It's true that I love Google's open source Chrome browser but I'm not in love with it--at least not anymore. I use Chrome exclusively except when I have to use Firefox or Internet Explorer for something that Chrome just won't do, which isn't often. Chrome has an impressive list of features going for it including Incognito mode, in-browser language translation, speed, plugins, cross-platform support and bookmark synchronization to name a few but, for all of Chrome's awesomeness, it has its problems.
One of those problems is that it seems to use a lot of memory on my Windows 7 system (AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core Mobile RM-70 2.00GHz, 4GB RAM, 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate). For example, in the screenshot below, you'll see that there are ten Chrome instances running on my computer, although, in reality there is a single browser open with three tabs.
When using Chrome for my very long days, often exceeding 12 hours, Chrome will crash at least once. In fact, Chrome crashed during the writing of this article. I stepped away for dinner while writing it and came back to the following single message on my screen.
It's very frustrating. I thought I had lost most of this post but thank goodness for browser history. I still, stupidly, often compose these articles in Chrome while logged into our content management system.
One of Chrome's touted features is stability:
Tabs and Stability Chrome is built for stability. If an individual tab freezes or crashes, the other tabs are unaffected. You can also arrange your tabs however you wish -- quickly and easily. Learn more on how to organize your tabs.
Yeah, I'm totally on board with that stability statement. Not.
In fact, I've never had a Tab fail that didn't take down the browser or browsers that I had open. Often enough, the Shockwave plugin is the culprit but not always. For example, the failure during dinner. An excellent recipe for indigestion, I must say.
Chrome's bookmarking and bookmark management also leaves much to be desired. I hate messing with bookmarks in Chrome. But, bookmark management is minor compared to my stability problem. In case you're curious, I'm using version 16.0.912.77. The latest according to Chrome's Help->About page.
So, my first thought is to move to Firefox, Internet Explorer or Opera for my default browser. On second thought, perhaps I should just deal with the crashes as I have for the past year or so and hope for a more stable version that is always "in the next revision." I think I'll give Opera a try and report back on my progress with it. I don't really want to change but I feel that I have to change for the sake of my productivity and my sanity.
It's nice that Chrome "recovers" and restarts my most recently used pages when I relaunch it but seriously I'm tired of doing it.
I love Chrome. I love the idea of Chrome. I love Chrome's features, in theory at least. Yes, ours is a dysfunctional relationship of love, hate, happiness and frustration. Chrome is a harsh mistress and one that I'm tired of stringing along. I won't completely sever my ties with Chrome but I'm putting it "on notice" with the statement, "Chrome, you had better hope that I don't like Opera better."
Firefox irritates me. Internet Explorer is almost useless to me, since I upgraded it to version 9. And, now Chrome is failing me. My Opera download (version 11.61) has finished and it's time to install it and to close out this array of Chrome's that I now have open. (Yes, I'm still composing this in Chrome, although I know better. Some people just don't learn.)
So long for now, Chrome. I'll miss you but not the problems.
Do you have similar problems with Chrome on Windows? Talk back and let me know.
[Note: I have never had any problems with Chrome on Linux.]