Is it time to stop using Chrome? We’re certainly ready to put the resource-hogging browser out to pasture, especially given the recent news that a hopeful fix from Microsoft for Chrome’s memory-hogging issues has been thwarted by Google itself.
Other browsers eclipsed Chrome for speed, performance, privacy and/or security ages ago, and there’s no need to stick with something that’s so bloated and slow if you don’t have to—and you don’t have to, because there’s a better version of Chrome out there, but it isn’t developed by Google.
Chrome is a system hog
Chrome hogs your device’s memory and eats through its battery life. Google is testing experimental features to tamp this down, but they only go so far. Worse, Google recently disabled a RAM-saving feature from Microsoft that let Windows 10 users curb Chrome’s system bog, citing performance issues.
There are several factors behind Chrome’s resource-hogging behavior, but they’re mostly unique to Chrome; other Chromium-based browsers like Edge Chromium and Brave do not share Chrome’s voracious appetite. Neither do non-Chromium options like Safari and Firefox.
Chrome’s built-in ad-blocking is limited
Google’s business model is big on ads, and many of the targeted ads you see around the web come from Google (or are informed by its data). To make sure users are still seeing and interacting with these ads, Google limits the types of ads that content-blocking extensions like AdBlock can disable, making a truly-ad free Chrome experience impossible. Yes, you can block some ads, but all.
However, browsers like Brave (or its adware-free alternative Bold), Opera and Vivaldi offer Chrome-like browsing with no ads. They also block site trackers and generally provide better privacy and security features out of the box. Heck, Brave takes ad-blocking so seriously it pays you if you decided not to block ads—even if it has been dinged for replacing affiliate links with its own tags, which is sketchy AF.
Chrome’s privacy controls aren’t that comprehensive
Chrome is decent at keeping your browsing activity and personal data out of the hands of hackers and shady outside companies, but not from Google itself.
To be fair, Google’s privacy controls are better than used to be. Users can control some of the data Google collects, and Google Accounts now default to auto-deleting saved data. Nevertheless, there are plenty of techniques Google uses to collect and share your information anyway.
Chrome tracks your data and funnels as much as it legally can to Google’s servers—especially if you’re constantly signed in with your Google account. Google tracking you is different than hackers or stalkers collecting info on your browsing activity, but it still poses major privacy risks, especially if a misconfigured server winds up leaking a bunch of personal info.
No longer the best Chromium browser
Chromium browsers are sleek, fast and easy to use. For years, Chrome was the best Chromium browser out there, and because of that, users put up with its quirks and shortcomings—whether its the way Google Search stacks the deck in favor of certain pages or how it hamstrings browser add-ons that could undermine its ad-based business model.
Google prioritizing its first-party products makes sense. It’s not even that I think it doing so is wrong, per se. Chrome’s seamless integration with Google’s other apps and services is convenient. But not everyone wants to be heavily tied to Google’s ecosystem simply because they enjoy the Chromium-based browsing experience.
Luckily, there are now many solid Chromium-based alternatives out there, any of them offering a nearly-identical Chrome-like browser that’s devoid of Google’s product integrations.
Oh, and you can still use Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube and other Google web apps in pretty much every other browser if you want—though there are plenty of great alternatives to those, too.
Finding a new browser
Personally, I use Brave on desktop and the new Firefox mobile browser on Android, but there are plenty of solid options out there. Even pre-installed browsers like Microsoft’s Edge Chromium and Apple’s Safari are better—in fact, Safari might just be the best browser on Mac period.