Google Chrome 4.0: Extensions and Bookmark Sync

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 | Business | by

Today Google officially announced the release of Chrome 4.0.  The update features two major pieces of functionality, Extensions and Bookmark Syncing.  If you already have Google Chrome, just click on the “tool” -> About Google Chrome, and click on “Update” in the lower right corner next to the OK window.  Otherwise, download it from Google.

The most important change being Extensions, since there are extensions that handle bookmark syncing.

This is HUGE news (everyone reading this probably already knows why, but I will elaborate) since the biggest feature Firefox had going for it was the extensions.  In geek arguments around the world you would hear “Chrome is faster” … “Firefox has Firebug” … “Chrome has a great web developer interface” … “Firefox has extensions for everything else you would want”.  That would usually be the end of it.

I would like to point out a major influence here is the target audience of browsers.  Before if you used Chrome, you most certainly have tried Firefox (or run it as your main browser for years).  If you used IE before, you likely still do.  Personally I see no reason to run IE, unless a site you use every day doesn’t support it.  Last I checked, even Hotmail fully supported Chrome.

Some of the extensions I would recommend web developers install immediately:

  • IE Tab – You dread having IE on your machine, but at least you no longer have to open it to open pages in IE7.  I’m sure performance is still horrible, but it lets you check at least IE7 versions of web pages (I don’t believe it supports IE8).
  • AdBlock – There has been a lot of buzz around this extension.  While it is nice to support some sites by clicking on advertisers (and if they’re trying to target you, it is the least you can do to pay for all the use you get out of the site) — some sites are just too damn annoying.  Fortunately it includes functionality to easily allow text ads on Google search results (hah).  You can whitelist sites that you want to support (highly recommended)
  • Xmarks Bookmarks Sync – Sync bookmarks online.  I know, but version 4.0 does this internally.  The nice part about this is you can install it and sync bookmarks with IE and Firefox.  The BIG win here?  You can FINALLY sync bookmarks with Chrome and your iPhone!
  • Chrome SEO – Easy access to SEO stats from the browser

There are tons more (please let me know which ones you like) — but this is big.

As with almost all Chrome releases, we are supposed to be getting a decent speed increase.  I almost don’t even care anymore, I am never frustrated with the speed in which Chrome loads a web page.

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