Chrome is fast, but speed isn’t everything.

Chrome is fast. That is undeniable. In fact, I think Opera should reconsider calling themselves the fastest browser on Earth. Especially since Chrome can beat a potato. But speed is just one thing to consider when surfing the web.

Speed is important when surfing the internet; studies show that people sometimes judge a website within three seconds of visiting and the timer starts running the moment they click on your page. However, speed isn't nearly everything that is hyped out to be. I believe Chrome will be a well rounded browser in the next few months and I have a feeling that it will be the dominant browser in the coming years. But it is not quite there yet.

Before we continue, What is your primary Browser? (select from the choices below).
[poll id="16"]

Logos of the Five major browsers The main issue I found with Chrome is the lack of extensions, and within those extensions that do exist there is an overwhelming sense of disappointment with the limited functionality they give you.

If it isn't usable, then I don't care if its lightning fast. It is irrelevant if I can't do what I want to do on it.

Firefox has grown to be my favorite browser, for its speed, reliability and extendability. Speed of course isn't Firefox's forte, but if you strip it out of extensions then it can run with the big boys just as well. So it comes down to reliability and extendability. Reliability can easily be compromised by a bad plugin or extension; Chrome limits the way extensions access its resources to make itself more reliable and stable. I understand that Chrome has taken a secure approach to its development and this may be why extensions aren't able to do everything that they can do in Firefox.

No matter how you paint it, if I can't do something I need to do in the browser then it isn't usable, even if you make it go faster than Mach4. Lets go with extensions for now. In Chrome some extensions are missing altogether, a few exist with limited capabilites and there's a few that are just okay. Lets look at a few examples:

All in One Gestures. I use gestures to navigate around web. Its much faster than using the back or forward and reload buttons. I don't use gestures as much as I wish, but I use them enough to make me feel that without this, Chrome can't be my main browser. Gestures date back to early 2000.
Cooliris. Absolutely the best way to look at pictures for pleasure, especially if you have a nice monitor. This is great for Flickr, Facebook, and tons of other sites. Does not work on Chrome + Mac.
Colorzilla. Tells you the color code of anything on a website; very useful for web development.
MeasureIt. Measures anything on a website to give you its dimensions in pixels; very useful for web development.
Firebug. There's the developer kit for Chrome and maybe I have to get used to it a a little more, but it seems lacking when you compare it to Firebug.
Delicious. Incomplete, I can only save a bookmark, or go to my delicious inbox or my delicious bookmarks. I can't receive notifications from my network, or search for bookmarks on a sidebar without having to load the delicious website. Ugh.
Evernote Web Clipper. This is the extension for the awesome Evernote application. It hardly has any integration on Chrome making it almost unusable; taking a note on Chrome is weak compared to doing it in Firefox.
ScribeFire. A blogging client that kicks ass, nothing comparable for Chrome. Edit: There's an alpha version of this for Chrome now. ScribeFire beta for Chrome.
StumbeUpon. This is a big one for me, I'm the biggest SU fan I know and I use it daily. The extension for Chrome that currently exists is a lame. I don't mean it in a pop-culture kind of way, I really mean it is lame. It can't do anything that the proper extension can do. No searching, no browsing through stumblers, no stumblethru, etc. Sad indeed.
1Password. 1Password support in Chrome is there but its very basic and it doesn't even begin to compare to the integration available in Firefox, or even Safari. This isn't a huge problem for me anymore since I switched to Lastpass, but it is still a problem for thousands of users.

You also don't have extensions like WebDeveloper that allow you to quickly turn on or off certain options about a website, or resize the viewport to help you debug a webdesign.

As you can see, there's a lot of extensions and functionality that doesn't work in Chrome. Some of the extensions aren't being developed at all, some have a beta version but its limited. Some offer just basic bookmarklet type of functionality and frankly that just doesn't cut it. The list of extensions above are only a few from my personal list, I'm sure there are others users out there that feel the same way about their own list of must-have-extensions. We need to see more support for social networks and full integration between the addons and the services they interact with, e.g. Delicious, StumbleUpon.

If it was all about speed, I would have made Opera my main browser years ago, as it has been running circles around Safari, IE and Firefox for at least a few years. Google should have learned a lesson from Opera; Speed doesn't cut it, you need extensions and functionality.

Is this Google's fault? or the Developers of extensions? I think its mostly Google's fault for restricting how the browser is written against as far as extensions go. Will it get better? I certainly hope so and believe it will. The developers will find workarounds and hopefully bring us the same functionality to Chrome as they've done for Firefox. I can't wait to make Chrome my main browser, but its not there yet.

An interesting angle to look at is this: as more people migrate to Chrome I wonder if the developers of popular extensions for Firefox will also migrate to Chrome and eventually abandon Firefox's development. It seems that developing extensions for Chrome requires an entirely different approach than when developing for Firefox. Many of the extensions are put out by a team of one, so I doubt they'll have the resources to maintain yet another browser. I wonder if we'll see a departure from the free extensions we've grown accustomed to and see an exchange of money to get extensions developed.

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