I’ve been a Safari user since I first started using a Mac in 2008. I dabbled a little with Firefox initally given that I had used it extensively on Windows and Linux but it always seemed so clunky on OSX. Safari was nice and simple and quick. As I become a heavy iOS user Safari kept making sense, especially with synced bookmarks, iCloud tabs, and iCloud keychain.

However recently I started experimenting with Chrome on OSX. This came about when learning AngularJS because there is a Chrome extension for debugging it. And I quickly found it to be a very nice experience.

Points in favour of Chrome:

  1. Multiple profiles. Super handy for work. I have a profile for work and one for home. Each profile can have separates bookmarks and history. Switching between them is trivial.
  2. Cross-platform. I can run Chrome on Linux and OSX. Also handy where I work.
  3. Web inspector seems much more responsive than Safari’s.
  4. The tab UI is much better. The inclusion of favicons and a thinner font makes nagivating around quicker with less guess work. Everything kind of looks alike in Safari.

Safari Tabs

Chrome Tabs

Points against Chrome:

  1. Not as power efficient as Safari on OSX. It’s often in the “Apps using Significant Power” menu of shame. This is an issue for me as my MacBook Air gets a lot of usage away from power. I’m assuming that this is something that Google will address.
  2. The way it behaves when you acces the menu in OSX fullscreen mode is sub-optimal. It just drops the menu down over the top of the app. This is pretty standard actually, but Safari does it a bit nicer. Safari slides the toolbar and tabs down to accomodate the menu and reveals the bookmark bar as well. That lets me use the bookmarks bar but not have it visible all the time.
  3. No way to sync bookmarks/history/tabs to Safari on iOS. (Unless you are Windows in which case Apple supplies a Chrome and Firefox extensions to sync their bookmarks to iCloud.)

Since I’m a Pocket user the lack of bookmark syncing isn’t that much of a big deal. I’ve had a brief play with Chrome on iOS. It’s nice, but I’m not 100% convinced. I know that a few of the iOS apps I use regularly do provide the option to use Chrome instead of Safari. Maybe I should try it for a week or two and see how that goes.

Right now the UI is what is keeping Chrome in my dock in place of Safari is the UI. It is so clean and light that it makes the whole experience of using it feel lightweight and fast.