Why I Don’t Use the Chrome Browser

| Particle Debris

The Chrome browser from Google is incredibly popular. Now it’s available for the iPad. Here’s why I’m not planning to use it.

First and foremost, I must admit, Apple is being fairly obnoxious about not allowing the iPad user to select a default browser of choice. It’s a fact that we can’t avoid, but I’ll give Apple the benefit of the doubt that it’s for the sake of security.

Allergic?For example, if I click on a link in an email, it will take me to Safari. No choice there. So investing in another browser, even if it seems a little fresher and cooler looking and has some nice features, is a waste of my time on an iPad.

Second, I distinguish between browsers that are written with the users in mind first and those written to, in addition, advance a corporate agenda. That’s why I use Firefox on my Macs and in Windows and Linux in Parallels Desktop. Mozilla is highly focused on the user, even though Mozilla, the last time I checked, gets funding from Google for making Google the default search in the toolbar.

Despite the “incognito” mode of Chrome, described in this review by Jacqui Cheng, I am not yet convinced that Google is really looking out for me on the search side. I want to learn more about how that’s going to work on the iPad, over and above those early, “Golly, this is cool,” types of first day reviews. In time, someone always digs under the hood and finds things that aren’t obvious at first. Also there are some speed issues because Chrome for the iPad doesn’t have access to Apple’s Nitro JavaScript engine.

The bottom line is that I’m staying with Safari on the iPad until I am convinced that another browser is easier to launch and use, faster, more secure and protects my privacy better than Safari.

And that just happens to fit in with the first item in this week’s technical news debris.

Tech News Debris

This week, I was reminded of technological warfare by customers. That’s when customers, in a highly technological era, have the means to fight back, perhaps even punish a company.

This wasn’t always so. In the grocery business, the best we could ever do was avoid those products that try to fool us or doctor food items in a way that’s harmful. In the past, when it came consumer products, we’d buy a toaster or a car, and if it turned out to be defective, we’d take it back to the dealer and raise a fuss. But the company that made it remained insulated.

In 2012, customers have more insidious options. They can steal music in an attempt to harm the labels, but that also harms the artist. They can launch attacks against a website. Or they can try to penetrate a company’s website, deface it, or even steal money. Of course, these are criminal acts, Along more socially acceptable lines, customers can fan the flames of resistance on Twitter or in blogs.

This power is something new to customers in an era when companies are finding it easier and easier to strongarm customers with contracts, terms and conditions, and hidden gotchas that extract information from us. Companies seize control, get persnickety, and customers try to get even. Few technology sites explore the responsibilities of each side. The good news is that those companies that seem to be going out of their way to please us by giving us what we want are going to do very well indeed. And those companies that seem to be going against our interests, with those acts identified and flames fanned by social media, will suffer.

All that, in turn, brings up the concept of ethical behavior by customers, and nowhere is that subject more prevalent than in the music industry. And with that preamble, here are some additional thoughts. “To save the music industry, give the people what they want.

The just announced Microsoft Surface tablet uses magnesium in the case. In fact, that may have been a forced decision, driven by guess who? Apple. “How Apple’s Decision To Buy Aluminum From Australia Forced Microsoft To Build Its Own Tablet.

Have you ever wondered what’s going on with the inscrutable Windows Registry? This terrific article will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about that technology that has driven so many customers and columnists to the brink of madness. And how other OSes have sidestepped it. “The Windows Registry – It seemed like a good idea at the time.

How can you turn a Kindle Fire into a Mac Plus or even a Newton Message Pad? Steve Sande tells all. “Kindle Fire transforms into a Mac Plus and Newton MessagePad.

Kindle Fire & Newton

Image Credit: TUAW

Rich Mogul, a security expert, has written a excellent article explaining everything you need to know about sandboxing and Mountain Lion’s Gatekeeper. Good stuff. “Answering Questions about Sandboxing, Gatekeeper, and the Mac App Store.

Every once in awhile, Apple quietly posts a document on its website, and another alert website finds it. I this case, it was Cult of Mac and Ryan Faas. The title of the article tells all. “Apple Quietly Releases Mountain Lion Server Guide, Previews The Future Of Mac Management.”

This is for the security geek in you. There is casual browsing, with some awareness of modest concessions to security. And then there are stories that reveal what’s going on behind the scenes, enough to scare the bejesus out of you. Even so, it’s always better to be deeply informed than to be oblivious, even if the threat isn’t all pervasive. You’ll see what I mean here, but gird your loins first. “Does two-factor authentication need to be fixed?

Finally, here’s a cool story by Ina Fried at AllThingsD about how Andy Rubin at Google and Jonney Shih at Asus cooked up the Nexus 7 tablet so quickly. Fun reading.

I’ll be on vacation next week, so Particle Debris will return on July 13.


Allergy image credit: Shutterstock.

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Agreed wholeheartedly about Chrome. I’ve been using FireFox on Mac and Windows. I just started using Lion so I figured it was time to recheck the options. Safari still has the annoying bugs that it had a year ago when I stopped using it. I tried Chrome and it’s slick but you’re right, I just don’t know if I trust Google.
On the iPad/iPod Touch Safari is default but it’s also not a bad browser. It’s better than the Mac version, but you knew that already.

Scott Johnson

Chrome on the iPad isn’t even Chrome, as was reported earlier this week. It’s simply a Chrome user interface wrapped around Safari. This is why you are seeing no performance increase at all—you’re still using Safari. It just looks Chromier!


Isn’t the required browser use why Microsoft got sued.  Why is it ok for Apple to do it?

John Martellaro

sandiego: good question. And I don’t know that anyone on the Mac Web has looked into that.

Zaidi Ademeit

More puffery from a lapelitist.


First: s/finding from Google/funding from Google/

I understand concerns about Google. They claim they do no evil, but when they have so much information, it can give one pause. It doesn’t bother me too much, but I often joke with a colleague about how I “drink long and deep from the Google kool aid.”

I use Chrome as my normal browser, and like the syncing features it offers. So I’m looking forward to trying it on iOS.


Isn?t the required browser use why Microsoft got sued.  Why is it ok for Apple to do it?

That is a very good question. iOS is so dominant in particular segments I could see it being an issue in the near future.


Chrome just reminds me of IE9 too much.

Lee Dronick

Apple isn’t stopping anyone from installing and using 3rd party browsers on iOS devices. They just not letting you set one as the default browser, that could change in the future.


The iPhone has nowhere near a monopoly in smartphone market share. Plus they don’t have the same power as Microsoft did when they destroyed Netscape. The comparison falls short.

Dean Lewis

You can pry my Safari on my Mac from my cold dead hands. It works well for me—but that’s my anecdote smile I do use Chrome on PCs; it seems to work best and fast. Firefox feel sluggish and bloated to me now, but I swore by it in the past.


It?s simply a Chrome user interface wrapped around Safari.

Yep, this also goes for Firefox Home (which really isn’t a browser but a mobile repository for your firefox bookmarks), Opera, iCab, Dolphin, Atomic, Rockmelt, etc.


It is not illegal to be a monopoly; you get in trouble when you use your monopoly power to restrain competition. In MSFT’s case, they required the OEMs to set their browser as the default, and provided incentives to keep competing browsers off the PCs.


Apple builds its own ecosystem which includes its OS and browser but also provides its own hardware. That is the whole widget deal.

MicroSoft used its power over its OS to impose its own browser on OEMs who build their own hardware that used Windows OS. There is a difference. It didnt own the whole Widget.

If Apple had many OEMs who build iPads and the all had to pay Apple for its OS, then Apple would be in the same boat MicroSoft was long while ago. Apple is not trying to destroy anything equivalent to Netscape. It owns the whole widget and gets more say in what it can do.


Okay, I’ve had a chance to try it out, and I like it enough to make it my default browser (there’s a jailbreak tweak that enables that).

As others have pointed out, it uses the same engine as Safari, so I didn’t expect any difference there. But there are some ways that it really wins over Safari.

1, unlimited tabs. With Safari, I’m always worried about having too many tabs open. I know that if I have 8 open, then one more is going to get opened, and something I’m interested in will vanish in the heap. On Chrome, there’s no limit. And it’s not hard to search through the tabs.

2, Syncing open tabs. This is interesting, in that this is a feature that Apple is promising for iOS6, but Google beat Apple to the punch now with Chrome. I use Chrome on the Mac, and if I want to pull up a webpage on my phone that I had opened on the Mac, it’s all right there. And it goes both ways, too.

The downside to Chrome is the general downside to using Google. When you first launch it, you must agree to send usage statistics and crash reports to Google, and agree to their terms of service. It’s one more way that Google owns me. If they stopped having stockholders to report to, I’d be very afraid (and maybe I should already be).


Isn?t the required browser use why Microsoft got sued.? Why is it ok for Apple to do it?

The difference is that Microsoft was determined by the courts to be a monopoly. Apple has only a small percentage of computer sales, phone sales, and has never even been accused of forcing other companies to do its bidding by using its monopoly power, because it doesn’t have monopoly power, yet.


Apple isn?t stopping anyone from installing and using 3rd party browsers on iOS devices. They just not letting you set one as the default browser, that could change in the future.

That’s not exactly true. You can only use Apple’s webkit uiwebview in an app. So they are indeed stopping 3rd party browsers on IOS devices. You can make a skin for uiwebview but you can’t replace uiwebview with something else. That’s why Google’s Chrome doesn’t have it’s own javascript engine like it does other places. Also why we won’t see firefox on IOS. Using uiwebview doesn’t allow use of some major features of the stand alone Safari, like it’s javascript engine (which is why chrome and every other ‘3rd party browser’ lags in performance behind safari).


I have no problem with Apple not allowing third party browsers as the default. Apple is in a battle with Google. Apple doesn’t have a phone monopoly so it isn’t guilty of anti-trust violations. Further, it doesn’t want Google being able to use iPhone users information to make money and undermine iOS.

It is putting the hurt to Google where it counts, and it has every right to do so.


Isn?t the required browser use why Microsoft got sued.? Why is it ok for Apple to do it?

Microsoft used its monopoly power in one market to gain an advantage in another market where it wasn’t dominant. Namely, it forced PC manufacturers to install Explorer as the default browser, at the expense of than market leader Netscape,  by threatening to take away pricing discounts if they didn’t comply.

Apple doesn’t have a monopoly in the smart phone market,  so it can allow or restrict its platform any way it chooses even if those actions favor its own Safari.

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