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Chrome Fails

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What with Safari bursting at the seams with obese features that can cripple lesser boxen, that only work good with an overload of RAM, Chrome is emerging even on OS X as the web browser of choice. But there are a number of 'fails' with Google's foray that are anything from mildly embarrassing to real head scratchers. And they go on version after version.

√ Add a tab. This little critter used to have a '+' sign in him. The sign disappeared. What's worse: the code that ran it is gone too. You can try replacing the missing images from an earlier version. Nothing works. So you have an empty widget that says nothing about what it does just sitting there. It changes colour a bit as you hover over it but that's all. From that point onward you're supposed to guess. Susan Kare is probably screaming.

√ Translate from what? Chrome can suggest the silliest things, like translating an English web page from Serbian.

√ HTML files only have the 'HTML' extension. This is particularly enervating. Go to any web server and see what 'HTML' extensions are allowed. There are myriad such as HTM, HTML, XHTML, SHTML, PHTML, and so forth. But when you're saving an HTML page from the web, Chrome insists you use the extension it chooses. Super-fail.

√ JPEG files. JPEG is an official acronym and most likely the extension got lost in the dark years of Microsoft OSI 8.3 dominance. But 'JPG' is the much more common extension today. By far. Chrome will tack on its own extension in some cases, only making you work harder.

√ Web page titles. <TITLE> tags are important in HTML. Teh Googels base their search indexes on them and display them in their search results. You'd think they could somehow display full web page titles without making you hover over a tab to get a tooltip. But no. Someone thought the design was really groovy as is and so web page titles suffered. As will you.

√ The dropping download widget. Downloading from the web is no fun anymore with Chrome - it induces headaches and eye strain. A widget pops up out of nowhere and falls to the bottom of your Chrome window, a flap opens up beneath the bottom of the window, and so forth. Needless pirouetting and intolerable cruelty.

√ Bleeding magnification. Magnify any tab and close it and the next tab will inherit the same magnification. Fail.

√ First tab opens two. The Google engineers still haven't figured out how to use a first empty tab for the first URL. Double-click an HTML file locally and you get two tabs, not one. Compare with Safari to see how it's really done.

√ Optimal maximisation. Teh Googels are still struggling with this. They can neither zoom to fill the entire screen nor zoom to display optimal content. And they've already burned through 18 versions. Wish them luck.

√ One click selects all. It's easy to see where teh Googels get their UI ideas. The MiSFiTs at Microsoft. Either directly or through one of the sycophantic Linux GUIs. Try selecting a part of a URL in the location bar and count the clicks.

√ Preferences. Good applications need few settings options. Good applications that do have a number of options will make them readily available through a minimum of work on the part of the user. Chrome's system with 'flaps' that turn up on screen is lugubrious. What Safari can do in one key combination and a single click can take four or five clicks (with a lot of scrolling) on Chrome.

√ Choosing your browser. Safari does the decent thing - lets you choose your default browser even if it isn't Safari. No such decency on the part of Chrome. And all the up-sell baubles can be a bit much. People don't want to be 'logged in' to Chrome to browse the web. They don't want to be tracked, period. Sorry, Google.

That being said, there are some features of Chrome that Safari can't offer yet. Primary of which is the ability to have Flash activated only on a click. What with all the junk on websites today, it's a relief to know your RAM and fan will stay calm and Flash will only be used when it's absolutely necessary (which should be never).

Further Reading
ACP Gurus: Google Chrome
Learning Curve: Chrome 15.0.874.121
Industry Watch: 'Click to Run': The Days of Flash
Hall of Monkeys: Google's Little Shop of Horrors
Industry Watch: Google Announce Windows Killer

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