Is Chrome Bad?

According to Loren Brichter, Chrome is bad. He’s been having some slowdowns on his Mac, and removing Chrome along with its associated update process called KeyStone seemed to fix the slowness issues. Other people have concurred, while others have understandably demanded some evidence, comparing it to the myth that closing apps on an iPhone speeds it up. (As an aside, when I was an iOS developer, I remember watching the iOS ‘free memory’ count go up when I swiped away an app. I also remember that Safari would release rendered pages from memory when system memory was low, meaning it would have to load and render the pages again as you switched between tabs. Other apps would likely release resources in response to ‘low memory’ broadcasts from the operating system too. Therefore in years past, there is no question that closing apps would at least speed up some aspects of your phone. Whether the practice is still a net-gain in 2020 when our devices have a lot more RAM is less certain, and will depend on your usage patterns.)

So is Chrome bad? My take is yes, probably, but not because of it’s auto-updater. The system slowness issue doesn’t appear to effect everyone, and may be an unintentional bug by either Google or Apple. Chrome is of course funded by advertising and so is likely using your browsing data in ways you might find creepy. With Microsoft Edge now being based on Chromium, I’m not sure why anyone would use Chrome in 2020. Edge supports the same plugins, renders pages the same and includes lots of easy-to-find privacy enhancing settings that are burried in Chrome, and no it doesn’t use KeyStone to manage its updates. If you haven’t already, I urge you to give Edge a try.

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