10 things we'd like to see in Chrome

Google's Chrome is pretty good, but it could be a whole lot better. We've rounded up 10 fairly extensive ways to tweak it to make it an all-around better browser.

So far we're pretty smitten with Google's Chrome. It's certainly not without its faults, but for version 1.0 of a browser it's pretty sharp. We've compiled a list of 10 things we'd really like to see added or tweaked. Some come from other browsers, and some are just improvements on some of the existing features. Google, we hope you're listening.

1. Profile roaming between multiple browsers. This may be a pipe dream, but if Foxmarks for Firefox has proved anything, syncing up your bookmarks between multiple machines is awesome. Doing the same with passwords, settings, and history would be even better. Considering Google already has a way for your browser to send data back to the mothership , and a hosted Web history service of its own, a little sync using my Google account doesn't seem that hard does it?

2. Better bookmark management. Speaking of bookmarks, the bookmarking system in Chrome is about as basic as it gets. "Stripped-down" might be a better way to describe it. On the outset, it seems as robust as Firefox 3's with a really simple one-click way to save links. Where the system falls apart is the lack of tools for organization, and a complete lack of a back-up tool to save your short (or long) list of favorite sites. Of course, a bookmarks plug-in like Delicious would help sort this out, which brings us to the next yearning...

Chrome's bookmark management is incredibly sparse compared with some of the more mature offerings from browsers like Firefox 3. (click to enlarge) CBS Interactive

3. Plug-ins. Google has acknowledged that plug-ins are on the road map , which is a good thing. Here's how the search giant can totally one-up Mozilla, though: let me install and make changes to extensions without having to restart the browser. Nothing is worse than having 30 tabs open and having to restart, even if it remembers what I had open before. This reminds me...

4. Saved sessions/Warning messages when closing multiple tabs. Firefox's little warning for when you're closing a group of tabs was a huge lifesaver in version two. Firefox 3 brought with it a way to save that grouping of open tabs for later. Chrome has neither of these features. Accidentally closing your browser with a slew of tabs open means they're gone for good--that is unless you set it from the default option of clearing what you were looking at. Chrome is also nice enough to tell you some of the most recently closed tabs back on its special start page, but that's it.

This warning feature in Firefox has saved this author many hours of hardship over the years. Sadly it is missing from Google's Chrome. CBS Interactive

5. A full-screen mode. I love the minimalism of Chrome, but sometimes I just want those extra 60-90 vertical pixels back. Give me a keyboard shortcut for this too, and I'll be in screen hog heaven.

6. A more customizable interface. The blue is neat, but getting that great deep purple found in incognito mode is enough of a tease to make me want to change the way it looks based on how I'm feeling. Plus, you've taken away the nice special Windows-theme coloring I had when you got rid of the top of the application, so let me choose how I want it to look. Bonus points for a tie-dye mode or something that changes depending on what time of day it is--like your personalized homepage service iGoogle.

Dragging tabs in and out of windows is really cool. Trying to do this with sites you've designated as applications does not work though.

7. A way to drag "applications" back into the main browser. The option to turn a certain site into a self-contained browser window with a stripped-down interface is great. However, the inability to drag it back into an open Chrome browser window is maddening when you're trying to re-open some real estate on the task bar. You can do this with existing tabs and windows, and it works great.

8. A Mac/Linux version. The lack of a Mac client has left the growing percentage of Mac users in a bit of a tizzy. Worse yet, based on Google's track record with some of its other cross-platform software offerings like Google Earth and Google Desktop search, the Mac has fared a little worse with slower release schedules and less features than its PC siblings. Hopefully new features will be rolled out to all the platforms at about the same time.

9. A pop-up blocker that blocks. Clearly Google is trying to shake things up with a pop-up blocker that really should be called a "pop-up relocator," since it not only lets them open but also load. Frankly, this drives me nuts since I have to close them down to get them off the screen. Also if it's really important and something I meant to click, I have to go drag it off from the bottom of the screen.

10. A regular old search box. Yes progress is good and the "omnibar" does a pretty slam-dunk job of getting new searches going, but let's get some of the ambiguity away from that thing and have an option to leave it for URLs only. Also, a separate search box would let me pick from the other multitude of search providers in addition to Google without compromising my screen real estate.

Any you think we missed? Leave them in the comments.

Update: Changed number 4's lack of a session saver, although this feature is turned off by default.

Click here for full coverage of the Google Chrome launch.

Tags:
Software
About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET