Google Chrome has become slower and slower for me. Speed was once the most salient feature that attracted me. (See below for an embedded video.) And it is not the case anymore with recent upgrades.

Observations

One thing that I first noticed was that the system becomes very laggy when I use the Google Hangouts call-out window to chat. This sometimes has severe conflict with my input method so that the whole Google Chrome stops responding for upto seconds or even minutes.

The second thing is about Flash. I do not believe that Google is against Flash as much as Apple is. However, the performance of Google Chrome is really unbearable for some sites with Flash. Battery drops fast, and the fan of my Mac blows hard.

Third, over time, Google Chrome has integrated more and more features that causes it to become slow. One such thing is the Chrome store. I have kept the number of apps as minimal as possible, only including the following.

  • AdBlock plus
  • Evernote Web Clipper
  • FaWave—a handy SNS aggregation extension that works with Twitter, Facebook, Weibo, and many more services
  • Google Chrome to Phone Extension, and
  • Screen Capture by Google

Even with this minimal choice of extensions, Chrome often freezes. This situation worsens when I open a new Chrome window and type the url/search that I want—what I type becomes swallowed after the content of the startup page (the one with either recent pages or Chrome apps).

The Change

No matter what other more handy features Google Chrome has introduced, or those wacky ones that I dislike, slow-down in speed is the game changer. There must be a switch. The Safari browser that comes with the newly designed Mac OSX, the Mavericks, is the ideal choice. One major improvement is the speed, so I decided to give it a try. It turns out that the migration is not as painful as I expected.

First, the bookmarks that I gathered in Google Chrome turned out to be very infrequently used since I just type in the search bar that Chrome will prompt me to go to the pages. Safari does the same thing.

The Chrome Store adds apps to my startup screen, but they are simply links to the appropriate websites. This can be done with the Top Sites feature of Safari. What’s better, the Top Sites features allows upto 24 pages—never do I need to swipe between pages for my apps.

Restoring the saved account information takes some time since I forgot some passwords for infrequently used sites. Thanks to the fact that Google Chrome stores passwords in plain text, I recovered most of them and let Safari save them in my system keychain.

The Chrome extensions causes some trouble. Evernote Web Clipper and AdBlock plus have Safari versions; Screen Capture has some substitutes, but not FaWave. FaWave has a really handy feature that it can post a status/tweet/post to various SNS simultaneously. The Mac OSX Mavericks now has built-in support for SNS, but this important feature is missing yet.

What’s Next

There are indeed some handy features that I already missed. The first is that Google Chrome has pinned tabs so that I do not close them accidentally. The second is the adaptive tab width feature, which makes it really quick for me to close multiple tabs. Last but not the least, the customized search engine feature from Google Chrome is not there. This is so handy a feature that I have created dozens of customized search engines in Google Chrome. Some third party solution is there, but I have not given it a try yet since it looks less convenient than what Chrome provides.

Switching from one browser from another is not easy. There surely are things that I have not encountered on this day one of the switch. I will post updates later when more observations are on the table.