Archives for December 2008

Ten things I don’t like about Google Chrome

Recently I blogged about what I like about Google Chrome, and Philipp Lenssen asked a good question: “What do you *not* like about Google Chrome?”

Normally when I have suggestions or complaints about a Google product, I talk directly to that team within Google — the Google Chrome team is especially good about listening to feedback. They also provide a very easy way to file bugs or feature requests against Chrome, and they do triage those requests. But I’ve written so positively about Google Chrome in the past that I wanted to show the sort of feedback that I give when I really care about a product.

So here’s what I would change about Google Chrome:

– Hitting the escape key should freeze any animated GIFs on a web page.
This is now filed as a bug: http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=3690

Fixed: Middle-clicking on a tab is a fast, easy way to close tabs. But it can’t currently be aborted — what if you click your middle button on a tab and then realize that you don’t want to close that tab? On Firefox you can move your mouse off the tab before releasing the button to abort closing the tab. That doesn’t work on Chrome right now.

Update: Peter Kasting, a Chromium developer, stopped by in the comments and mentioned that the 1.0.154.39 dev channel release adds this functionality. The fact that a team member is willing to wade into the comments and address specific complaints/questions is one of the factors that makes me think Chrome will be a successful project.

– If I start typing “Google webmaster blog” into the Omnibox, it offers to search Google for “webmaster blog”:

Google quicksearch

I’m a power user, so I want a way to turn that quicksearch off. I type a lot of searches of the form [Google X Y Z] but that doesn’t mean I want to search on Google for [X Y Z].

Update: Solved. Barry Hunter made this observation:

It is possible to turn off, I also found it very annoying. Goto Options, and on the Basics tab, click the ‘Manage’ in Default Search bit. You probably have a ‘Google’ listed in ‘Other Search Engines’ – delete that – which was probably imported from Firefox via an original OpenSearch description.
(if you dont, look for an entry with ‘google’ in the keyword column)

Thanks, Barry!

– Chrome doesn’t recover submitted form data as well as Firefox if you have to click the back button.
Follow this bug here: http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=2636

– There’s a weird interaction between WordPress and at least the current dev version of Chrome. If I select some text and click the “link” button when writing a blog post, I get a pop-up that already contains “http://”. The text “http://” should be selected so that I can delete it or paste over it easily. Right now I have to select the text and then delete it. This is really annoying.
Chrome 2 fixed this, but it’s broken again in Chrome 2.0.162.0. Filed a bug: http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=7754

– One thing I love about Chrome is that you can type ‘t’ in the omnibox and it will suggest something reasonable like “techmeme.com” and you can just hit return to go there. But if you’ve been to a hostname that exists (e.g. if you’ve visited a valid internal server at http://t/ ) then you have to type ‘te’ before the “techmeme.com” suggestion comes up, because Chrome assumes that you want the server with that name:

Chrome omnibox autocomplete

I want to be able to right-click and delete any Omnibox suggestion. Then ‘t’ will suggestion techmeme.com again. 🙂

Update: Solved, again thanks to Peter Kasting in the comments:

Hit shift-delete on the item (this also works in Firefox). Caveat: You have to arrow to the item (that means that if the item is the default selection, arrow away, then back). This is to avoid conflation with the system level shift-delete “cut” shortcut.

– I’m a weirdo, but I want the ability to add user styles so that I can (say) highlight nofollow links. So I want the equivalent of userContent.css that Firefox offers.
Follow the bug to add user stylesheets here: http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=2393

Update: Hacky workaround. Thanks to a friend for pointing out how to do this. This is a temporary stopgap and may void your warranty. Don’t complain if this breaks anything. Here’s how to do it:

1) Sign up for the dev channel of Chrome.
2) Create a directory C:scripts and save http://blog.bubble.ro/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/nofollowhighlight.user.js into C:scripts (the path is deliberately ugly to remind you that this is a temporary workaround).
3) Run Chrome with –enable-greasemonkey (make sure to close all Chrome instances so you get a fresh invocation of Chrome when you start). To do this, right-click on the Chrome shortcut and select “Properties”. In the “Target:” text box, add “–enable-greasemonkey” at the very end of the line (note that it’s two hyphens before “enable-greasemonkey”). It should look like this:

Chrome nofollow usercontent.css

Now you can see nofollow links!

– A friend pointed this one out to me: If you’re using a proxy url and get on a VPN, Chrome can take 20-30 seconds to refresh/reload the proxy script. I think Chrome might use a Windows-wide service, which is why it takes a while? In Firefox you can click a “Reload” button to force a refresh of the proxy configuration URL.

– Chrome doesn’t have that many options now, but eventually I’d love the equivalent of Firefox’s about:config method of changing settings.

– I don’t know if this is a Chrome issue, but when I use Chrome with Twitter, copying and pasting urls/text in the text box can be weird sometimes, e.g. you copy/paste urls and it copy/pastes from a different location in the text box. I don’t know how to describe it, but people who use Chrome and Twitter a lot might have seen this too.

Added: Here’s how to reproduce the Twitter/Chrome weirdism. Open http://www.cnn.com/ in one tab in Chrome. Copy the url. Open Twitter in another tab. In the “What are you doing?” box, type “One two three: “. Then paste the url “http://www.cnn.com/ ” into the box. Then type “four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve fourteen.” into the text box. Now click on the text between “twelve” and “fourteen” (as if you were going to add a new word between them). Instead, the cursor position will move to just before the “http://www.cnn.com/” text. If you double-click between the twelve and fourteen, the “http” will be selected. It looks like this:

Twitter Chrome bug

One weird thing is that this bug only fires when you have two lines filled in that Twitter text box. If the text was “One two three: http://www.cnn.com/ four five six seven eight nine ten eleven.” (which fits on one line) then you don’t see this issue. I also didn’t see this issue in Firefox.
Filed a bug for this issue: http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=7755

Do you have Google Chrome nitpicks or things you would change? Assume that the team has heard the feedback on
– Mac and Linux versions
– extensions
– perhaps better integration (Google Toolbar-like features, or Google Bookmarks)

and that they don’t need to hear that feedback. Are there other annoyances or things that you would change about Google Chrome? The Chrome team is a top-notch group of people in my experience and they release new dev channel versions of Chrome almost every week, so I’d be curious if you’ve run across specific bugs, annoyances, or niggly things that might be easy to change.

(And just to be clear, I love and use Google Chrome all the time. I didn’t mind posting this because I know the Chrome team is so strong that they can handle suggestions from a passionate user.)

Charity donation recommendations?

It’s the end of 2008, which means that it’s time for one of my favorite posts of the year: what charities would you recommend donating to?

As I said a couple years ago:

If you’re not aware of them, GuideStar and Charity Navigator are two good places to start. … Does anyone want to mention specific charities? Or mention other things that might not strictly be charities, but might be “good deeds” that readers would be interested in?

I’ll get the ball rolling with a few suggestions. I believe the Electronic Frontier Foundation does important work. They tackle many fights that need to be fought. I’ve also been impressed with the projects that the Sunlight Foundation has worked on, including Earmark Watch.

On a related note, I’ve been getting interested in how bloggers can be more like journalists in terms of shield law protections, or learning more about defamation, privacy, and copyright. It’s frustrating to me that MIT, Berkeley, Yale and Stanford offer dozens of courses online, but it’s much easier to find Electrical Engineering courses than “Journalism 101” courses. I’d be interesting in groups that are creating or digitizing such information. Frankly, I’d like to see even a single free online university course in journalism. I’ve looked and haven’t found one.

Internationally, I like what Kiva does with microloans. Several people last year recommended Heifer International. The Child’s Play charity provides games for sick children in hospitals in several countries.

On open-source related items, this page lists a bunch of open-source organizations that may accept an online donation. The Alameda County Computer Resource Center in the California Bay Area will recycle computers or anything that plugs into a power outlet; they also accept charity donations and volunteer work. Personally, I’m a fan of donating to open-source projects that I use and enjoy, from Ubuntu or Synergy or Paint.NET to WordPress or PuTTY.

That’s a few charities and organizations that I’m thinking about. Now it’s your turn — what are the best charities in your opinion?

I know, I know..

Sometimes I think Twitter steals energy away from blogging. I just did my 1000th tweet a few days ago. I’ll try to write something soon, but it’s been busy for the last few days. At least my cat Emmy has helped me catch up on my newspaper reading:

Emmy reads the sport section

SES San Jose video interview

Another day, another video interview. This one was with Greg Jarboe at SES San Jose. You can watch it on the Search Engine Strategies channel on YouTube, or I’ll embed it below:



Some of the things we discussed:
– a quick story about interviewing at Google in 1999
– the opportunities of cell phones and mobile platforms (3 billion of them!) vs. personal computers, as well as hyperlocal information.
– cloud storage servers and storing your data in the cloud
– how it’s cheaper than ever to start an internet business, with a choice of platforms ranging from Facebook, iPhone, Android, OpenSocial, to Google App Engine.

In my last video I got rickroll’ed in the background. This time the background was psychedelic, because the main conference stage was behind us.

PubCon video interview

I spoke at a few conferences in the second half of 2008, and a video interview from PubCon recently came out.

The always-charming Mike McDonald and I did a 10 minute video interview at PubCon a couple weeks ago. A few of the topics that this interview covers:

– how personalized search affects SEO and how ranking reports become less important over time as a result
– the fact that Google returns different search results by country, e.g. a search for [bank] for the United States returns different results than [bank] in the UK or in Australia. (Note: I had a brain freeze and said “Thomas Cook” when I meant to say “Barclays” or “Lloyds TSB” as an example of British banks)
– the broadening role of SEO and embracing the fact that SEO is a type of marketing
– we talked about Flash, and I pointed out that while Google has gotten much better at crawling and indexing Flash, you can’t just think about search engines; you also have think about the user experience, especially on mobile devices these days.
– we discussed 2009 trends in SEO, including: 1) expect many people to embrace broader view of SEO that includes marketing and social media such as Twitter, and 2) blackhat SEO will become even more malicious
– subdomains vs. subdirectories
– we also chatted briefly about the Kentucky basketball team (Go Wildcats!)

Check out the interview for yourself if you’re interested.

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