and prominent, the other required UI widgets are easy to click, and the software generally gets out of your way and lets you do your job.  Exactly what I like in a browser, and such a change from IE’s constant nagging and messy UI.  And perhaps most importantly, for me at least, it’s secure: sandboxed, proven rendering engine, and rarely-targeted due to it’s obscurity.  In fact, it was the only browser to (mostly) survive CanSecWest’s pwn2own security contest – although Opera wasn’t included (but they’re used to that).

It might not be perfect: bookmark support is rudimentary at best, there is no support whatsoever for feeds, and certain areas are a bit unpolished, like the awkward brilliance of its file downloading UI.  But I don’t really mind: I don’t use these features anyway.  I just want the browser.

So, I jumped ship.  I boldly clicked on the ‘Make Google Chrome my default browser’.  I even unpinned IE from my taskbar.

At first, it was a beautiful thing.  Fast, clean browsing!  And I was supporting a different evil empire!

But things soured quickly.  Supposedly, Chrome isolates each tab in a separate sandbox, so if one dies, the browser lives on.  I’ve seen this in action, and it does work.  Sometimes.  But apparently not always, because browsing Google Analytics always triggers a crash by the time I’m three or four pages in.  Oh, sure, it’s (as always) Adobe Flash that’s actually crashing, but it’s bringing Google Chrome down with it.  And not just the tab: the whole browser stops responding, and I have to kill it with Task Manager.

And then, I did another crazy thing: I clicked a link in Outlook.  Well, Google Chrome fired up just fine… and then did nothing.  No page.  Nothing.  Just an ocean of white.  For some reason, it won’t actually load the links the shell passes to it.

Now, I’m sure there’s a solution here.  It’s probably quick and easy – if you know it, leave a comment – but you know what?  I don’t care.  I should not have to troubleshoot such a basic feature: that’s Google’s job, and they failed.  And yes, technically, Google Analytics crashing is Adobe’s fault, but if I can’t even use Google Chrome to browse Google Analytics without it dying on me, then fuck that.

So once again, I’m back to IE.  Not because I like it.  Not because I’m too lazy or complacent to try alternatives.  Because the damn thing actually works.  Google: please fix your shit.  I like it.  I want to use it.  I want to ditch IE.  But I need a browser that actually WORKS.  And while you’re at it, quit using Flash all over the place.

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Copyright © 2010 Paul Guenette and Matthew Sleno.