Dear Chrome, Slow Your Roll

This morning, I mentioned that with each new build, Chrome for OS X seems to be getting a bit less stable and a bit more bloated. No big deal, I tend to send such bitchy tweets before I’ve had any caffeine. But I noticed something a little odd in the responses: no one disagreed with me.

In fact, nearly everyone said they had been noticing the exact same thing recently. And it apparently isn’t just with OS X, it’s the Windows build of Chrome too. As the product progresses, for many of us, it’s getting worse.

A number of the responses brought up Firefox. As in, Chrome seems to be heading down the same path that Mozilla’s web browser went down a few years ago. What started as a fresh, fast answer to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer at the height of its dominance, eventually became a slow, buggy, bloated turd.

To many of us, Chrome was the fresh, fast answer to Firefox. Now it seems to be following that same downward trajectory.

To be clear, I love Chrome. I know I give Google a lot of shit, but Chrome is one product I’ve held in the highest regard since its launch a few years ago. I’ve given a look to Safari from time to time, but I always go back to Chrome. It’s just better.

But again, I’m worried that’s changing. And it seems to be changing for a silly reason: feature-creep. It seems like Google is adding stuff to Chrome just to add it. It’s as if they feel like they can’t do nothing feature-wise, so they come up with junk to shove in there, slowing Chrome down in the process.

Google, please stop doing that. I’d actually love it if you took features out of Chrome and brought it back to the original, clean builds that were fast as fuck. That’s all I care about in a web browser.

Instead, we’re at the point now where I cannot shut down my computer without force-quitting Chrome. And the browser is just about the only thing that can get my brand-new MacBook Pro to beachball.

I know it’s a crazy concept in the age of fast iteration on the web, but what if you just stop development on Chrome from a feature perspective? Continue to speed up and refine the JavaScript engine and underlying tech, but keep the browser itself as minimal as possible.

A browser is just a window into the web. Chrome is gaining too much, well, chrome. We’ve seen this story play out before. It doesn’t end well. But it’s not too late to stop it, Google.

Here, I’ll even help. Step 1: rip out Flash.


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