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Chrome 4 vs Safari 4 on OS X

Google Chrome released a version compatible with Mac OS X a month or two ago and I’ve been alternating using it and Safari since then. Here are the things I like about each, followed by my choice – as of now. (I don’t list any cons because the pros of one are the cons of the other.)



Chrome is fast. That’s what struck me at first. The reason I chose Safari over Firefox (a while back) was the speed, and it looks like there’s a new champion. Again, it’s not a large difference, but it didn’t take me long to notice.

Chrome also has tabs at the top (i.e., above the address bar and navigation buttons). I think this makes them much easier to find (which is good).

Google has some self and artist created themes that I think are pretty great. I’m using the one by Jon Klassen right now.

When you open a new tab in Chrome, your bookmarks show up across the top of the page. After you pick one, the bookmarks disappear. I’ve only found bookmarks semi-helpful since address bars incorporated auto-complete functionality. Rather than have the bookmarks bar in my face all the time (and rather than having to maintain and organize a drop-down list), I just type in a few letters and go. But, if it’s only there when I open a new tab and then goes away … well, I just might find a use for it.

Another useful item on the new tab page is a list of “recently closed” pages and a link to a full (searchable) history.

Downloads are conveniently listed along the bottom of the page (as opposed to in a separate window), and there’s a link to a nicely simple (and, again, searchable) download history.

Lastly, I really enjoy the combined address / search bar. I go to one place and I get both functionalities (simultaneously). It’s great.



The size of the “non-content” portion of a browser window (e.g., tabs, buttons, address bars) is important to me, and Safari’s is the smallest. The buttons are smaller, there aren’t as many, and the address bar font is smaller.

Speaking of the non-content, when you only have one tab open in Safari, it goes away. That’s nice.

On a general level, there seems to be more support for Safari (at least more than the Mac version of Chrome … if that makes a difference). I don’t know if this is going to change now that Chrome has a bigger market share.

Safari’s new tab page is customizable. You can change the size of the page previews (and, consequently, how many of them show up) and also make some “sticky.”

Lastly, there’s no limit on the number of simultaneous downloads (whereas Chrome caps it at 7 – at least by default). This is much more convenient when downloading songs from emusic or legalsounds.


Chrome. It has more – and more important – pros. I’d still really like to see them implement certain things – like get rid of the download limit and make the buttons smaller – but it’s the clear winner for me.

How do they stack up for you?

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I too like Chrome. It’s light, easy to use, and fact among the popular browsers. Also, Chrome just looks very clean and nice. I admit, when I first started to use chrome, I had hesitations of whether Chrome has any security faults. Now that I see all kinds of positive feedbacks, I don’t think security will be too big a worry.

You can also make the thumbnails on the Chrome New Tab Page “sticky” — hover one and click the pushpin in the top strip that appears.

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Go Chrome by scottb

I’ve been a big fan of Chrome almost since it came out. I’m still looking forward to a Linux version.

My favorite feature is the way the search bar handles multiple search engines. Type in the first few characters of a site (e.g. “wiki…”) and, if you’ve searched the site before, it’ll offer the ability to search that site by hitting tab.

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Chrome for me by Occams

Safari is excellent, but I find myself using Chrome most of the time. I like most being able to enter a crude query in the address field and have it take me seriously. It seems faster but I have not benchmarked it.

I have found that Chrome on my XP laptop fails to work sometimes when I am using the network of a client. Also it does not seem to work reliably with my Internet banking system. No doubt that is the fault of the bank rather than Google. I have not investigated this because it is easier to switch to FF. Now that I have made the conversion to apple for trips, it won’t bug me any more.

I’m a Web developer and one of the things I’ve noticed with Google Chrome on Windows and Mac is that even though they’re using Apple’s open source Webkit code for rendering HTML/CSS, the version they’re using is way behind what’s in the shipping version of Safari. That’s really disappointing considering that the code is there for Google to update to. Firefox 3.6 has more advanced CSS than Google Chrome. The Webkit nightlies have even more advanced CSS than the shipping Safari. It’s just not right that Firefox would be closer in feature support to Safari than Chrome is to Safari when Chrome uses the same code base: Webkit. To me that says that the Google engineers are being lazy about updating their use of Webkit.

I like the chrome it is fast and well organized.
It might be great for personal web surfing.
However, it is not adequate at present for use in corporate environment.
Unable to open pdf document.. No web plugin for Chrome is available at present for citrix and cisco vpn.

In my opinion, Chrome is a toy browser. It’s fast, and that’s neat and all, but I find it to be a terribly boring option for a browser. For example, the combined search / address bar is interesting is touted as great, but let’s do a real comparison to a browser that’s been doing this for years, Firefox:

  • Setup: in both browsers, go to this article. Close the tab. Goal: open a new tab and reopen Brandon’s article with the address bar and the knowledge that you’re looking for an “article,” i.e., type the word “article.”
  • Chrome: When I type “art” (3 key strokes), the article is the 5th option (5 more keystokes). Total: 8 keystrokes
  • Firefox: When I type “ar” (2 key strokes), the article is the 1st option (1 more keystroke). Total: 3 keystrokes.

In other words, while interesting, it’s not hard to show that this feature can actually hinder productivity. The worst case for the split field method is that you hit command-L, tab instead of just command-L, i.e., it’s a constant one keystroke cost, but only when you’re searching the Internet. I understand there are counterexamples, but my point is that I see no notable benefit. Moreover, browsers like Firefox have done this for years.

And don’t get me started on opening a lot of tabs. Or downloading files. Or tracking those downloads. Grr.

If I had to summarize Chrome, I’d put it like this: it’s a set of Firefox options that you’re forced to live with in the name of “faster.” I’ve yet to see anything in Chrome that hasn’t been out for a long period of time. I think it’s just the non-tech people who see it as new/amazing. I’ve not seen a feature yet that’s not a borrowed idea.

As the anonymous web developer said earlier, the code support is lacking. There’s really no reason for this. But let’s say they do catch up. Safari’s developer tools are awesome. I’ve really found nothing like them. If you don’t know what I mean, go to the preferences and on the advanced tab check the option for the develop menu. In the new “Develop” menu, choose “Show Web Inspector.” In the pane that appears, click on the resources tab and go to a site. You don’t have to be a web developer to see how info like this might be useful. Granted, probably less than 1% of people care about something like this, but it is very useful.

I personally use Firefox (3.6 was just released), but would quickly go back to Safari if they would tweak two things:

  1. make the address bar search through historic page titles and full URLs (much like Chrome/Firefox do) like Firefox and Chrome do. (Safari will only search through my bookmarks.)
  2. tabs on top. Safari’s 4 beta had the best implementation of tabs on top I’ve seen and then they pulled the feature from the full release. I’m not sure why, but they were actually on top, unlike in chrome where they’re almost on top.

So, Chrome is interesting, but it’s not even close to having sufficient functionality for me to consider using it on a regular basis. To be fair though, I don’t think I’m their target audience.

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First Impression by Anonymous

Wonder why a Mac browser would ignore Mac conventions. I use the bookmark bar for clusters of urls I use regularly. For instance I have a daily set of news sites. Number one, the menu does not drop down with a click and hold like a Mac. You have to click and let up to drop down the menu. Second, there is no “open all in tabs” option in the folder. Each of my dailies has to be opened one at a time. Clumsy and thoughtless and unaware of the competition.

Thankfully, the black type on gray is legible unlike the notoriously unreadable black on dark gray of Safari. The themes are a nice feature.

Google like Firefox can’t seem access the key chain. Camino has no problem with that. Does Google really expect me to look up my password for every site I go to and enter it into their browser?

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Won't load https by Anonymous

I don’t want to bother with two browsers, so Chrome is a non-starter for me till it supports https.

Is Chrome ICC compliant?
I can not say because I am using a PCC Mac and Chrome is not supported.
However… if it is not… this would be a big ‘minus’ for me since I design websites.
How to check… go to the following URL

Safari is one of the best browsers when it comes to color compliance (i.e. accuracy).

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flaws by Anonymous

When you hit the back button in Chrome, it goes to the top of the page instead of restoring wherever you where in the middle.
No way to open webpage in new tab in preferences, must hit option to open in new tab.

Saving web pages is one of the most common things I do when using a browser. Safari saves as one inclusive file as compared to Firefox. FF creates a html file and a folder with all the components of the page. I was disappointed to see Chrome saves in exactly the same manner as Firefox. It’s very inconvenient when saving a page, as extra steps are required to store the file as a single named folder.

I like Firefox, as it’s similar to Safari and seems to have better standardization with web graphics. On a rare occasion I have to use it because I can’t locate a information button in Safari because it’s hiding behind a window, etc. If it weren’t for the manner in which it saves files, I may be using it instead of Safari for that matter.

There’s not that much difference in the browsers, especially between Safari and FF to warrant changing due to the file system. Same goes with Chrome. Safari is fast, saves files easily, and does the job.

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Show Stopper... by Anonymous

…. for me adding googleupdater without asking and without an option to run chrome without it is an absolute showstopper

Chrome does not support Mac OS X Apple Events (AppleScript) or the contextual Services feature in Snow Leopard. By contrast, using Safari, I can select table data in a Safari browser window and have it automatically converted to a pie chart in Keynote or Pages! Try it yourself:


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