Although quite a bit of my analytics work is done on a PC, I’m a Mac guy at heart, and so for browsing I pretty much stick to Apple’s Safari browser. But recently I’ve gotten so fed-up with Safari slowing down, hanging, or crashing all together that I’ve started to look for an alternative. Given the good buzz and amazing adoption, I’m trying out Google Chrome.

I’m not a huge fan of Google, because I think they make some dumb moves for a company claiming to be committed to doing no evil. In particular, I believe their track record with regards to privacy, or really the lack thereof, is disturbing. Personal liberties and personal privacy are both very important to me, so I find this very unsettling. Very unsettling.

And yet, to be a business person in 2012, indeed to be any person in 2012, means being a part of the internet world, and that in turn means being a part of Google’s world. I’ve half-heartedly adopted Google+, although I don’t quite get it yet, and I’m not sure why I need another Facebook. But in terms of a typical work day, mine like yours probably involves dozens of searches through Google.

My first reactions to Chrome are surprisingly good. 

  • Cool splash on the download page. I like aesthetics.
  • Brainless import of other browser settings — it is amazing how difficult other browsers make this process. While this might speak to further concerns about privacy (!), it is great in terms of ease of use. Well done Google.
  • Seems about as fast as Safari, and does hang a bit here and there, but the browsing experience feels streamlined and well thought-out.
  • It took me a second to get my head around the tab system versus Safari’s, but I like it.
  • I like that the address line and the search line are integrated rather than two separate boxes like on Safari. This created a head-scratch moment at first, but it actually makes more sense.
  • I like that my bookmarks are synched (privacy concerns, privacy concerns — see, I’m my own worst enemy) without having to add a layer like iCloud, which is honestly a bit clunky to me. Really Apple? I need to sign up for iCloud, find the control panel, log onto it on each computer, and tell each computer what to sync? Oh, and I can’t even intelligently merge my bookmarks? In practical terms that is no different than what I need to do with Chrome, but the Google experience is a lot easier. I can do it all without leaving the browser. Not to mention the incredible dysfunctional mess for people with previous MobileMe accounts.
  • I like the Chrome Web Store. In contrast to what I found during the three minutes or so that I was an Android user, the store is well laid out, colorful, and beautifully designed. And better than Safari’s extension area, which feels like an afterthought.

In summary, my first impression is that Safari is the kind of browser that a company focused on computers (er sorry, digital devices) would make, while Chrome is the kind of browser that a company focused on browsing would make. I’m not a total convert yet, but I’m putting the icon in the dock. And the crowd cheers.

I have no idea if anyone at all is interested in these opinions, but I figure that there are a few others out there wondering if Safari is the best way to navigate the online jungle (groan).

Finally, this is probably where I remind readers that I don’t solicit or accept compensation for endorsements. I just use what works, and write about it.

Anyways — happy browsing.

Follow-up: I’ve now used Chrome for a couple of days. It’s my new default browser.