Google Chrome: Time to change your favorite web browser

Did you know that Google Chrome is the safest web browser on earth?
This might be the opposite of what you were thinking, but it is still true. 

When Chrome became available in late 2008 it was perceived quite controversial. The fact that each installation of this browser could be identified by Google through a built-in unique ID was discussed in the media and created the wide spread notion that Chrome would jeopardize your privacy. Even the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI, Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik) advised against using Chrome in the early days. The browser ended up with a rather bad reputation.

So why should I use it?

First of all: Google has reacted to the bad publicity and has removed the unique ID since version 4.1 of the browser, released in 03/2010. But the main reason why you should consider using Chrome is that it is simply the safest browser that you can get. And it has been so right from the start, back in 2008! This is proven by the yearly Pwn2Own hacking contest (hosted by the CanSecWest security conference), that checks all major browsers for possible exploits. Usually all of the tested browsers do fall during each years contest – all but one: up to now Chrome could never be broken at Pwn2Own due to its rigid sandbox concept! This means that drive-by infections are close to impossible when you are surfing with Chrome. Even the very last loopholes to spread infections through 3rd party add-ons have lately been closed: Manipulated PDF files don’t pose a risk anymore since version 8 of Chrome (12/2010) replaced the possibly vulnerable Adobe Reader extension by an integrated Chrome PDF viewer, and since version 10 of Chrome (03/2011) Flash is running in a sandbox too.

And by the way: After the changes in Chrome 4.1 the German BSI has reverted their bad evaluation too…

Why does nobody else use it?

Oh, but they do! Chrome is rapidly taking up on the web. Extrapolating the current browser usage statistics Chrome will get ahead of the stagnating Firefox in 2012 at the very latest!

More reasons

The second important factor that makes me use and love Chrome is its speed. Chrome is one of the fastest browsers on the planet. This is not only true for the page rendering and JavaScript execution times, but also for the startup times of the browser. The Chrome window appears almost instantaneously which saves me an enormous amount of time each and every day. Especially compared to the sluggish Firefox this is a relief.

There are many more reasons to use Chrome, e.g.:

  • Each browsing tab runs its own process. A crashing tab does not affect the other browser tabs or windows at all.
  • There is a very elegant way to reopen closed tabs and browsing windows: The “recently closed” section of the Chrome startup page (shown in any new window and tab) lists all such windows and their tabs and allows you to reopen single or even all tabs of a window with just one click. This is Chrome standard – no add-on needed.
  • Since version 4.0 Chrome has its own add-on concept. Chrome add-ons are called Extensions, and they can be installed and uninstalled without restarting the browser. They also do not slow down the browser startup as they do in Firefox.
  • Speaking of extensions: Chrome is the only browser I know of that has an extension to block Facebook’s “Like” buttons in non-Facebook websites. If you are interrested in stopping Facebook from tracking your ways through the web, have a look at the Facebook Disconnect extension. (If you want to know why you should block it, read this CNET article.)
  • The silent update technology that does not bother you with update notices, download and installation processes. It all happens in the background. And all the world is using the latest Chrome. Web developers do not have to check their creations for compatibility with Chrome 1, 2, 3, 4, … like you have to with IE or FF.

Why the fox is not (yet) dead

Yes, I still use Firefox for development. While Chrome brings nice debugging and development features, Firebug is an irreplaceable tool for web developers and although there is a light version of Firebug for Chrome, it is still far from being a match for the Firefox version.


Sit back, relax and go, get it!  ;o)

Update 15.02.2011

In early February 2011 version 9 of Chrome was released. With its WebGL capabilities you can now enjoy one of the latest Google projects, the Google Body Browser. You may think of it as Google Maps for the human body:

More impressive WebGL demos can be found at:

Update 10.05.2011

Today I found that my Chrome installation was stuck at version 10.x and was not updating any more (current version is 11.x). The browser’s info window was showing an error msg.:

Update server not available (error: 3)

I quickly found this article in Chrome’s online help:

Actually the registry entry described in the article was pointing to a completely wrong place (something like C:Documents and SettingsMyUserNameApplication DataGoogle Updater… while the correct path should have been C:Program FilesGoogleUpdate…). Changing the registry entry and restarting the browser (as recommended in the above article) did not solve the problem. Instead I downloaded the latest browser version and installed it (without uninstalling the existing version). That did the job – the info window reports v11.x now an the update server is found again.

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