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Old 06-02-2014, 03:39 PM   #1
Woodsman
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What is the attraction of the Chrome web browser?


I ask in all earnest.

I never used Chrome or Chromium. I still don't. Yet with a recent venture into helping Windows XP refugees migrate to Windows, I have been required to learn a bit more about these browsers. Surprisingly, in this region many Windows users use Chrome because that is what the ISP recommends (along with Firefox).

I get the fact that many Windows users know little about computers. Just point and click. Linux users tend to be more savvy and knowledgeable. Hence my curiosity.

I find that Chrome and Chromium are not anywhere near as configurable as Firefox. I am not saying Firefox is without blemishes. I am not at all pleased with how software development these days seem to focus on removing options from users or force design changes that a significant number of users do not want. Yet Chrome/Chromium remain less configurable than Firefox.

Add-ons for Chrome/Chromium are restricted to the Google Store and seem to be installable only from that location.

A handful of additional features offered in Chrome are proprietary and closed source.

Although I can migrate Chrome user settings to Chromium, and I realize many Windows refugees would not notice the difference, I cannot do so easily because Chromium does not automatically support the proprietary features offered in Chrome. For example, Chromium does not include flash or built-in PDF viewer support without jumping through a few hoops. Hoops that a typical former Windows user will not tolerate. I can install the pepper plugin API for Chromium but the built-in PDF viewer requires the lib.so file from Chrome. I suspect if the Chrome and Chromium versions are different that, at least occasionally if not always, will cause the lib.so file to break. Hence, I am stuck with installing Chrome one way or another rather than Chromium.

Further complicating the conflict is the Chrome and Chromium versions do not advance at the same pace and the upstream availability of Chromium usually is slower in the package repositories than Chrome. Thus, conflicts or breakage with the PDF lib.so are sure to arise quickly.

There is a trust issue. Google is not a search engine company. Google is an advertising company and the Google folks use their search engine and browser to mine data to customize advertisements. Many users don't care about the data mining. Some might argue that this is a tit-for-tat exchange. Users get a decent and arguably safe web browser and in exchange provide the Google folks data. Regardless, seems to me that Chrome is intended to help the Google folks mine data, much like their search engine is a primary means to mine data.

So, what is the attraction?

Please, no flame wars.

Thanks for your comments.
 
Old 06-02-2014, 04:07 PM   #2
Pearlseattle
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Mmmmhh, you're touching at once a lot of subjects.

Why would anybody use chrome/chromium?
Well, in my case I have Firefox as main browser with all apps and fancy filters configured to give me max security & ad-free surfing, and on the other side I use Chromium for all those "difficult" pages where I definitely want their service no matter what (e.g. online banking, buying movie tickets, buying airplane tickets, ...). In the end, compared to the other browsers, Chromium always gave me (on Linux) maximum compatibility on those pages.

On Windows it's a bit different - I see it with my father:
he got IE and used it and got used to it - he likes it a lot.
IF he would change then he would use Chrome. Why? Because Chrome got media-coverage in the everyday-articles that he read. Firefox never did, or did only in the specialized journalism. Chrome works well, in all cases, and is generally known and accepted, and that's good enough (for him and all "normal" users).
The whole discussion about open/closed-source SW, information-gathering, holdings, SW-standards, etc... becomes irrelevant in such a context.
 
Old 06-02-2014, 05:10 PM   #3
cendryon
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Hi

You're not alone, Woodsman

From what I've heard from friends and colleagues using Chrome on Windows or Ubuntu, I understand the Google web services (read Gmail, Agenda, etc.) are tweaked for Chrome, and as result feel more responsive. There even may be exclusive functions, though I've never seen one.

There is also a huge difference between Linux and Windows.
On Linux, you have to make the conscious act to install Chrome/Chromium, and take a step further to make it your default browser. That's even more true on Slackware.
On the other hand, each and every free application you install on Windows (antiviruses, Adobe's Flash and Reader, even many installers of Open Source softwares available on SourceForge) wants to silently install Chrome alongside and make it the default browser, unless you are really attentive and uncheck all those low visibility checkboxes with really small text.

And don't forget Chrome is the homegrown browser on Android devices, like Safari on IOS and MacOS or IE on Windows. You might want to also use it on your desktop to automagically share your settings, addons and bookmarks across all yours connected devices without further ado.

As a rule of thumb, I'd say Chrome can be your browser of choice if you're a heavy user of Google services. Though what Google do with all your data is another matter

I don't use Chrome and resist it. I'm too used to my years long finely configured Firefox with my huge list of addons. I've even set up my own Mozilla Sync Server to share my setup between my dekstop and my laptop

Cheers
 
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Old 06-02-2014, 05:23 PM   #4
rokytnji
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Simple for me.

I set up my Chromium on my setups and trick them out to the "T"

My wife gets her new Windows Laptop. I install Google-Chrome

All my little goodies get transferred over to her install and no changes or tweaking needed.

Simple.

But we share in my household. What is mine is yours and vise versa.
 
Old 06-02-2014, 05:32 PM   #5
k3lt01
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Chrome (Chromium) has the highest level of HTML5 compatibility.
Chrome has Flash built in but, in Debian at least, its not difficult to add pepperflash to Chromium.
I have a few browsers installed and use Firefox (Iceweasel) and Chromium the most. Chromium when I must have Flash, Firefox the rest of the time, the others (like Opera) when I am checking how web sites look in different browsers.
I don't particularly like its appearance or the way it works but it does work across the net which cannot be said for all the other browsers.
 
Old 06-02-2014, 05:59 PM   #6
metaschima
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http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...al-4175491739/
 
Old 06-02-2014, 06:10 PM   #7
Alien Bob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
I find that Chrome and Chromium are not anywhere near as configurable as Firefox. I am not saying Firefox is without blemishes. I am not at all pleased with how software development these days seem to focus on removing options from users or force design changes that a significant number of users do not want. Yet Chrome/Chromium remain less configurable than Firefox.
What configuration options do you think are lacking? Are you certain you look with an unbiased opinion (i.e. not clouded by the use of Firefox)? Do you know how to configure Chrome/Chromium - deeper than the GUI buttons?

Quote:
Add-ons for Chrome/Chromium are restricted to the Google Store and seem to be installable only from that location.
Seems to be the case yes. Same as Google Play for Android devices, really. What extensions did you find that were not obtainable from the Web Store and failed to install?

Quote:
A handful of additional features offered in Chrome are proprietary and closed source.
Flash? That one is only available as a proprietary plugin for Firefox too. The PDF viewer is the other - I think Firefox's builtin PDF viewer has at least equal qualities and is open source. Point for Firefox.

Quote:
Although I can migrate Chrome user settings to Chromium, and I realize many Windows refugees would not notice the difference, I cannot do so easily because Chromium does not automatically support the proprietary features offered in Chrome. For example, Chromium does not include flash or built-in PDF viewer support without jumping through a few hoops. Hoops that a typical former Windows user will not tolerate. I can install the pepper plugin API for Chromium but the built-in PDF viewer requires the lib.so file from Chrome. I suspect if the Chrome and Chromium versions are different that, at least occasionally if not always, will cause the lib.so file to break. Hence, I am stuck with installing Chrome one way or another rather than Chromium.
You could try my chromium package, and the chromium-pepperflash-plugin and chromium-pdf-plugin packages which contain the extracted binary extensions from the Chrome RPM. I have mixed the versions of Chromium and those two plugins and they have all worked, at least when the major version was equal.
When you offer Chromium packages to your customers, you are in control over the versions of these packages. Just like I do.

Quote:
Further complicating the conflict is the Chrome and Chromium versions do not advance at the same pace and the upstream availability of Chromium usually is slower in the package repositories than Chrome. Thus, conflicts or breakage with the PDF lib.so are sure to arise quickly.
The chromium sources are released the same moment as the binary Chrome packages. The Chromium package builders have the disadvantage here. But usually Chromium packages pop up in repositories soon after. And as I said, you are in control over what versions of Chromium and the Flash/PDF plugins are installed. There is no auto-upgrade feature at work which could cause breakage.

Quote:
There is a trust issue. Google is not a search engine company. Google is an advertising company and the Google folks use their search engine and browser to mine data to customize advertisements. Many users don't care about the data mining. Some might argue that this is a tit-for-tat exchange. Users get a decent and arguably safe web browser and in exchange provide the Google folks data. Regardless, seems to me that Chrome is intended to help the Google folks mine data, much like their search engine is a primary means to mine data.
Where does Google collect data about your browsing behaviour in Chrome/Chromium that is different from Firefox? The application is not calling home.
And in theory (never tested this myself) you can run your own Google Sync Server at home - the protocol is open and there is a reference implementation inside the chromium repository. That at least would allow you to keep the information hidden from Google which would otherwise be uploaded to Google's servers. But then again, if you configure Chrome/Chromium with a sync password those data will be stored encrypted and Google won't be able to peek inside.

Quote:
So, what is the attraction?
I like choice and alternatives. That's all.

Eric
 
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:52 PM   #8
ymf331
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i haven't had any issues with linux yet, but on windows 7 firefox didn't play well with my nvidia driver, so i had to use chrome. i like using firefox, but my computer crashing whenever i did put me off a bit.
 
Old 06-02-2014, 09:03 PM   #9
Woodsman
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Alien Bob:

Lost of good questions. I don't have many answers. I did not mean to imply in my original post that I considered myself a subject matter expert on browsers. At this point I am still trying to learn about Chrome/Chromium to support customers. While my original post focused on the general and philosophical aspects, I am working to eliminate my technical deficiencies with the two browsers. They are very foreign to me at this point.

Regarding add-ons and features, I am a long-time user of NoScript and TabMix Plus. I have not found anything comparable for Chrome/Chromium, although ScriptSafe has some of the NoScript features. I realize some of the NoScript features are built into Chrome/Chromium. Really challenging to sort out the nuances.

I use some other add-ons too, such as NoSquint. I can't survive a single browsing session without that add-on. Idiot and wannabe web developers can't seem to fathom anything but the smallest of fonts.

Regarding my own use of Chromium, yes I could (and probably should) use your package. That will help me learn, but won't help customers because we are not using Slackware with them. Slackware remains entrenched on my systems, but I have to support a different distro with the customers (LMDE). With Chromium we are stuck using whatever is in the upstream repositories. I have noticed the repository version is always way behind the current Chrome version.

While the upstream repos support a pepper API package, there is no such package for the built-in PDF viewer. Hence my need to scavenge the lib.so from Chrome. Looks like I can scavenge that file from your Chromium package. That is a big concern if I try to convince customers to use Chromium. They are accustomed to flash and the built-in PDF viewer.

I could and might have to just install the Chrome package directly from Google. Be done with the thing and wash my proverbial hands of the deed. Their computer, they decide in the end anyway.
 
Old 06-02-2014, 09:08 PM   #10
Woodsman
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Ah. Thank you. Somehow I had missed that thread.

Although in that thread much of the discussion seemed to focus on performance rather than philosophies.

Well, the seamless tie-in to Google services. Yes, that would be a reason.

I mildly freaked out the first time I started Chromium (yes, Chromium and not Chrome) and saw the corner message that I was not signed in. Thus even the "free" version induces people to jump into the Google quagmire.

I understand the mindset of most Windows users and the marketing machine. Chrome has been advertised for a long time. I don't recall ever seeing an ad for Firefox. Not that I watch a helluva lot of TV to know.

I had not thought about Android smart phones using Chrome as a default browser, which again would tie into using Google services. A rather fascinating proverbial spider web the Google folks have weaved. Get folks addicted to the services, then follow with a web browser that automatically connects to all Google services.

Data mining is the proverbial icing on the cake for the Google folks.

I do not use smart phones specifically because all of them are designed to mine data. My basic flip phone works just fine for my nominal needs.

My personal struggle is why people are so easily seduced by the spider. I guess most don't care or value convenience far higher than privacy. Perhaps my "confusion" is simply I do not think the same as the "majority."

k3lt01: You are not a typical Windows user. I cannot conceive most Windows users opting to use more than one web browser. The concept alone is beyond their grasp of usage. I am not Windows bashing. I am only sharing years of watching Windows users in cube farms. Very smart people, enjoyable to be with, just generally not computer savvy at any level.

I suppose my dilemma, if I should use that word, is whether to try to get the XP refugees acclimated to Chromium. I have no intentions of hood-winking these people. I would tell them about the switch and why. As these people have come to us for help in the first place --- to wean themselves from XP, they will trust our decisions. I can't violate that trust. My challenge is technical: how to install the missing features of Chrome so as to not impact Chromium usage. These are Windows users. They expect everything to just work. Philosophical replies fall upon deaf ears. As long as I can keep Chromium fully functional, I doubt any of them will scream. The moment flash, PDF, or whatever stops working they will demand I fix things at my expense. And rightfully so.

To my advantage, most of these users only know how to surf the web. They are not power users, or sophisticated users. They are not playing game apps through the browser. Most do not use add-ons, running their browser bare naked, just like they did with IE. At most some of these users might have a gmail account.

Regarding the potential technical merits, such as sandboxing, that kind of detail is way over the head of any of these users. And they don't care for the most part. They were told to use Chrome because Chrome is safe. That is all they care to know. These folks are also not the type to open three dozen tabs concurrently. Most have one tab open at a time. The concept of multitasking is foreign to them.

Regarding the alleged stability of sandboxing each tab, I cannot recall the last time Firefox crashed on me. I have been using Firefox back when the browser was called Phoenix. Back then I'd see an occasional crash but I haven't in a very long time. Possibly because I am anal as hell about using NoScript and JS white lists, while also blocking 99% of all ads and flash. That does not leave much to cause a crash.

Regarding speed, that is a non-issue. These are XP refugees and they own hardware to match. Old and slow. They don't know what a fast computer is like. Many of them were getting by with 256 MB of RAM and only recently had a 1GB stick installed.

Now gargamel wrote in that other thread "Google's next generation spyware." I tend to agree, but I do not hope to convince these ex XP users. My only hope is getting them to use Chromium. I get the feeling that Chrome is a Trojan Horse, although I quickly admit to being paranoid anyway.

BTW, if anybody cares, no I don't use the Google search engine. I use DuckDuckGo or Startpage, which indirectly uses Google. Startpage has its own weird filtering algorithms because typically I don't get the same results when using Google directly. Or perhaps (likely?) the Google engine is filtering the results when requested by Startpage URLs. I use Google only when I get frustrated by empty search results, but then I find all of the search engines nowadays to be crappy, resulting in far more noise and garbage results than necessary to find answers.

I have also accepted that fighting the nonsense of data mining will always be an uphill battle. I don't pretend to have stopped the nonsense at my end 100%, but I daresay I've kept the efforts reduced to a trickle.
 
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:17 PM   #11
hitest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
Regarding the alleged stability of sandboxing each tab, I cannot recall the last time Firefox crashed on me.
I run Firefox on all of my Slackware and OpenBSD boxes. On occasion Firefox does crash on Slackware 14.1(32 bit). However, it does not happen often enough to prompt me to switch browsers. I tend to alternate between Firefox, Chrome/Chromium, and Opera depending on what I'm doing. Chrome and Chromium are excellent browsers. I tend to use Firefox the most for day to day use.
 
Old 06-02-2014, 09:27 PM   #12
frankbell
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At the risk of sounding sexist, as far as I can see, it's the new girl in the schoolyard and all the DudeBros are fascinated with her.
 
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:05 AM   #13
k3lt01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
k3lt01: You are not a typical Windows user. I cannot conceive most Windows users opting to use more than one web browser. The concept alone is beyond their grasp of usage. I am not Windows bashing. I am only sharing years of watching Windows users in cube farms. Very smart people, enjoyable to be with, just generally not computer savvy at any level.
I'm not a windows user at all on my own machines and only use it at work because it is what the NSW DET has a contract for. I have multiple browsers because when I studied web design we had to test our sites on a variety of browsers and platforms so I still do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
I suppose my dilemma, if I should use that word, is whether to try to get the XP refugees acclimated to Chromium. I have no intentions of hood-winking these people. I would tell them about the switch and why. As these people have come to us for help in the first place --- to wean themselves from XP, they will trust our decisions. I can't violate that trust. My challenge is technical: how to install the missing features of Chrome so as to not impact Chromium usage. These are Windows users. They expect everything to just work. Philosophical replies fall upon deaf ears. As long as I can keep Chromium fully functional, I doubt any of them will scream. The moment flash, PDF, or whatever stops working they will demand I fix things at my expense. And rightfully so.
As already mentioned by myself and I think AlienBob (sorry if I got that wrong) Flash is relatively easy with Chromium so you are left with PDF as your only dilemma. If you can look past the origins of the extension there are PDF view extensions in Google Play for Chromium. I have never installed any because I prefer PDFs to open outside of the browser so I can't vouch for their effectiveness.
 
Old 06-03-2014, 06:07 AM   #14
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k3lt01 View Post
Chromium when I must have Flash, Firefox the rest of the time,
You might be interested to look into this (still early) work to provide a PPAPI/NPAPI-wrapper that makes it posssible to run Chrome's Flash plugin in Firefox. I haven't tried it myself yet, but from what I heard it already works.
https://github.com/i-rinat/freshplayerplugin
 
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:12 AM   #15
Germany_chris
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easy Chrome has flash built in..
 
  


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