Switched back to Safari from Chrome... Again

Google Chrome No MoreGoogle lit up the hornet's nest yesterday when they announced that they were dropping built-in support of H.264 for their own 'open' WebM and OGG video formats.

I reconfigured Xmarks on all my computers (to sync all my bookmarks between FireFox, Safari and Chrome), and I'm back to using Safari full-time, with FireFox as my main backup. (FF 4.0 can't come soon enough).

It was good knowing ye, Chrome. I actually had my sights set on using Chrome indefinitely until yesterday.

(One of the many reasons I detest this decision by Google is that I have tested the waters of using WebM and/or OGG video for some web projects (using the HTML5 video tag), and found it sorely lacking, and a major pain to even attempt to use.* If I'm having so much trouble getting video into this ridiculous format, how can I ever expect my Mom/Sister/Friend/Brother/whomever is not as tech-y as I to do it?!).

Google: Please rescind your decision. For the good of the web, and for the good of my 500+ already encoded videos, and for the good of web developers, video content producers, and device makers everywhere.

For anyone else switching from another browser to Safari, here are a few tips:

  1. Install Xmarks to sync your bookmarks. It's awesome.
  2. Install Keywurl to search from Safari's address bar - it's even better than the 'wonder bar' or whatever it's called in Chrome. (How to install for Safari 5).
  3. Install the Ultimate Status Bar extension for Safari, and ditch the status bar. It's also awesome.

The only thing I love about Chrome that I can't do with Safari is use the Shift+Command+N shortcut to quickly open a 'private browsing' window. Oh well.

Just six months ago, I switched from Chrome to Safari when 5.0 was released... but then I switch back to Chrome again for it's private browsing keyboard shortcut (I used that a lot for website anonymous user testing...). Now back to Safari!

*See: HTML5 Video Embedding on a Drupal website

Why I'm Switching Back from Chrome to Safari 5.0

Chrome was great. It was Safari, with a little more speed, better tabs, and a cool status bar that would only show when it needed to.

But I'm switching back, for the following reasons:

  1. Safari 5.0 is just as fast as Chrome.
  2. Safari's tab system is nicer looking than Chrome. Not a biggie.
  3. Safari can read PDFs without opening up an external application, and without downloading it to your Downloads folder. I hate having to clear out my Downloads folder every day after inadvertently clicking on PDF links (who uses PDFs anyways? ;-).
  4. When you right-click on an element in Safari (anywhere on the page), and click 'Inspect Element,' it works correctly. In Chrome, if you do this to an element under where the Inspector shows, the inspector shows an overview of the html structure...
  5. Safari allows you to set a default page for new windows/tabs/etc. Chrome requires an extension to do the same, and it doesn't work as well.
  6. Safari has Reader. Awesome. Instant Instapaper.
  7. Safari's recent page gallery view is much nicer than Chrome's recent pages view.
  8. Safari lets you drag URLs straight from the URL bar to the desktop (or any app that supports files being dragged to it), creating a link file. Chrome doesn't.
  9. Safari has a built-in RSS reader that beats the heck out of any Chrome RSS extension.
  10. Safari is a Mac OS X first-class application. Chrome is always lagging on the Mac platform, behind its Windows counterpart.

The only ridiculously awesome thing Chrome has that Safari doesn't is the ability to search straight from the 'magic bar' or whatever Google calls it. Keywurl used to support this, but I'm not sure if it works with Safari 5... maybe there's an extension I can use somewhere. Nevermind. Keywurl works great with Safari 5, as long as you follow these directions for editing Keywurl's info.plist file.

Another minor quibble is that Safari can crash altogether due to one page crashing... Chrome opens a new process for each tab, which is a nice feature.

I'll still use Chrome as my 'anonymous user' browser, but Safari takes the cake for beauty and efficiency. For now.

(Some might ask why I don't use FireFox... I say it's way too slow for anything except, ironically, YSlow).

Two Worthwhile Chrome Extensions

I've been using Chrome as my primary browser for about three weeks now, and two of the most essential extensions I've found are listed below. I'm still not 100% sold on Chrome, especially because of privacy concerns (do I really want all of my digital life stored on Google and accessed through Google?), but it's fast, and it's almost less buggy than Safari.

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