Alex Blaze

PC's, let's talk Chrome

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 18, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Geeks, Living
Tags: Google, internet explorer, Mac, pc

About 37% percent of the times TBP was viewed over the past month the reader was using Internet Explorer.

browserosinfojan2009.JPGAs the whole editorial team at the Bilerico Project uses Macs except for yours truly, I thought I'd point out that just because you're using Windows doesn't mean you have to be using IE. Jerame got me off IE over a year ago and onto Firefox, which was even a much better browser than IE even before Firefox 3 was released last year (which was even better).

The point is, I was using IE at that point because it was already installed in Windows and I didn't see a need to change, even though there are a variety of quality, free browsers out there that had features that far exceeded that iteration of IE. I just didn't know and didn't think it was important enough to change, but I was wrong.

Over these past two weeks, I started playing around with a few browsers, including IE8, and I have to confess, I'm in love with Google Chrome. (Download it free, and I gush about it after the jump.)

You can learn more about its innovative features over at Chrome's site. I wanted to highlight a few here. (And no, I'm not being paid by Google for this, I just really like their browser!)

While they talk about their Omnibox (where you used to put in the URL you also get suggestions based on Google search results and your browsing history, and they're actually useful) and tabs-as-new-browsers and speed, the most impressive change from other browsers, to me, is the lack of toolbar across the top and the frame along the bottom. With my laptop's 13-inch screen, this gives me about an extra half-inch of space to view websites. Large pictures and articles are more easily seen with all this space, and scanning blogs, which I spend a lot of time doing, is just that much easier.

It also includes an "incognito" mode that Mac users would recognize from Safari. It lets you surf the internet without any information appearing in your history or saving any cookies. It's cute to see the marketing information tip-toe around a feature so obviously made for browsing porn (Google says: "For times when you want to browse in stealth mode, for example, to plan surprises like gifts or birthdays, Google Chrome offers the incognito browsing mode." Mm-hmm, they made an entire new type of browsing experience to buy surprise presents, I'm sure).

There are many other, smaller features features that keep surprising me. For instance, if you "ctrl-f" a page, little marks will appear on the scrollbar at each appearance of the word, which makes guessing where what you really want to find is a whole lot easier. It's great for long blocks of text that change topics quickly, like the front pages of blogs.

Downloads are also faster and less intrusive than they are in Firefox. Click on what you want and a little down arrow will appear in the lower left instantly and let you know when it's done.

I could go on and on about how much I love Google Chrome (and I did this past week on AIM, as Bil Browning can attest to), but why don't you just give it a try? It's free!

If you need any extra motivation, Google just filed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs in the suits to overturn Prop 8.

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I love chrome, but since I went Mac last August, I haven't been able to enjoy it. I'm waiting patiently for the mac version, coming March maybe?

Another thing to note is how quickly Chrome went out of beta. Geesh, even Gmail is still beta and its how old? Google is dead serious about Chrome becoming their OS for all their cloud apps and I'm sure we will see a serious chunk of usership fall from IE/Firefox/opera/Safari as the browser improves.

They say it's coming out soon for mac.

Yeah, 3 percent of bilerico readers in a few months. They're working at positioning themselves as the center of the internet, as if they weren't already there.

It probably helps that they already had a lot of the infrastructure to make something like this go more quickly than other companies do, to test it to make sure it was rendering real site correctly.

i also fell in love with Chrome when I was on a PC. I hope they come out with a Mac version soon!

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | January 18, 2009 6:47 PM

Now wait a minute. I watched George Will on ABC this morning and I could swear he was wearing chrome rimmed eyeglasses. Does that alter your opinion any?

Karen Collett | January 18, 2009 7:35 PM

Chrome is promising, but I love Adblock Plus way too much to ditch Firefox. When Chrome gets something equivalent (and when it's on available on the Mac), then I'll take another look.

I'm with Karen - I enjoy Firefox's add-ons (AdBlock Plus, NoScript, Greasemonkey, etc.) far too much to switch to anything else. Plus I don't really see what's so good about Google Chrome anyway. I've tried it, it's unimpressive at best.

Adblock? I don't think that will ever come to Google Chrome, considering they own Adsense.

But I don't like Adblock at all. As someone who spends a good deal of time generating content for a website, which is only repaid with the pittance we get in ads, I think that blocking the few cents someone else will receive for their work... well, it's not nice. Not to mention that those ads help pay for bandwidth.

I do like Daily Kos's solution, where you can pay $100 to have ads blocked on that site forever. It supports the work they're doing and gets rid of the ads.

Karen Collett | January 19, 2009 8:12 AM

I understand that blocking ads works against web sites that depend on advertising for revenue. But I go to web sites like TBP to read, and I find animations right next to what I'm trying to read too distracting. Hence Adblock Plus. (It would be nice if there was a middle ground where you'd have something like Adblock that would, instead of screening out the ads, simply render them without any animation.)

I do like the notion of being able to donate and eliminate the ads.

Sorry, but I don't buy the "adblock robs webmasters" argument - the people you actually want clicking don't click banners and buttons, no matter what you might have been told.

Most savvy web users have them mentally blocked anyhow, and I simply block them to decrease the obtrusiveness and obnoxiousness they entail - plus many of them are also blocked by NoScript because they can be potentially dangerous.

Lastly, I don't believe anyone has the right to make me see what they want on my screen. If they try, I can block it some other way. I'm in coltrol of my own destiny, and if people are so dependent on ads that they feel harmed by this fact, tough titty. This is why I don't have my own domain name - I know I can't afford it, and I'm not going to put myself in debt and rely on unreliable, obnoxious, often offensive advertisements just for a few measly cents.

(And really, if you'd like my support, then FIX THE DAMN COMMENT FORM! Half the time the captcha box never appears.)

Wow. That argument is breath-takingly silly. No one has a right to put on your screen something you don't want to see? Well, fine: don't access a site. Part of the agreement is that you're going to take the ads as well as the content.

It's like going into a store and picking up a box of cookies and then just walking out. No one has the right, I suppose, to hold you hostage in the check-out line and then rob you of your hard-earned cash. But somehow I doubt you'd win that argument with the police or store management.

You can say that you're in control of your own destiny all you want, but not when you're violating other people's autonomy. The content isn't being offered for free - the ads are the price. And an incredibly low one, I might add.

Also, ads don't just generate revenue from clicks, but from views as well. Even people who've "mentally blocked" them are still racking up views that get used to sell ad time as well.

As for the comment form, well, you come in here expecting to be catered to, admit to stealing bandwidth, and then write a petulant demand in all caps. Yeah, don't expect anyone to show up at your house and show you how to register to comment any time soon.

"stealing bandwidth"? I have a "contractual obligation" to see ads? Sorry, but no. Nobody has a right to force others to listen. I know you're trying to come off as the savior of the blogging field and all, but you sound like Jack Valenti screaming that home video would kill the movie industry.

Until you're ready to be reasonable and logical, I refuse to discuss this with you. Act like an adult, and not a screaming child, and you'll be treated fairly.

Karen Collett | January 21, 2009 8:22 PM

Alex, for a variety of reasons some people are going to block the ads. Railing against that is not going have much effect other than getting yourself riled up. To the degree this is hurting your bottom line I think your energies would be better spent on investigating other approaches (e.g. the ad-free subscription you mentioned earlier).

Karen Collett | January 22, 2009 8:41 AM

This morning, I was pondering this and wondered if there was a way to configure ABP to download the ads but not display them. I haven't figured that one out yet, but it may be moot if the ads revenue is based exclusively on click-throughs.

I did, however, find an interesting series of blog posts on the ABP site; this one in particular is very pertinent. I think I'm going to try adopt the suggestion of one commenter and try adding exclusions for ads that I know aren't animated.

Okay, the major obstacle I see here, is the same reason that, though I have Firefox I never use it, and that is sheer unadulterated laziness.

When you get a new puter, you set it up, and boom, IE is set up pretty much right from the start. ( 13 inch screen? My 17" widescreen truelife farts in your general direction, when I went portable I went all the way. Long live desktop replacement notebooks! ;-)_ ).

I am personally a little leery about apps from Google. Their business model makes me concerned that somewhere down the line there is going to be a cost at some point.

Of course this is from a geezer who is still using IE 6 on XP pro with her newest machine, so take it for what it is worth.

I'm with Karen also. I'm a longtime Firefox user and I love my add-ons. Right from my browser window I can check the weather, control my music player, call someone with Skype, use StumbleUpon, search the web with any of the seven searches I have installed (and more if I want them), and yes, I too love my AdBlock Plus (to me that's no different than fast-forwarding through commercials on recorded TV).

In addition, there's also a variety of great research and writing/blogging add-ons available for Firefox. I used to have a lot of them set up but I just haven't gotten around to tracking them down and reinstalling them since I had to reinstall XP a couple of weeks ago.

Chrome is a nice idea in concept, but as far as I can see it's still half-baked. I spent an hour or so with it tonight to try it out, but until Chrome can give me better customization and capability I have now, I'm sticking with Firefox.

Frankly.... I like MS IEv7 - until it come time to close the damn program and it freezes up.

I think this says it all as far as I'm concerned:

I could go on and on about how much I love Google Chrome (and I did this past week on AIM, as Bil Browning can attest to), but why don't you just give it a try?


I might have to get someone to put it on my computer for me and set it up. Firefox has been acting stupid of late for me.