Viewing entries tagged
Tools

A Safari Guy Tries Google Chrome

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. 

Falling for Instagram

I spent the better part of two hours last night playing around with Instagram, the photo sharing app for iPhone. I’m well past late to this party — the app is only a year old but there are already over 10 million users (and counting fast). Still, there have to be others like me who have become more and more overwhelmed with social networking and so haven’t had time to discover this wonderful little program.

Facebook is now a way of life; it is quickly becoming a work tool as well as a personal communication standard. Sadly, I’m guessing I’m not alone when I say that I Facebook (verb) with people I talk to everyday!

Twitter is also pretty much obligatory. I’ve found Twitter more and more useful for sharing articles, deciding what to read, and keeping in touch at conferences and meetings.

Add in Yahoo Messenger and Yammer at work, and Ping at home, as well as Google Reader and Google+ (still trying to figure that one out) and — oh yeah! — email, and I have so much social networking that I don’t have time to be social. What do I need Instagram for?

I’m not sure what exactly moved me to download it today, but as soon as I did, I was hooked. I was hooked on the filters — it will make even an all-thumbs photographer like me seem half-decent. But I was more hooked on the feed. Instagram allows you to share pictures with friends and subscribe to their pictures in return. What you get is an ongoing narrative like Facebook or Twitter, but aside from a few captions it is entirely visual. And the fact that Instagram only runs on an iPhone adds a nice creative constraint. You don’t spend a lot of time fretting and editing — you just shoot something and share it.

There’s a huge emotional element that only this kind of image-based dialogue can convey. Why not use it to showcase the people who work to create a better world at your organization (with their permission, of course)? You could create a year-long exhibit of your World-Changers. Or better yet, share pictures and stories of the people you serve. Or, you could share a series of pictures about what the world will look like when you achieve your mission. Or showcase what it would look like without you here to provide your services.

In a time when we have an abundance of tools at our disposal, Instagram captured my imagination more than most. Worth putting to good use for your good cause.