Advantages & Disadvantages of Google Chrome

By J.T. Barett

A quick look at Google’s Chrome browser, the features that have made it an Internet hit and the quirks users should be aware of.

Google’s Chrome Web browser is a serious contender for users of Windows, Mac and Linux computers. Its speedy performance and clean design have contributed to its runaway popularity with Internet users. However, other browsers have matched its once cutting-edge technology, and it has privacy shortcomings worth considering.

Advantages

Modern Layout

Chrome’s layout is simple; only a few frequently-used buttons, such as back, forward and reload, appear on the screen, leaving more room for Web content. Another of Chrome’s space-saving tricks is the address box, which Google calls the omnibox; it accepts both standard Internet addresses and search text.

Tab Independence

The Chrome program can manage many Web sessions at the same time, each assigned to its own tab. Problems with one website that may cause one tab to “freeze” are isolated to that tab; Chrome itself continues to run, and sessions in all other tabs are unaffected.

Speedy Performance

Many modern websites, such as those for news and online commerce, contain sophisticated programming that can slow a browser down. Chrome processes this programming efficiently and displays complex pages quickly, saving you time and keeping your Internet session snappy and responsive in most circumstances. Although some of its competitors have caught up or surpassed its quick performance, Chrome is still one of the fastest browsers according to tests run by Digital Trends.

Disadvantages

Memory Consumption

Google Chrome can take up a large chunk of your computer’s RAM. For those users who use many programs at the same time, heavy memory use can negatively impact your computer’s overall performance. Older computers and those lacking generous amounts of memory may be subject to slowdowns and system crashes. You can, however, minimize this problem by limiting the number of tabs you have open at one time.

Inflexible Interface

Compared with browsers such as Firefox, Chrome’s screen layout is relatively set in stone; it gives you few options to customize buttons and menus. This can be a disadvantage to hardcore Web users for whom a personalized browser layout helps them work more efficiently.

Privacy Concerns

Privacy advocate groups such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation have raised serious concerns with Google’s corporate practices, such as keeping your searches and other browser information for marketing purposes. Unless you select another search engine, searches typed into Chrome’s address box are by default directed to Google. In addition, the Do Not Track option is difficult to find. This government-mandated feature is ostensibly meant to limit marketing companies’ use of cookies and other techniques to track your Internet habits -- but in Chrome, when you turn it on, a message appears discouraging its use.