' October 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pros and Cons of Google Chrome

via Wikimedia Commons

Google Chrome is a very powerful browser with some great features. However, it does have some downsides as well. Here are some of these pros and cons.

Pro #1: Chrome is open-source.

Or at least, its counterpart named Chromium, which lacks the full features of regular Chrome. Chromium is usually chock-full of new features, and is usually unstable. Because Chromium is open-source, developers can modify its source code, add or remove features, and publish it as a different package.

Pro #2: Chrome is extensible.

Chrome (and almost every build of Chromium) can access Google's site devoted specifically to extensions, themes, and apps, known as the Chrome Web Store. There are many extensions in the Web Store that can let you browse Wikipedia, store tab/window sessions in the cloud, or even check your Google+ notifications.

Pro #3: Chrome syncs settings across browsers.

It doesn't matter what operating system or even what computer you're using Chrome from: if you can sign into Chrome (with a Google Account), you can elect to allow Chrome synchronize your apps, extensions, browsing history, settings, and even open tabs to the cloud. This way, when you sign in, you get everything you opted to sync imported into your browsing session.

Con #1: Chrome stores passwords in plain text.

When you choose to have Chrome remember a password for a certain website, Chrome remembers the password, but keeps it stored in plain text. This means that anybody who can access your Chrome Settings can easily read your passwords, through Settings -> Show advanced settings... -> Manage saved passwords.

Con #2: Chrome user profiles aren't password-protected.

Before you create a second user in Chrome, think again. You can't password-protect user profiles (yet, as of the time of writing), so if anybody can get into Chrome, they can open your user profile. This is insecure, so a better method would be to have a separate installation of Google Chrome in each user account on your local machine.

Con #3: Chrome doesn't have native support for playing .mp4 files.

Chrome cannot play Windows Media Player audio/video formats without the help of a third-party extension (Windows 7 only). This extension does not come from the Chrome Web Store, so installation is harder. Follow the steps here to download and install the plugin.