Last week I got pretty excited about the news of the Feedly update. Feedly is a Firefox plugin that works with your feeds in Google Reader to make browsing the web a richer experience. The main change in Feedly that caught my interest was the Feedly mini. The mini does two things that I have wanted for a long time. The first is that it automates the discovery of Friendfeed conversations for any article you re viewing. This is cool because a lot of good discussion has moved from a blog articles comments into FriendFeed and Twitter. They also allow you to easily add an article to the starred list in Google Reader. This one is super awesome, because I want to use that starred list as my reading list for the web.
I have been using Chrome as my primary browser for the last few months. Feedly only works with Firefox. Obviously, I had to install Firefox to try out this new Feedly. I am back to using Chrome again yesterday and today, and I have finally figured out why.
Chrome does not offer extensions. Chrome is just a dead simple, get things done browser. The browser seems quite fast to me, and I rarely encounter problems with crashes (something that I regularly have with a fully loaded FF3). Chrome just lets me focus on browsing, and I use a set of about 5 bookmarklets to interact with my most common services. Basically, I find that the extensions don’t really add anything to my browsing experience. They actually detract from it with all of their glitz and bling. I spend more time configuring, updating and working in the confines of those extensions. Even the new Feedly, which I think is amazingly awesome, is just a distraction from actually getting the stuff I want to get done online done.
I also find that the awesome bar in Firefox has nothing on the Chrome combined search/address bar. I love that I can start typing words, not urls, and find what I want from the same bar. It combines my history, my bookmarks, and the entire web in a way that Firefox does not. I recorded a couple of videos that demonstrate what I mean. This morning I wanted to go to the Worthington Games website. When I am using Chrome I just type Worthington Games into the address/search bar and it finds what I need. When I type the same thing into FF I need to browse to Google before I can get there. It just makes browsing more friendly. I think it also reduces the need to bookmark as much stuff. Chrome just makes things easy to find with natural language searches.