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).
I just downloaded Google Chrome and am going to try using it for some of my day-to-day web browsing over the next few days. Here are my initial reactions:
- Fast. Very fast, and small memory footprint.
- Each tab is a different process. This will make it very easy to any single tab that is using lots of memory, without having to close the browser (unlike in FF).
- Tab positioning over the address bar (as oppossed to underneath in FF) seems more natural.
- No header or footer bars. Do we really need to waste vertical screen space just to tell me the name of the program and reserve space for status messages? Nope. Here there is no header bar (functions like close/minimize are squeezed to the right side of the tab area), and status messages and urls in links appear in a temporary popup box fixed to the bottom left corner of the browser window, when necessary. Seems like a very good use of screen space.
- Address bar has the domain name of the site appear in regular type, with the rest of the url appearing in a lighter type. It highlights the domain, which very quickly highlights where you are.
- Real warnings for potentially problematic domains. In IE and FF, you just get a small red box in your address bar. In Chrome, when you go to a page that is potentially troublesome (example: loads resources from a domain associated with malware) you have to go through a confirmation screen before loading the site. Seems like a much better way of implementing this than the halfway solution in IE and FF that everyone will tend to ignore.
- In-page search is slick and improves on FF’s implementation. You now see all occurences of the search term highlighted on the page at once, while maintaining the ability to enumerate through the bunch.
- Non-existent bookmarking. I like my delicious add-on and bookmarks toolbar in Firefox as well as my different bookmarklets (Note in Google Reader, delicious, Seed Newsvine). It gives me easy access to the pages that I use frequently (I know that they are stored in the Chrome history, but often just clicking on my bookmark link is more efficient than going to remember the title or url, typing it into the address bar and sorting through the results to find the one that I want). I take it back. Ctrl-B attaches a bookmark bar to the bottom of the address bar.
- No page titles. Since there is no header bar, the page title is squeezed into the tab for that browser window, which in almost all cases is too small to see the page title.
- Clicking my mouse scroll bar doesn’t bring up the scroll pointer like it does in almost every other application.
- I like having the search box separated from the address bar like it is in FF.
- No FF add-ons. No Firebug, Greasemonkey, Adblock, FireFTP or IE Tab).
- No built-in support for RSS. I would at least have expected them to include an auto-subscribe to Google Reader.
This is what I can come up with after using Chrome for 3 hours. So I like it better than IE7 (haven’t tried 8 beta yet), though it does not beat out FF3 (yet).