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Of late I have found myself using Google Chrome with increasing frequency, to the point at which it has become my default, go-to browser. The reasons for this are simple: it is lighter, faster and supports more cutting-edge standards and proposals.

There are a few other significant advantages to Chrome:

  • Chrome preferences settingsChrome supports complete syncing of the browser across multiple installations via your Google account (a gMail account is fine). Turn sync on in preferences for Chrome on two or more computers using the same account, and everything is kept synchronous across multiple installations: history, bookmarks, preferences, themes, even extensions. That means no more “setting up” Chrome on any machine: turn sync on, sign in, and everything is good to go. (Competitors, such as XMarks, only synchronize history and bookmarks).
  • Extensions are instantly available – there is no need to restart the browser after installing an extension.
  • Silent updates: left to its own devices, Chrome will upgrade itself via downloads from Google as code becomes available; there is no need to manually search out or install patches or upgrades.
  • Developer Tools, built into the browser by default, combines the best of Firebug and the Web Developer plugin.

I would never use a browser that did not have the ability to block unwanted media: fortunately, AdBlock and FlashBlock cover that.

Chrome is not perfect: for me, it features two significant disadvantages. The first is the lack of a built-in tab manager (I am someone who typically has a minimum of a dozen tabs open at any one time; of course, there are extensions for that, too). The second is somewhat more serious: because Chrome has a strong sandboxing security model, its API allows limited access to the code of any document, especially documents that reside on the computer itself. That means that the Web Developer plugin for Chrome cannot use the “Validate Local HTML” option (sending the code on the page to the W3C for validation) or “Validate Local CSS”.

This is not an insurmountable issue – I can validate HTML code via direct input, copying the code from any page and pasting it in, or validate a page hosted on a server. (“Validate HTML” for publicly accessible web pages works fine). And obviously neither problem is enough to stop me from using the browser.

Those caveats aside, I would strongly recommend checking out Chrome: it (and other non-IE browsers) are the only way you are going to interact with cutting-edge technology like HTML 5 and WebGL.

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