Google Chrome is the most-used browser on the internet. The browser rose to fame as an alternative to slow, sluggish incumbents — Internet Explorer and Safari. But Google Chrome has become the new leader, and as a result has itself become the sluggish incumbent.
It became the thing we hated. We created a monster.
It’s time for a change.
I don’t say this lightly.
Over the past few months, I’ve been testing browsers, examining things like performance, memory usage, battery usage, and overall feel of using the browser.
I know that picking the “best” browser is a personal and potentially controversial thing. It’s a bit like asking whose Mom makes the best apple pie (mine, of course), or whether it’s cats or dogs that rule (cats, because dogs are just a rubbish, attention-seeking kind of cat).
The answers are personal. Specific to the individual use case.
But, with that said, I can still come up with a number of good reasons to dump Chrome.
If your device is powered by a battery, then you’re best using the stock browser.
On Windows, that is Edge, and on Mac and iOS that’s Safari. Both have been highly tuned to the platform they are running on and offer the best battery life and thermal performance possible.
Yes, you can tweak and fiddle with Chrome to make things better, but better is still far from best.
When I switched from Chrome to Safari on my daily driver MacBook Pro, I was getting over an hour of extra battery life, which is a very significant gain.
Switching to Safari on the iPhone also got me significantly better battery life, but it’s harder to measure since the browser isn’t the main focus of my day on that platform.
For the best possible battery and power performance, use the stock browser.
Operating system optimizations
One of the great “selling” points of Google Chrome is that you get a streamlined, consistent experience across all the platforms you are using.
That’s nice for sure, but after using Edge and Safari on their respective platforms for a few weeks, I was surprised to find how clunky that experience actually is, compared to the stock browser.
It’s hard to put it into words, but Safari on Mac or Edge on Windows feel like an extension of the operating system. It’s a smoother transition between the OS and the browser. Coming back to Chrome suddenly felt clumsy (and this is when I also noticed the sluggish performance the most).
Having a choice
Google Chrome is a great tool for Google to slurp up a lot of data, both to find out how people use the internet and also things like passwords and payment details to keep us locked into the ecosystem.
While I’m not paranoid about my data, I’m a fan of having a choice over where my data is stored and how it’s used, and what companies I choose to work with, and being able to pick and choose what works best for me, not what is convenient.
The big exception
And that is Android. Here Google Chrome is the winner. I’ve played with other browsers on this platform, but Chrome is the one that works best. It is, after all, the stock browser, and has such as been tweaked to give the best performance.
What browser do you use? Why do you use it? When was the last time you tried a different browser?