Firefox vs Chrome

A comparison of the pros and cons of Firefox 3 and Chrome 4:

Firefox 3
Pros:

  • Awesome Bar (address bar) instantly pulls up results from history and bookmarks
  • Search keywords: search other sites from the address bar
  • Bookmark keywords: bookmark shortcuts
  • Type-ahead-find (aka find-as-you-type or quick find): links only mode is great for mouseless navigation

Cons:

  • Slow cold starts (sometimes painfully slow)
  • Screen-space inefficient: the best you can do is have one toolbar, but that still leaves the title bar and status bar

Google Chrome 4
Pros:

  • Super fast startup and browsing
  • Very screen-space efficient: title bar is eliminated and status bar is replaced with an unobtrusive popup whenever a link is hovered
  • Omnibox (address bar) remembers any site you search so you can search it from the address bar (‘press tab to search this site’)
  • Address bar instantly fills with commonly used URLs (no need to press down to select the result)

Cons:

  • Omnibox is weak at pulling results from history and bookmarks. Slow and inconsistent. Just doesn’t retrieve stuff like Firefox does.
  • Lacks a native type-ahead-find (what an oversight!); there is a pretty good extension that implements it, but it has some minor flaws (e.g., doesn’t integrate with the built-in ctrl+f find.)

Both are great browsers that have some key weaknesses. Which browser is better depends on which features are more important to you. I’m split: after switching to Chrome from Firefox, I’m contemplating going back to Firefox for the quick-find and Awesome Bar, though I’d really miss Chrome’s extra screen space and speed. Hopefully these issues get resolved in future versions… Chrome would be an amazing browser if it didn’t have the two glaring weaknesses I noted.

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