I was a bigtime Google Chrome user and fanboy till last year. The Chrome browser was web-browsing nirvana when it launched in 2008. It was blazing fast and incredibly light on your computer’s resources – a slap in the face of Firefox and other browsers which had become a bloated mess. But, over the years Chrome has fallen down the same ditch that it got us out of in 2008. A browser which took pride in its speed has become extremely slow and bloated, becoming more of a software platform than web-browser. Chrome’s tab-sync never works for me between my devices. And worst of all, it has become a constant battery hog. Reports and experiments (mine included) have shown that Chrome leads to massive losses in battery life for the device it is being used on. No doubt, it is still the most open, supported and extensible browser out there. Just that, in all of this, the user experience that I liked Chrome for has been lost. That’s why I moved to Safari when I got my Macbook Air last year. And, I have never looked back. Safari is not only faster and puts less stress on my Macbook’s battery, it’s cross-device tab-sync over iCloud is seamless. I also like the design aesthetic of Safari over Chrome (although, the new material design aesthetic of Chrome is better looking than before). That said, in the last few days, I have been using Chrome increasingly and it is largely owing to one Chrome extension that I can’t live without right now.
After beginning to freelance last week, I have been writing quite a bit every day. And writing requires a lot of reading which, in turn, requires a lot of open tabs in my browser window with around 40-50 tabs open at one ago for multiple articles that I am researching for or just freelancing-related articles that I am reading (I wasn’t good at tab-management even before I became a freelancer. Though, I improved on that bit using Instapaper and Reeder, something to write about for another day, perhaps.). This has led to a lot of slowdowns for my Macbook and an increase in irritation levels for me. This is where the Chrome extension that I’ve been talking about comes into play and changes the game. There is nothing even remotely as useful as this on Safari.
*Heroic music* Enter, The Great Suspender – As the name suggests, this extension suspends tabs (kills them if you aren’t using them and frees memory up to let you open even more tabs) and makes Chrome snappy to use. As mentioned above, I have been opening a lot of tabs lately, and that takes a toll on Safari and the Macbook, in general. After opening around 20 tabs, things slow down to a crawl and the dreaded ‘spinning ball’ makes its home on the screen. I came back to Chrome, set the extension to kill tabs after 10 minutes of activity and as I write this, have 17 tabs open in the background, all killed by The Great Suspender and things are working quite smoothly. You can install this extension is lesser time than it’d take you to say ‘Oh Chrome Gods, I pray to thee, please have mercy on me’ and once you set it up, I bet that you’ll thank me.
Every other extension that I like on Chrome is available on Safari but this one. With Safari’s new version’s focus on extensions (it’ll be a part of macOS Sierra), I hope that bringing The Great Suspender to Safari becomes easier for the developers. In the meantime, I’m starting to use Google Chrome as my default browser, praying, at every turn, to the Chrome Gods to be kind to my computer’s resources and not hog all its battery.
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