Safari vs. Chrome as default browser

Written on January 16, 2012 at 05:07 pm

I’ve noticed more and more of the bloggers I read prefer Chrome over Safari (the two I remember off the top of my head are MG Siegler and Justin Williams.) So last month I decided to give it a try.

In general, I like Chrome better. However, I switched back to Safari after a few weeks because of one problem: bookmark syncing. With Safari’s use of iCloud, I can add a bookmark at home, work, on my laptop, on my iPad, or on my iPhone and it shows up on all of them. Chrome can’t do this.

I’ve never taken well to multitasking on the same computer, mainly because I hate having to switch my app windows around. It was great with Snow Leopard since I would make a space for each task I was working on. But with the “upgrade” of spaces in Lion, that no longer works for me. Since the spaces no longer stay in the same order when I use the keyboard to navigate them, that workflow broke for me.

My solution has been to multitask with multiple devices. When I’m at my desk, I’ll always have an iPad open so I can refer to a book, website, or wikipedia article. When I’m working in bed, I’ll have two iPads and possibly my laptop. In that situation, bookmark syncing is critical.

Other than that, I have a number of smaller problems with Chrome:

  • History Menu: chrome’s is 100% useless. My bookmark bar has the most visited sites (duhh, who would frequently visit a site and not bookmark it?). Recently closed isn’t that useful, either. Safari gives you date-organized menus with days worth of history. Awesome.

  • Bookmark Menu: Why the hell do I want the menu to contain the exact same bookmarks visible in the bookmark bar? Why are my other bookmarks hidden away at the bottom of the bookmark menu. Chrome has thrown over 10 years of muscle memory out the window for no good reason.

  • I hate the title bar. I feel like there isn’t enough space in the Safari one, and I personally hate any window without a proper title bar. I hate when things don’t follow the HIG. Hell, I still don’t understand why anyone would want to theme any program or even use a desktop picture. I want 100% consistent UI in every program (fullscreen games being the only exception.

  • Autostart of videos in background tabs. If there are multiple links on a page I want to follow or I just want to look at one of them later, I open them in new tabs. With YouTube search results I might open 10 tabs I want to look at. And Chrome will start playing them all as fast as possible. Stimpy, you idiot!!

Yes, there are plenty of bad things about Safari and good things about Chrome. I particularly like Chrome’s tabs much better. But without addressing bookmark syncing, Chrome has no chance of being my default browser. And yes, I’ve looked at Xmarks. But it requires an installer and I refuse to run it. If a add-on/extension works in Chrome and Firefox, it should work in Safari.

I don’t even require full-sync like Safari does with iCloud. As long as Chrome can sync with the desktop Safari bookmarks, Safari will take care of iCloud. Hell, at a minimum, let me reimport bookmarks skipping duplicates. Or let me export my chrome bookmarks to Safari’s (i.e. Other Bookmarks -> Bookmark Menu).

Chrome, you tempt me. But I gotta stick with Safari.