Neville Hobson

I prefer Google Chrome

I spent some time last weekend doing some updating and general sorting out on my dadâ€s laptop, an IBM Thinkpad running Windows XP.

Among the many updates I installed was Internet Explorer from version 7 to version 8. Itâ€s pretty but, boy, is it slow to load and then use, especially compared to version 7 (which is pretty slow as well).

My experience doesnâ€t match Microsoftâ€s claims of performance improvements. Itâ€s slow compared to Firefox, too (and others are saying that). And thatâ€s slow as well.

‘Slow†is a bit subjective, I realize. What do I mean by ‘slowâ€? I mean the time it takes for the app to load and display your home page, whatever it may be. Itâ€s a perception: I donâ€t sit here with a stop watch nor do benchmarking.

Internet Explorer 7 and 8, as well as Firefox 3.x, take up to 20 seconds to get to the state where you can start clicking or scrolling.

Thatâ€s not good enough, especially for a user like my dad whoâ€s not at the leading edge of computing nor an early adopter. His laptop is not the latest and greatest but itâ€s still pretty good, runs XP without any issues: it just works. He wants to get at the information heâ€s after and not sit waiting for something to happen on screen. Not an unreasonable state of expectation.

So Iâ€ve installed Google Chrome on his laptop.

Why? Because itâ€s fast. Very fast compared to Internet Explorer and Firefox: from clicking the icon to getting a home page window takes less than 10 seconds with Google Chrome. Thatâ€s to a usable state in half the time.

Good enough.

Iâ€m still running Firefox on my own desktop PC as my primary browser. Thatâ€s largely because I have a few add-ins that I find indispensible with no equivalents for Google Chrome.

But Iâ€m fast approaching the moment when a good usability experience with Google Chrome outweighs the benefits of those add-ins.

I donâ€t think it will be long.

[Later] Two things:

  1. I forgot to acknowledge image sources before publishing this post. The IE icon overlaid with a prohibited symbol you see at the top is by Neuro-Designs. The Google Chrome icon is from the Wikipedia entry.
  2. Remembering that I recorded an audio commentary about IE8 on Audioboo at the weekend. About 3 mins 40 secs. Very first impressions. Some of my timing is a bit out compared to today’s. But today I did pay close attention to loading times so more accurate.
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