File Under: Software & Tools

Let the Chrome Trolling Begin

Picture courtesy .m for matthijs via Flickr

A friendly troll. Picture courtesy .m for matthijs via Flickr

“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

Although the popular and paraphrased quote from Sir Isaac Newton was specifically referring to physics, it applies to a wide range of other topics as well; politics, music, movies, browsers …browsers? Yes, the popularity of Chrome was much too untested, sparking an instant equal and opposite reaction in the form of critique.

Let’s run through some of it.

Where’s My Toolbar?

David Pogue of The New York Times wrote about some very topical features in his review. For instance, there is no way to e-mail a page, change the skin or install a toolbar.

When I asked the features question at Google’s Chrome presentation, the developers smiled and said the functionality was to come later — contributors to the open source project should feel free to start working in that direction. It was a stock answer.

In Google’s defense, there is only so much a browser should contain in its beta. This is especially the case when the initial direction of the browser was to empower web applications, not exactly add the next wave of cool social features. The technology in Chrome is intended solely to be the backbone and progenitor of upcoming web technology.

Still, people love those newfangled browser whiz-bangs. For instance, where’s my Firebug? Where’s Greasemonkey? Perhaps people won’t care how fast or how good under-the-covers Chrome is if it can’t do the things they’ve grown accustomed to in other browsers first.

Don’t Call it an OS

Ex-Googler and programmer Ted Dziuba makes a curmudgeonly complaint by nitpicking the tendency of journalists to compare Chrome to an operating system like Linux or Windows. For the record, it’s not an operating system. Putting it in the same league as other OSes patronizes the hoops Windows, Linux and Mac OS X have to jump through to run desktop applications with different hardware.

Although, it sure acts like one. Once installed, Chrome runs web applications and it runs them fast and it runs them in modularity. Is there an easier way to compare it to anything else as easily identifiable for neophytes without paring it down to a patronizingly elementary level? “Monkey pull lever, monkey get e-mail, but Chrome better than other levers”? Meh, OK. I’ll try harder next time.

Chrome Has Plenty of Bugs

JQuery creator John Resig has gone through a few of the most curious bugs in Chrome, the most troubling of which appears to be its seemingly discriminate ousting of an HTML 5 client-side storage API, already built into Webkit.

Gears, open-source but initiated by Google, does the same thing as the ousted feature. And Google definitely did Gears a favor in its ousting HTML 5′s similar component. Google promises it will return, but the question remains: why was it removed in the first place?

At least nobody is arguing that Chrome is the most stable, bug-free browser — least of all Google, which released Chrome’s first patches on Monday.

Chrome is Better Than Sliced Bread

Google has created a cult of personality. Drink the Kool-Aid and take your Soma, but beware of Skynet. Read’s take on Chrome’s impending quest for world dominance.