Tag Archives: browser

Google Chrome is a Dog

I love Google Chrome. It’s my default (or go-to) browser on just about any platform. It’s feature-packed and always-up-to-date.

However, that said, it’s a performance dog on damn near every OS. Honestly, how Google could let performance remain on the bottom of the stack for so long is beyond me. Sure, it executes JavaScript quick as lightning, but… let me just tell you where I’m getting ready to drop-kick Google Chrome to the curb.

On OS X, despite both browsers relying on WebKit as the foundation, Safari’s desktop performance blows Chrome out of the water. In Safari, I don’t really have to worry about dropped frames or stuttery / laggy scrolling. Google+ seems to buckle Chrome’s ability to cope – ironic, eh?

Then there’s Android. Why not use Google Chrome there? I mean, it’s Google’s + Google’s – right? I couldn’t stand opening up the browser on my Nexus 7 because it has just been a god-awful experience compared to other tablet platforms which have no issue when it comes to scrolling. There’s nothing smooth about Google Chrome on Android. It’s just as much of a slug on ChromeOS, too.

So, here we have bad performance with Google on Google.

It wasn’t until my community recommended that I try the free Dolphin browser on Android that I really saw just how bad Chrome has been – or, more to the point, just how inconsistent an Android experience can be for a user (and between various apps on the same platform).

In 5 seconds, Dolphin changed my experience with browsing the web on Android – and it puts Chrome’s performance, once again, to shame. If you don’t believe me, download Dolphin for Android and head over to The Verge’s web site. Then, visit the same site from Google Chrome for Android. The difference, I can pretty much assure you, is astounding.

So, uh… what’s up, Google? When you gonna start making this less stuttery on all platforms? I’m begging you. :)

Opera 11.10 Beta


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Catching up with Thomas from Opera during SXSW this past weekend was enlightening in more ways than one. The team attended the conference to show off the new beta for Opera 11.10. There are a lot of enhancements to this iteration of the browser and a few new goodies you should enjoy.

The popular Speed Dial feature has been beefed up quite a lot. All of your favorite pages will now have much clearer previews. Dials can even show live content for websites. There isn’t a limit as to how many dials you can use. It’s so simple to adjust the Speed Dial view to make it fit YOU and your setup. Click the little + sign to add a new website and type the address or just choose from a long list of suggestions.

Edit the name, and you’ve totally owned that dial. Devs can optimize their Speed Dial thumbnails which lets you see what is happening on your favorite sites with one quick glance.

The design has been enhanced significantly. The graphics and UI offer a more sleek and modern look. Features are much easier to find and actually use. This new design is said to have the feel of a “finely tuned browsing machine.”

Version 11.10 supports CSS3 linear gradients and multiple columns. The browser shows webpages using the best standards in all of their relative glory. It’s also now much easier to install your favorite plugins, including ones like Adobe’s Flash Player. They’ll install quickly and automagically.

It’s quite interesting to watch the browser wars these days. With the recent release of Internet Explorer 9 – and tomorrow’s release of FireFox 4 – Opera doesn’t have much choice but to innovate. With all of the new-fangled features in each of these offerings, it leaves me wondering where there is to go next. Will they one day develop a browser that will simply know what we’re thinking and take us there? Could we finally expect a browser that loads pages literally instantly?

Where do you think browsers will be heading in the next few years? What more can we possibly expect to see that isn’t already being done? Most importantly, (for this post, anyways) does Opera have what it takes to maintain a large user base?

Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts for Google Chrome


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Google’s Chrome browser may be considered as the #2 browser for both Mac and Windows systems. However, many geeks consider it to be the number ONE browser of choice. We tend to feel that it offers a better browsing quality along with faster performance. You also can’t deny that there are many excellent Extensions available.

No matter which browser you choose, your experience will be even better if you know some of the shortcuts available. Matthew happens to be a Chrome guru and has put together several keyboard shortcuts, tips and tricks to help you out.

  • CTRL + SHIFT + B – This shows or hides your bookmarks bar.
  • CTRL + T – This opens up a new tab inside of Chrome.
  • CTRL + SHIFT + T – Automatically remembers the last tab you closed and re-opens it for you.
  • CTRL + W – Closes the current/active tab.
  • CTRL + N – Opens a whole new Chrome window.
  • CTRL + H – Quickly access your browser history.
  • CTRL + J – Navigate to your downloads history/menu quickly.
  • CTRL + L – Quickly highlight the text in your URL bar.
  • CTRL + SHIFT + DEL – Opens up the Clear Browsing Data box so you can quickly delete your history.

There are a couple of features you may have never heard of before. Dragging a link up into your tab area will automatically open that link in a new tab. Be careful of the links you drag, though. You never know what might open!

Hitting SHIFT + ESC on your keyboard will open the Chrome task manager. Many people don’t even realize this exists. You can manage problematic tabs from this task manager. Instead of occupying one process that takes a huge amount of system memory, Chrome separates tabs into single processes. Separating the processes is actually much more secure than having them lumped into a giant one. Being able to lock down each tab ensures that malware doesn’t have as much capability to infect your entire browser or system. This is also much more stable. You have likely experienced a crash inside of Chrome at some point. However, that crash only affects a specific tab due to it being set up as its own individual process.

If you want to go back to a page you were just on but don’t want to leave the page you currently have open, use CTRL + Back Button. This will open a new tab with the last-viewed page inside of it. You can also use this same basic feature to open links: hold down CTRL while clicking a link on a web page. A new tab will open with that link inside.

If you have a lot of tabs open and want to scroll through them quickly, hold down your CTRL key and use the numbers 1-9. This allows you to fast-switch between each tab to see what content is there and find what you need even faster.

Here’s a neat little trick: you may want to take a regular tab and turn it into a new Chrome window. Simply click and hold the tab, drag it out of the tab area and let go. A new stand-alone browsing window will open right up. If you want to put it back into your tab bar, just hit the ESC key.

A nifty trick involving the URL bar: Let’s say you want to go to LockerGnome.com. Type the word LockerGnome into the URL bar and hit CTRL + Enter. Instead of doing a Google search for the word LockerGnome, Chrome will add the www. in front of the term, and .com to the end, taking you directly to the website in question!

What other Chrome tips and tricks do you have? Does your browser support awesome shortcuts like this?

Why Do You Use Google Chrome?


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Someone in our live community recently asked what I feel the advantages – and disadvantages – are for using Google Chrome. We are talking about the web browser in this instance, not the operating system. Google Chrome is built upon the Chromium foundation, as are Flock and RockMelt.

One advantage of Chrome is that they are constantly releasing new versions. It’s not going to disappear into obscurity. Google’s entire business model IS “the Web.” They are going to do their best to continue to try and build the best browser possible. There’s seemingly always a new beta version available, proving further that they are evolving on a regular basis.

I honestly can’t come up with a disadvantage, unless someone doesn’t want statistics sent back to Google. There are occasional crashes, as well, but yeah – EVERY browser has that problem at times. Is there anything you can think of?

What are YOUR thoughts? Is Chrome a good choice – or not?

Which Social Browser Do You Use?


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Marques recently did a screencast to talk about the new RockMelt browser. This week, he’s showing off another social browser alternative – the newest version of Flock.

Flock pulls all of your favorite people, places and content together in a convenient view and delivers a more personal experience of the web, where its users are more easily connected to what’s important to them.

There are many improvements over the last Flock version, including:

  • chrome 5 merge (many crash fixes, better extension handling, improved performance)
  • more HTML5 support (Geolocation APIs, App Cache, web sockets, and file drag-and-drop, improved crash handling)
  • expanded favorites management (bulk delete, tagging, public/private)
  • foreign characters can be used in tags, user names and Explore searches
  • increased performance and stability of Groups page
  • editable retweets (by default RTs are ‘new’ style, but as soon as you drop your cursor in and edit they become ‘old school’ RTs)

Are you using a social browser? Which one do you prefer – and why?

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How Will RockMelt Change the Way You Browse?


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Marques is back with another screencast. This time, he’s taking a close look at the hot new RockMelt browser. If you’re a social media addict who cannot get enough of your Facebook and Twitter streams, you’re going to want to pay close attention.

RockMelt takes a whole new approach to sharing within a web browser. You’ll be asked to log in with your Facebook and Twitter accounts during setup. There are places to share photos, videos and links quickly and easily. You have a place to update your status without having to use a third-party application or having to head to either Facebook or Twitter.

Read the updates and check out the media that all of your friends are sending. You can stay on whatever website you’re currently reading and still take the time to pay attention to the friends and family who matter most to you.

Sharing hot news stories is simple. While you have any web page open, simply click the share button and tell RockMelt which of your social sites you want the link sent to. Add a short message of your own to explain the link and you’re done. There’s nothing to copy and paste… there’s nothing to log into.

If you’re a social media addict, this may just be the browser for you. It’s fast as heck, being based on the Chromium build. RockMelt receives a perfect 100 out of 100 on the Acid 3 test! It’s available for any platform you may be on, and is simple to use.

Thanks, Marques, for an excellent screencast.

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New RockMelt Social Browser Changes the Way You Surf

There’s a new kid in town, and this one may just be the one you’ve been waiting for. If you’re a social creature online, the new RockMelt browser is going to be a game changer for you. Built from Chromium, it’s fast, secure and stable. However, it also adds in all of the things that you have been needing without even knowing it.

A browser can – and should – be about more than just navigating the Web. The official release states that “The browser connects you to your world. Why not build your world right into your browser?” Building the world into it is exactly what they have done. You can now chat, share media and see status updates from your friends in real-time – no matter what website you are on. You don’t have to go to Facebook’s site to see what’s going on there, and you don’t have to fire up a third-party program such as Seesmic or TweetDeck.

Sharing things you come across has never been easier. You won’t need to pull up said Twitter application or copy and paste a link. The browser has a “Share It” button baked in next to the URL bar. If you want to share the site or story you are viewing, just click that share button and it’s finished. Tell the browser upon setup what site you want to share things on, and let it do the work for you.

Because RockMelt is the first browser you log into, it unlocks your Web experience with your Facebook friends, your feeds, your favorite services, even your bookmarks and preferences. RockMelt is also the first browser to be fully backed by the cloud. This means you can access your personal browsing experience from anywhere, and you get quick updates from the people and sites that are important to you.

Behind the scenes, RockMelt is always working on your behalf. Do you visit the same site 10 times a day, checking for new posts or updates? Well, RockMelt keeps track of all your favorite sites for you, alerting you when a new story comes out, a friend posts new pictures, or a new video is available. And when you open a RockMelt feed, the content is already waiting for you. You can Like, comment, reply, retweet, share – all the actions you’ve come to expect from each service you follow.

While this browser will be excellent for many of you, there is an entire large sector who is already complaining loudly. Robert Scoble, for instance, feels that they have not yet nailed it completely. Social media sites have radically changed the way he lives his life, as it has mine – and likely yours. He wants a browser that integrates things such as Plancast and Foodspotting into his browser. This hasn’t happened so far, and it remains to be seen if RockMelt will bring that to the table in the future.

Have you taken RockMelt for a drive yet? What are your thoughts so far?

What’s New for Internet Explorer 9


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The beta for Internet Explorer 9 was officially released this morning during a press conference. This streamlined version has a better user experience and is far faster than any previous iteration of the application. With this release, Microsoft is asking us to “unlock the beauty of the web.” The team in Redmond feels that a browser should be focusing on a website – not the browser used to access it. IE 9 contains a lot of design changes and new features to make visiting websites an efficient process.

The new streamlined user interface features minimalized focus on the Home, Favorites and Settings menu buttons. They aren’t right in your face and larger-than-life anymore. There is a new position for Tabs and a new design for the URL bar. The speed is a drastic improvement, making it a competitor to other browsers once again.

The scrolling feature is a much smoother experience than in previous versions, assisted by new hardware acceleration. There is better Flash and HTML 5 integration. You will find that you now have the ability to easily see which add-ons might be slowing down the browser as it launches. There’s also a download manager to warn you if the code you’re trying to nab is potentially malicious.

Keep in mind that IE 9 will only work on Windows Vista or Windows 7. If you’re still using XP, you’re out of luck and unable to experience the actual goodness that we’re seeing out of the Microsoft camp today.

Thanks to Matthew for this excellent screencast and first peek at Internet Explorer 9.

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What is the Home Page in Your Browser?

One of the most popular questions on Lockergnome asks members what they use for a home page. This thread has been active for a few months now. That itself is impressive: most questions die out after only a few hours. The overwhelming consensus is that people are using Google for their home page. This actually shocked me a bit. Sure, Google is becoming a verb instead of a website. It’s all-powerful in the minds of some people. But is this really what you need to see every single time you fire up a browser page?

I have nothing against the popular search engine. I happen to use it myself! However, I can think of many other sites which should hold that golden place of honor on my desktop. You may argue that you can find everything in an instant with Google. Yup, that’s true! You can click inside the handy little search box most browsers provide to do that search, though. Why would you need it as your home page?

What is the first thing you see when you fire up your browser du jour? What made you choose that particular site?

If I had my way, all of you would set our software site as your home page. You can find all of the apps and software you need there – at the best of prices. Why would you need anything else?

Google Chrome Beta: Speedy and Simple to Use

The newest beta release of Google Chrome promises enhanced usability and stability to users. The new features are designed to increase browser speed and responsiveness and makes it easier for you to access everything you need with just one click.

Autofill will help you fill in Web forms with information you specify, including your name, phone number, address and credit card numbers. The feature builds this information up over time. Eventually, you’ll be able to fill in a long Web form with only a couple of clicks – never having to re-type the information over and over again. For your security and safety, all personal information stored in Chrome is stored securely and kept private until you choose to use it on a Web site.

You’ll find more synchronization capabilities in this new version. In addition to syncing bookmarks, preferences and themes, you can now also sync your Chrome extensions and Autofill data (NOT including credit card numbers) through your Google account. With these sync features, you can personalize your Chrome experience and access your well-organized information and settings no matter what computer you may be using. As long as you sign in to your Google account on Chrome, you’ll be able to access everything you might need. Just head to the “Sync” section of the “Personal Stuff” tab in Chrome’s options to get started.

Are you a Chrome user or beta tester? What are your thoughts on the speed and overall performance of this newest iteration of the popular browser?

Google Chrome 5 Beta


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Marques has created several excellent screencasts for us in the past. This time, he wanted to show off how fast and stable the latest beta release of Google Chrome is. He feels that it’s the fastest browser to date. Additionally, Marques loves that the Extension integration has been made much simpler to use, and is instantaneous when you install or remove them.

There is quite a large collection of Extensions available. You’ll find categories for web development, blogging, shopping, sports, fun and accessibility. They install to your browser instantly with just one click, and remove themselves even faster. All you have to do is click on the little wrench icon at the top right of the browser, and choose Extensions.

The Acid3 Test is a fantastic way to test your browser’s speed and capability. It works with any browser you might have installed. It will determine not only the speed of the browser, but also how well it renders things. As you saw in the screencast, this version of Google Chrome rated 100 out of 100. The rendering wasn’t perfect… but again, it’s still a beta release. Apparently, my assistant Kat tested her Firefox browser, and only received a score of 94/100. That should tell you something, folks, about how much better this iteration of Chrome really is.

Thanks, Marques, for another great screencast.

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Safari 5.0.1 Brings Extensions to the Table

Apple released Safari 5.0.1 into the wilds today. Also introduced at long last is the Safari Extensions Gallery. Apple introduced extensions last June, giving developers time to begin creating browser add-ons using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript standards. This move brings Safari into play again alongside Chrome and Firefox – both of which already support addon features.

What came as a surprise was the name of a few of the new extensions – namely those from Bing and Amazon. You’ll also find extensions for MLB.com, the New York Times, Twitter and eBay. You can access the new extensions within the browser, and install with a single click. You’ll not have to restart Safari for your choices to take affect, unlike what you have to do with Firefox.

Manage your addons within your Safari window and update with a single click. Disable or enable individual extensions or turn them all off at once. Each extension comes with a signed, digital certificate from Apple to “prevent tampering.” This also verifies that updates come from the original developer. Your extensions are also sandboxed. This will keep them from being able to access information on your system, and disallows communication with websites other than those specified by the developer.

Firefox Tab Candy Keeps Tabs Organized

An Introduction to Firefox’s Tab Candy from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

If you’re anything like I am, you have a kazillion different tabs open in your browser at any given time. Trying to navigate through them to get back to where you need to be is sometimes a complete nightmare. Often, you’ll end up simply opening yet another new tab to do something rather than wade through already-open ones to find whatever it was you wanted. Tabs are a godsend – and a mess. This is why the folks over at Firefox are bringing Tab Candy to you.

Aza Rasking from Mozilla talks about Tab Candy today on his blog. While the application is still in the early stages of testing, it sure as heck looks to be pretty damn sweet. Tab Candy lets you zoom out to get a different view of all of your tabs. You can re-arrange them into certain spaces so that they’re clumped together in a way that makes more sense. This should help you find things much quicker.

When your tabs are organized by group, you can choose that group and only look at the tabs you have placed there. The other tabs (in different groups) are still there, they will just be out of your direct view until you are finished focusing on the selected group. Change the sizes of your groups while zoomed in to keep more important things highlighted. According to Raskin, ““Make the group with your calendar and email bigger so that you can see what’s new just by zooming out to Tab Candy. Hide the group with distractions in a corner.”

What are your thoughts? Are you planning to try this out for yourself?

Firefox Beta 4.0 Annoyances

Jordan LeBlanc wrote an email to me recently, which appears below. He tried out the beta version of Firefox 4.0 for his Mac, and he wasn’t very happy with the results. He did the right thing in reporting the bug that annoyed him. I’m not sure, though, that I agree with uninstalling and ceasing to use a beta for that reason alone. The whole point of being a beta tester is to continue to update the builds, continue testing it and continue reporting any problems.

Hey Chris:

Just wondering if you have spent any time using Firefox 4.0 beta on the Mac, and if so, what are your thoughts on it?

I took it for a test drive today and I am sad to say that after 5 minutes, I uninstalled the darn thing. It showed promise — it was actually really fast – more so than Safari 5, and perhaps even slightly faster than Chrome. But — and this was the killer for me — it kept placing a 2nd icon on my dock for no apparent reason! At first I thought it was pop ups, but when you click on the icon… nothing happens. When you use dock expose on the Firefox app, it only shows one window. It is just some weird, random and useless icon that keeps appearing no matter how often you close it. After 5 minutes, I decided it was too much of an annoyance, and I uninstalled the beta – but not before I provided feedback about the issue via the “why Firefox made me sad” feedback menu.

It’s sort of sad, because Firefox used to be an amazing browser back in the day when it was designed to be fast, bloat free, and have a small footprint. If I remember correctly, that was the whole point to Firefox! If you wanted something slow and bloated you used IE or Mozilla’s full client. IMHO, Firefox started going downhill when they lost sight of that vision, and began adding all these crazy add-ons and themes. It has become the very thing it had been created to challenge.

Guess I’ll be sticking with Safari and Chrome for the foreseeable future. Firefox just isn’t what it used to be.

Have you tried out the beta version yet? What are your thoughts on it overall? Do you have any specifics praises or concerns that you want to share with the community?

Bring Firefox Home to Your iPhone

The wait is finally over! The free Firefox Home app is now available for download! Firefox Home gives you easy access to your Firefox desktop – the bookmarks, open tabs and history – right from your iPhone or iPod Touch. It uses your browser data which is synced securely through the cloud. You can search and browse quickly and efficiently, and always find exactly what you need while you’re on the go. Your Firefox data is private, and no one will have access to it other than you.

Tapping on one of the links will open the page in the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser. The application works using Firefox’s Sync add-on, which lets you upload your Firefox profile to the cloud. This is great news for those of you who use Firefox as your main browser. My assistant Kat uses it on her own machine, and is very excited about this new release. Now that she has an iPhone this will help her be more efficient when she’s away from her desk.

Kat told me that she is almost too organized. She has folders inside of folders on her computer, each one labeled clearly in order to help her find what she needs in a matter of seconds. With all of the different things she does for me, she needs the same type of organization within her browser. She reports that her version of Firefox has several folders on her Bookmarks Toolbar, giving her fast access to the things she needs as she’s working.

By adding Firefox Home to her iPhone 3GS, she’ll never again have to hunt something down. Will you be adding this new app to your own iPhone?