Google Chrome for Mac

I have been using Google Chrome for Mac as my primary web browser this past week.

It seems fast. I am not citing any hard numbers, I just think it feels a little zippier than Safari.

Secondly, it initially felt like a Windows application to me. I inexplicably switched into my Windows mode, doing things like pressing Control-C instead of Command-C.

I used to work on a project building a DoD software collaboration community, Forge.mil. That website requires a special smart card called “CAC” (Common Access Card) in order to authenticate yourself securely. Unfortunately Chrome supports neither these hard tokens nor the software-based versions (commonly called PKCS#12). However, this issue has been fixed in Chromium, and will eventually make it to a major release.

It integrates nicely with the Mac OS X keychain which means I don’t need to store passwords separately, like Firefox does. This is excellent – the Keychain is the ideal place to store passwords and such. *

On Safari, I use the free plugin ClickToFlash to prevent Adobe Flash files from loading automatically (this saves memory, battery power, and other resources). This plugin does not work with Chrome. Eventually, however, Chrome Extensions will work on the Mac version and there is a similar Chrome extension called Block Flash.

Summary

I’m excited to see how Google Chrome grows. The intense competition among web browsers today has spurred a lot of innovation in this space such as Apple building SquirrelFish, and has also discouraged browser-specific extensions and hacks.

So that’s that. I’m using Google Chrome full-time. I like it.

UPDATE 1: I just came upon a missing feature that bugs me. Chrome for Mac does not display PDFs in the browser, instead it downloads them, forcing you to open them in Preview or Adobe Reader, and then delete them afterwards. Considering most PDFs I browse to are kept around only long enough to glance at or print, this is a big shortcoming.

UPDATE 2: * The usernames do not autocomplete – only the passwords. I can’t tell if this is a feature or a bug. It’s a feature if you want to force potential snoopers from simply visiting your bank website and logging in without knowing the username. However I think that’s a lousy defense especially since the baddie could easily find the username in the Apple Keychain.

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