Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A real Speed Dial for the Chromium browser

I've been almost exclusively using the Chromium browser on all of my computers (OS X, Ubuntu Karmic) over the past month or so after about three or fours years on Opera.
What I like about Chromium is that its perhaps slightly faster than Opera, has tabs and a bookmark bar (which Opera has, too) and, well, basically that's it.
The one thing that I definitely do NOT like in Chromium is its version of Opera's speed dial. First, it doesn't allow you to decide what goes in there. You have to wait till Chromium decides that this is one of your favorite webpages. Yes you can pin pages you don't want to be moved which is a small consolation.
Secondly, Chromium's speed dial is so small -- just 8 boxes.
However, now there's a solution -- the Chrome Speed Dial extension.
So, I installed this in Chromium in Snow Leopard on my MacBook and sure enough a "real" speed dial shows up where the former pathetic offering used to be.
It has an Options button which allows you to decide how many rows and columns you want (I'm currently using 4Rx7C on the Mac) and what you want as a speed dial background (á la Opera).
Strangely though, on the Mac, no extension icon appears (and this is what you're supposed to use to select a web page for your speed dial). Luckily, you can use Alt-A as an alternative.
Unlike Opera, speed dial entries are located sequentially but you can drag them to where you'd like them to appear.
I found that the Alt-A didn't work on login pages which meant that I couldn't set up a speed dial entry for either Gmail or Google Wave which is inconvenient. Nevertheless, I can easily use the Google Mail Checker extension to quickly open Gmail and a Bookmark Bar entry to open Google wave so all is not lost.
Thus, it might appear that Chromium has even further impressed me. But, I'm not sure. It really seems that what I'm looking for in a browser is something that is exactly the same as Opera but faster (and perhaps avoids the occasional very high CPU usage that besets browsing in Opera).
Therefore, I think I'm going to move back to Opera asa soon as the 10.5 incarnation is more stable. I've already tried the pre-alpha and it certainly is fast. Unfortunately it crashed way too frequently for comfort.

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