Do I have to leave Google Chrome behind?

I live in my web browser - it needs to "just work" - without fail.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

I've been an avid user of Google Chrome since it was first released. Generally, it's fast, it enables the latest features in Google's various services, it syncs across all of my computers, has great extensions, and, lately, is buggy as hell.

I live in my browser. I write there. I communicate there. I even play there once in a while. The only desktop applications I use anymore are Adobe CS6 (which was just released, totally rocks, and is another story for another day), Skype, and Evernote, and I'm increasingly using Evernote's web interface. I utterly rely on the web and a browser for virtually everything I do. And while I don't mind tinkering once in a while, my browser is not something with which I have the time or desire to play around.

Chrome had been rock solid for some time and I happily embraced it as part of that lovely Google ecosystem of which I'm so fond (Some people would call that lock-in, but I prefer the ecosystem moniker). Lately, though, especially on Windows, Chrome has been hanging on certain pages, crashing Flash-heavy sites on resume, failing to load, failing to fully uninstall, bogging down under my myriad of tabs, and otherwise slowing me down.

In fact, I'm typing this in Firefox for the first time since 2009.

Chrome has never been especially easy on system memory, especially with Flash-intensive sites, but when I'm running quad-core machines with 8GB of RAM, performance shouldn't be an issue, no matter how many tabs and windows I have open. The kicker, though, began last week, when Chrome began throwing errors on launch about incompatibility with my version of Windows (Win 7 Pro, 64-bit) and requiring reinstallation just to launch. A search of Google's support forums revealed many users with similar or related problems.

Plenty of fixes were proposed, many around corrupted user profiles, renaming profiles, fully uninstalling, fully reinstalling (the latter two didn't work on repeated attempts and system restarts as Chrome never seemed to fully uninstall), checking for malware, etc.

It wasn't malware, it was just buggy. I don't want to have to mess around with the browser. I want to optimize it, install the tools I need, and just use it. Period.

And the average user isn't going to have the wherewithal to be tweaking, renaming, digging, and otherwise screwing with what should be their most heavily used application (after, possibly, Microsoft Office).

I don't want to leave Chrome behind. Firefox and Opera are both perfectly fine browsers, but I really like Chrome. It works for me. Or at least it always has. Now, I'm not so sure.

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