I have been using and enjoying Google Chrome for the past couple of days. So as I am setting up my new computer, I am installing Chrome there as well. While doing this, I would like to bring over my saved browsing history and bookmarks so that I don’t have to build it from scratch on the new machine. The only problem is that while Chrome makes it very easy to import existing settings from Firefox, it does not display any visible option to export current settings.
After a bit of digging, I found the location where Chrome stored user data:
- On XP – C:\Documents and Settings\<User Name>\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data
- On Vista - C:\Users\<User Name>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data
The User Data folder contains three files: Local State, Safe Browsing and Safe Browsing Filter, along with a folder called Default. Default in turn contains your browser cache, plugin data, and all of your cookies and history data. To move my profile over to my new computer, I copied all of the files and folders under User Data on my XP machine, and moved them into the User Data on my new Vista machine (all of the files were nearly 100mb after only four days of use, which will give you some kind of idea about the amount of indexing going on in the background). When I next started Chrome on my Vista machine, it was identical to the app on my XP machine, down to most popular sites, history and cookies. I even started writing this post on my XP machine, and then continued it on my Vista machine without having to log in again into my WordPress admin.
In the end this was pretty easy to do. Though the ease of profile transfer could in turn make it easy for someone to steal someone else’s identity – after all, the cookies file (presumably a sqllite db or something similar) was only 256KB, and merely dropping it in the new User Data allowed a complete transfer of identity (perhaps a good security feature would be to allow the \User Data\Default\Cookies file to work only on the originally installed instance).
At any one time during the day, I will have somewhere between 5 and 15 tabs open in my browser. Beyond a desire to stay near the cutting edge of browser technology, I also am constantly on the lookout for the best browser performance. That has led me from IE6 > Firefox 1.5x > IE7 > Firefox 2.0x. Though FF2 seems to be the standard browser for techies nowadays, after experiencing some extremely lousy performance, I switched to Flock. I went to Flock not so much for the social-browser features (some of which are attractive) but because that I had heard that it fixed a number of the many memory leaks that make FF2 stink so badly. It was better, but after a couple of weeks, I was still getting significant performance hits when opening a number of tabs (and I had practically no add-ons installed, so this could not have been to blame as it may have been with FF2). So now I am on Firefox 3 (beta 5). And while it is not perfect, I can definitely see the improvements in performance over FF2 and Flock. In addition to this, I have noticed a number of small features that combine to improve the overall blogging experience (or just make the program look nicer, which also counts for something).
- When you have more tabs over than can be contained in one screen, if you hover your mouse over the tab row in the browser header, you can use your scroll wheel to scroll right or left through the tabs.
- Redesigned download popup – looks nicer and is more functional (includes search, offers right-click on items, gets rid of the download location box in FF2)
- Remember password is no longer a popup. It is now an extension of the header that pops down unobtrusively. Since it is not a popup, it does not hold up your request, and you can wait and see if your username and password combo were correct before choosing to remember them.
- Smart Bookmarks – see your most visited webpages, recently bookmarked, or design your own based on browser history. (One thing I would like to know how to do is to define most visited by a time bound, for example: most visited in the last week. I would also like to have most visited domain, since right now most of my Most Visited list is different permutations on reader.google.com)
- Smart address bar. When you start typing in a URL, it displays a list based on pattern matching and giving higher weight to sites you have visited in the past. Kind of like intellisense. You no longer have to start entering the url from the beginning in order to have a page from your history show up in the address bar drop down. Now you can just enter any fragment from the url or title, and the potentials will appear.
- Resume a download if it gets cut off in the middle
- Other cool UI improvements (in addition to redesigned icons and buttons)
These are the one’s that I have noticed so far, but looking at the page on mozilla site, there are lots more where these have come from. Although this is not the perfect browser, it is currently my tool of choice and should be adopted pretty quickly once it comes out of beta.