Ten Years of Google Chrome (And Why I Cannot Quit)
Google launched its Chrome web browser on September 2, 2008. As I noted Chrome’s tenth anniversary, it was hard not to notice how difficult it is to stop using Chrome. After pondering this matter for a few days I conclude that it is unnecessary to switch browsers. Read on to see why; your comments are most welcome whether you agree with me or not...
Happy 10th Birthday, Chrome
You may laugh when I say that Chrome got an enthusiastic reception right off the bat because it proved to be faster than any other browser. It’s true, though; the first benchmark tests by independent entities showed Chrome loaded web pages faster than Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or any other mainstream general-purpose app. But today’s Chrome has a very different reputation.
Chrome 68 (the latest version as of this writing) is a "memory hog" that uses lots of RAM to increase browsing speed. To see for yourself, open Chrome’s built-in Task Manager using the Shift-Esc keyboard shortcut while in Chrome. The ranked list displayed shows what Chrome processes are running, how much RAM each uses, and the percentage of CPU cycles each process uses. The “Browser” task alone takes 20% of my machine’s CPU and over 1.5 GB of RAM.
But this is not sloppy programming. Chrome is designed to optimize browsing speed and protect against crashes by duplicating many processes across multiple tabs. Chrome puts memory to good use, it does not “waste” memory. In fact, idle memory is the real waste! I wouldn't mind if Chrome used even more of the 12 GB available on my computer, if that made it run faster and more reliably.
Think about what Chrome does with all the resources it claims. If a web app running in one tab crashes, all the other tabs currently open (11, in my case right now) rarely follow. In the rare case where Chrome entirely crashes and must be restarted, restoring all open tabs is usually a one-click, painless operation. I am not trading that time savings to gain a few clock cycles or megabytes of RAM I’m not using anyway.
My rosy assessment ignores the resource needs of any other apps that may be running outside of Chrome. That is a surprisingly small omission; right now, LibreOffice Writer is the only app competing with Chrome on my machine. It uses less than 75 MB and it auto-saves my writing every five minutes. I spend the vast majority of my time and effort in Chrome, so its stability and speed are of paramount importance to me. That’s true of many Chrome users.
My Chrome experience is greatly enriched when I am signed into my Google account. That account links all my activities, past as well as present, to what I am doing in Chrome. It makes auto-correct more accurate and search results more pertinent. It also enables Google to target ads at me more effectively, but I am satisfied with that trade-off, too. Online ads make free content possible, so If I'm going to see ads, they may as well be for products and services that are of potential interest to me.
What About Alternative Browsers?
According to Statcounter, Chrome is used on almost 68% of all desktop/laptop computers, worldwide. (Firefox accounts for 11%, Internet Explorer 7%, Safari 5%, Edge 4%, and Opera 2.5%.) Computers running Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux typically don't come with the Chrome browser pre-installed, so I can only assume that overwhelming market lead is because those users made a choice to switch to Chrome.
If I told folks to use Internet Explorer or the Edge browser that comes with Windows 10, I'd be called a Microsoft fanboy. I've tried to like Firefox, Opera, Vivaldi and other alternatives, but none of them offers all the addons I require, or the features and benefits I enjoy with Chrome.
Uncountable articles, blog posts, and forum messages deal with the question, “How do I keep Google out of my business?” When the day is done, I want Google in my business because it helps me do more business more profitably! So I leave most Chrome settings at their defaults, trusting Google to know the best way to help me get work done.
I have not noticed any losses of privacy, or freedom. In 10 years of using Chrome, and almost 15 years of Gmail usage, I can't recall a single instance of unwanted email, postal mail, or any other solicitation that could be reasonably tied to my Google account.
Further, I cannot recall anyone advancing a specific example of how consumers are harmed by Google’s so-called “invasive” practices. All I have seen is, “You have the right to be left alone” without any explanation of the benefits of being left alone. I have the right to be miserable, too, but no one can tell me why I should exercise it.
I remain a willing victim, I suppose you could say. I'm sure some will accuse me of being a shill for Google, but I've been called a shill for many other tech companies whose products I've reviewed or recommended. So far, none of them has sent me a thank-you card, much less a big fat check for my positive comments.
So Happy Birthday, Chrome! The history of web browsers since the early 1990s has proven that competition is a good thing. It motivates each player in the arena to innovate, and we've seen that time and again with Chrome, Firefox, Explorer and the also-rans. Tell me about your favorite browser, and why you like it.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 4 Sep 2018
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Ten Years of Google Chrome (And Why I Cannot Quit) (Posted: 4 Sep 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved