The Extendable Browser: Chrome

For the past few months, I've been keeping two browsers open at the same time, Firefox and Chrome. I use Chrome for Gmail and other web apps where speed is of the essence. And I use Firefox because I still like having my extensions available to me. It's a pain in the ass to be honest. I'd really like to move entirely to Chrome, but I need my extensions.

Well this week is a big one because according to MG Siegler, Google is going to launch extensions for Chrome this week. It may happen at the Add-On Con which is happening the end of this week in Mountain View. Add-On Con was organized in part by our portfolio company Get Glue, which offers the Glue add-on, one of the browser extensions I can't live without.

Speaking of extensions I can't live without, here's my list:

  • Blogrollr
  • Download Them All
  • Glue
  • Google Gears
  • Lazarus Form Recovery
  • Zemanta

I hope all of them will be available for Chrome asap. I know for sure that Glue and Zemanta will be ready to go this week.

Unfortunately for me, extensions won't be available for Chrome for Mac right away. So I'll be using two browsers for a while more.

UPDATE: Zemanta updated their browser extension today. Here is the blog post explaining the new features and here is the extension.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Comments (Archived):

  1. David Semeria

    The main thing I like about Chrome is how it just keeps out of the way and gives as much real estate as possible to the web page. I also like the way new tabs are opened next to the tab that spawned them, and the fact that you can easily re-arrange the tabs by dragging them.Apart from the lack of plugins, the biggest pain is not always being able to recover a whole set of tabs between sessions.

    1. fredwilson

      And the fact that the search field is the URL field rocks. I have gotten so used to that

      1. Mark Essel

        I’m surprised you don’t have a virtual windows environment sitting in your computer. Do you have a mac at work and a mac book? It’s not healthy just to eat Macs.

        1. fredwilson

          i tried a virtual windows setupit didn’t work for me

        2. ShanaC

          Yes it is (sort of, I keep forgetting that I split a baby computer in half windows/linux, and have yet to really sit down and learn to use ubuntu, including how to submit a bug report)

  2. RichardF

    I use Firefox and Chrome in exactly the same way and my three are:Feedly, which I really hope there is a Chrome extension for – it will benefit from the page spaceFirebugDeliciousBy the way I think Tumblr should have their own extensionNot sure if I will stop using Firefox, for no particular reason I’m fond of it even though Chrome does, as David says give you more real estate.

    1. Mark Essel

      At first I felt like a technological betrayer of Firefox, my browser of choice for so long. But Google had to go creating something faster, and when it comes to an information feeding frenzy, I can’t tolerate any delays.

    2. ShanaC

      Tumblr has an extension for firefox, I just set it up. I can’t say if it is wonderful or not, but it does exist.And the viewing of code in Chrome is essentially very similar to that of Firebug. Though Firbug is slightly more full featured….

      1. RichardF

        hmm…thanks Shana I had a quick look but all I could find was a 3rd party extension…I’ll take another look

      2. RichardF

        Hi ShanaPlease can you post the link to the Tumblr extension you found because I can’t find it.Personally I prefer Firebug to the chrome dev tools for css analysis.CheersRichard

  3. im2b_dl

    2 big reasons/extensions you should look harder at in Firefox Ubiquity and Weave. I use ubiquity more than any other tool on the web. Definition and interpretation is so much easier in a right click…

  4. fricy

    Oh yes, you can use it on Mac as well. :)Search for the Chromium project for mac. Auto update won’t work, but you get all the features – including extensions.…Have fun. :)f.

    1. fredwilson

      i do use chrome on the mac but apparently there won’t be extensions for that version for a while

      1. fricy

        Check out my link, and see for yourself.Though I have to say, it is not the “official” Google Chrome, but the open source Chromium project. the code base is basically the same, the browser woks the same, and have all the features (Gears, Extension support, etc.) of the Chrome dev branch. it is not even beta software, but after 2 weeks of use, I can say it is stable. I use it, because flash ads slowed my MacBook to a crawl… Adsweep solved that nicely. :Df.

        1. fredwilson

          oh, i seethis is chromium, not chromei’ll check it out

        2. kidmercury

          this sounds interesting, i love google’s products but i don’t trust the company, so i’m eager to try clones made by otherswill give chromium a shot

    2. ShanaC

      I did that! (I feel so guilty for that, and I can’t wait to switch over to the normal version…) Developer’s version is very stable, I don’t know why they just don’t let it go…

  5. reece

    Similarly, I’ve wished Safari and Firefox would mate. Their offspring would make me a happy surfer, but throw in some Chrome genetics for speed and we could really be onto something…

    1. fredwilson

      browser mashups!

      1. Mark Essel

        Dave Semeria and I were chatting about user controlled web views that are likely to emerge over the next year or three. Browser mashups based on choosing favorite features is just the beginning.In the same way you customize your desktop, you’ll be tweaking web information like local window based applications.Where does that leave advertising (Dave shrewdly brought up)? Ads must be integrated into the cogent in the form of relevant information, video placement, and part of the lyrics.Ads must be part of the story to earn our attention.

        1. David Semeria

          In case you were wondering who “liked” this comment 🙂

  6. pauljacobson

    Well, that and there won’t be Gears for Chrome on a Mac either. Hopefully Google will roll out support for HTML 5’s offline capabilities in its apps soon and restore that broader functionality to Mac users.

  7. Satyajit Sahu

    Currently I am using FF, Safari, Flock, Camino & Chrome all on Mac – and my pref is in that order! Chrome has so much more to do on Mac.

    1. ShanaC

      Convince me on the Flok thing. Right now I still love Opera. Really. It’s dead stable when nothing else is.

  8. Mark Essel

    I share your user need, but ended up using Chrome 90% and Firefox 10% only when I needed extensions (my must have is firebug for browser script debugging/learning). I didn’t know (or forgot) Zemanta had a browser pluggin. What’s it do Fred? Put on those selling shoes :)I’m not a mac user though so I’ll look into extensions asap! Haha windows for the win (and IE for the lose that terrible browser can’t handle 100% div heights which cost us a half hour of cross browser debugging last night).Side note, I coughed up a post on the secret weakness of North East investors today. I think you folks could call me dead wrong or right on this cognitive bias.

    1. fredwilson

      the zemanta plugin is for bloggers who want the zemanta recommendationengine when they write posts

      1. Mark Essel

        Hmm. I get recommendations in Chrome, does it work differently in Firefox with the plugin?Thanks to Reece’s link below I found I already have the server side plugin to my self hosted wordpress blog- so there’s no difference.Ps, I love it and use it to find great folks blogging about similar topics whenever I can!

      1. Mark Essel

        Hahaha, just putting out the hooks for a great info sharing sell. I enjoy being convinced of the glorious attributes of new tech. Where’s the fun in knowing all the best features for everything myself :)?See above the response to Fred. Your kind share enlightened me to the fact that I have the exact equivalent with a server side wordpress plugin.

  9. Brian King

    Why the desire to switch to Chrome? Firefox 3.6 will be faster that 3.5 and will continue to get faster with subsequent releases. The UI will get a de-clutter redesign soon (though it is very customizable for this already). Firefox also has a new extension model in the works, Jetpack — http://jetpackgallery.mozil….

    1. Mark Essel

      The new beta for firefox is pretty speedy, but it’s just not quite as elegant as Chrome.

    2. fredwilson

      i’ve been using them side by side for a while and i vastly prefer chrome, itis faster, it give me more page real estate, i like being able to search inthe URL field, and i like the home page

      1. Brian King

        I think Chrome may have a slight advantage with speed, but browsers will be leap-frogging each other in that area in the near future (to the benefit of all users). As for look/feel and features, see… and

      2. ShanaC

        I hate that, and I hate that because too much is hidden, I actually lose certain webpages such as this one: art that may be lost to the internet forever because of the damn bar. You will have to know it by name, or find out how to link to it. (If you don’t get it, I’ll explain later….)

  10. Chris Swan

    Fred,The developer version of Chrome has had extensions for a little while (I’m mostly loving the Flash blocker), so you could be using it now if you’re willing to put up with less stable builds (I can’t say that I’ve seen any problems).Gears is built into Chrome anyway.

  11. Robert Reich

    If you are interested in attending Add-on-Con use the discount code fredwilsonaddoncon09, and it will save you $50.

    1. fredwilson


  12. Steve Poland

    Fred – why do you feel ‘get glue’ is an extension you can’t “live without”? I honestly just dropped it the other day — having that popup alert box every single time I visit most webpages, was too annoying. And I guess I just didn’t care that there were “76 other fans of Batman Dark Knight”.

  13. anand

    I like Chrome because of its speed.But having only tabs at the top of the screen instead of a title bar just doesn’t feel right. I like to see the full titles of websites instead of them being cut-off when multiple tabs are open. ..wish there was a way to enable an optional title bar for those who want it.

  14. Adrian Palacios

    Funny that a lot of us seem to do the same thing: Firefox for extensions and usability, and Chrome for speed.FWIW, my top extensions:-Firebug (w/ Firecookie, Google Page Speed added on)-WASP-SEO for Firefox-XMarks-Web DeveloperAnd, when I actually kept my blog up to date, Zotero was a must 🙂

  15. kidmercury

    i have google fear, so i’m cutting down on my usage of google products. gmail is the hardest one for me to leave and the last one left, i need something as good (anyone knows, please let me know…willing to pay for good email — if there was another company that offered the same exact thing as gmail but charged for i’d likely switch asap).IMHO browser extensions need to be packaged into the browser….i.e. “the AVC browser”….only the early adopters are going to do the extension stuff, i think

  16. LIAD

    no bookmark syncing?(xmarks – kicks ass)let me guess…you use…

    1. David Semeria

      This is slightly embarrassing, but whenever I need to bookmark a link I copy the url from Chrome to FF. I’m basically using FF as a front-end to xmarks.Can’t wait for xmarks to be available on Chrome.

  17. Jitle

    Fred, I was thinking of writing an overview of Chromium last night and you inspired me to put it to paper. I highly recommend it, Extensions are there and they work great.'d be happy to try and answer any questions beyond the post, email or DM.

  18. Ted Barbeau

    I’ve had been living this same setup for quite some time, but decided to give up extensions and use Chromium (for Mac) exclusively for a few weeks now. I’m blown away at how much more I like Google’s offering and am anxiously awaiting a full release of Chrome for Mac.Lastly, I couldn’t agree more about the how awesome searching within the URL field. It seems like a small enhancement, but once you use it, it’s tough to go back.

  19. Guest

    I caught this a few weeks ago and it posed interesting perceptions on Chrome for me. Thoughts?

  20. Terry J. Leach

    I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, but Google is abandoning Gears. The good news is that HTM5 will probably be used to replace Gears functionality.

  21. maverickny

    After reading this post, I rushed off to download the Zemanta add-on for Chrome as I’m an enthusiastic user of both and even ran Chromium for Mac in beta for the last year.Got an error message: “Google Chrome Extensions are not supported on Mac yet. We are working to enable them soon.”Ugh. Might be useful to point this out in your post, Fred.So it’s Windoze only for now and I haven’t used any MSFT based computer in the office or home for six years.

    1. fredwilson

      I did point that out

  22. Reykjavik

    Just what we need: another Google tendril wrapped around the Internet.

  23. Sethop

    You’ll be pleased to know we’ve got a beta version of Lazarus for Chrome out there. Unfortunately it’s nowhere near as good as the Firefox version yet. Working on that.