Google Chrome, I love ya but...

Google Chrome, I love ya but...

Summary: As annoying apps go, Chrome is pretty tame but the constant nagging (crashing) has become too much. I'm going to try a trial separation and see how it goes.

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TOPICS: Apps, Browser, Google
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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.

My daily greeting from Chrome.

My daily greeting from Chrome.

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.]

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Topics: Apps, Browser, Google

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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52 comments
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  • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

    You must be doing something wrong - I suspect some other program you have is interfering with Chrome. I use Chrome exclusively and never have it crash.

    Are you using the stable build or one of the bleeding edge ones?
    smd@...
  • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

    Never crashes for me. You have some system specific problem.
    deathjazz
  • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

    I have a similar problem, which appeared a month ago. Coincidence, since yesterday I can not choose between Opera and Mozilla. Chrome uses lots of RAM. Why is it just me (friends all working) HTML5 retarding.
    slav_elephant
    • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

      @slav_elephant Firefox is great, and every version is mor stable and faster than the previous one. It can handle large umber of tabs better (try Panorama). Most firefox problems such as crash and slowdowns occur due to too many addons. I suggest you try that.
      KshitijC
      • Actually, most Firefox crashes are due to Adobe Flash

        @KshitijC Same for IE and Safary. Don't know if Opera has the same issue, but I bet it does too.

        I would not be surprise if the issue he is having with Chrome is related to Flash too.
        wackoae
      • Firefox is a problem child ...

        and so is its close cousin SeaMonkey. I'm running both on Ubuntu Linux, and both browsers go through rashes of crashing, where they'll crash five times in 3 minutes, often crashing while recovering from the previous crash. I checked my SeaMonkey crash log today and it showed over thirty (30) crashes in a 24-hour period. This isn't software; it's a cruel joke. As maligned as the ancestral Netscape Communicator was, it was far more stable than anything available from Mozilla today.
        Tony R.
      • "Actually, most Firefox crashes are due to ..."

        @wackajoe, if you'll examine the crash logs, you'll find that many of them are NOT due to Adobe Flash. Many are due to malloc hangs in xulrunner, the internal scripting engine of both Firefox and SeaMonkey, i.e. memory leaks. This is simply inexcusable. It smacks of amateurish code writing.
        Tony R.
  • My Chrome Is Tarnished

    I chuckled while reading this article, Ken. I've used every browser known to man and I'm back to IE(9) which you have no use for. It's funny how we marry a technology and then later wonder if the honeymoon is over. I've tried to use Chrome many times but now I only use it for my Gmail, Google calendar, and other Google products under my personal account login. I use IE9 for business stuff and I love it. The crashing part of Chrome is something I've experienced in my short relationship with it so you may have a point there. I enjoyed the read anyway.
    DavidBSS
    • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

      @David-at-best-security-software-dot-com Hear hear I prefer IE9 for its integration into Win7. Task bar pinning, jump lists etc.
      jatbains
      • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

        @jatbains

        You can pin any app to the Task Bar, and Jump Lists are not unique to IE9 or to Win7. OSX had them for a while - they're called Stacks.
        benched42
  • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

    Running Chrome or Windows for more than 12 hours? Better have at least 8GB of real memory.

    Try these extensions to Chrome for added stability:
    * Adblock Plus (gets rid of a lot of ad overhead)
    * Disconnect (gets rid of a lot of social media tracking)
    * Keep My Opt-Outs (more tracking)
    * Tab Dupectomy (open the same tab twice?)

    For flawless running, completely get rid of Flash, too.
    jrp@...
  • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

    I do believe you will miss Chrome. The rendering of fonts, such as the "w" look much better with Chrome. As for crashing, all browsers have this potential, and Chrome seems rather stable to me. Firefox is the one I use on Linux and it renders fonts well for Linux. Opera is interesting - sometimes frustrating, and hopefully still working on getting all sites to be compatible. Opera is better these days. Chrome is nice and lean without any tweaking. It uses loads of RAM, but the RAM is given back as tabs are closed.
    mytake4this
    • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

      @mytake4this I've yet to have Opera crash on me, and my experience with it goes back more than a decade. Yes, compatibility is still a problem, but not so much as formerly. The most annoying thing about the browser is its refusal at times to shut completely down. When that happens I just bring up Task Manager and click on opera.exe. Only takes a second.
      nikacat
  • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

    I've been using Chrome for 2 years and have never had it crash.
    angrymike
  • Crash Info Links

    http://www.zenilshroff.com/solution-for-google-chrome-frequent-crash-problem/
    http://support.google.com/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=142063
    http://support.google.com/chrome/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=known_issues.cs
    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Chrome/thread?tid=41140c3da7efa13f&hl=en
    http://www.techonzo.com/2010/01/how-to-fix-google-chrome-crash-problem/
    khess
  • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

    Chrome problem was resolve for me on first install: uninstall. I never liked the interface and totally hate the sneaky updates. Microsoft put a lot of work in UAC so you know when something gets installed and Chrome goes around and installs a new version without a prompt --> absolute security flaw.

    I also hate to many version changes, Come on how can a browser gets to version 16 in three years when IE is at version 9 in 15 years (though they should be a couple of versions higher, IE6 stayed way too long). I'm trying to give up Firefox for the same reason since they started jumping version every other week.

    I've got to admit I recently reinstalled Chrome on my laptop so I could play Angry Birds on my computer :-)
    lepoete73
    • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

      @lepoete73 Why is frequent version update a hindrance? I just love the speed and stability gains firefox has acquired since version 5/6 onwards. Every new version is faster and/or more stable. Loving it!
      So, now that (almost) all addons will stay compatible between versions, why do you dislike it, I'm curious.
      KshitijC
      • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

        @KshitijC
        I don't know you can say that every version has been faster and more stable. I've noticed the exact opposite if anything. the fastest, most stable release of firefox was back in version 2. which I think they just ended support for recently. To be completely honest there's not been any new addon updates due to the frequency of updates. as soon as FF 4 only a few were incompatible and were quickly updated by the authors, but then they pushed firefox 5, and nothing was compatible. it took weeks for a compatible version of plugins to get updated, then they pushed out 6 and everything became incompatible again!

        Chrome drove me nuts with frequent version updates. it would have been fine if it were once a month, but it wasn't once a month, it was every freaking day. I liked how quickly it could open a page, but the frequently being bothered to download the updated version finally drove me to uninstall it...just like firefox did a few months ago.
        sir_cheats_alot@...
    • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

      @lepoete73 - Innovation is how it's possible to get version numbers like Chrome's. Software innovators build daily and release often with a "don't break the build" mold.
      skrabler
  • RE: Google Chrome, I love ya but...

    chrome://conflicts/

    I have 111 modules loaded and no conflicts.

    I am exclusively using Chrome and also like 12 hours a day. I have it crash on me maybe 1-2 times a week.

    When I use the Chrome Canary build it crashes more often but that is to be expected.
    Boan2003