Opinion: Why I’ve broken up with Chrome


If we have a good relationship you will be moved if I touch you.
If I’m gentle, you will respond in kind.
If I’m rough with you I expect you to be rough too.

What am I talking about?

It’s no secret that I’m a Google fan. I have a Google laptop, a Google tablet and a Google phone. I live happily in a Google ecosystem with Google apps that rarely let me down.

Gmail works well for me. So do Google’s Maps and their video service YouTube. Google Calendar keeps me from missing events. All in all I’m a happy little Googler. Google Chrome on my PC and my Chromebook serve me well.

But what should possibly be the crowning glory of our relationship has failed me too many times. Yes, I’m talking about Chrome for Android. I’ve been with her since I met her.

I like that she knows my needs, and usually serves up just what I’m after when I ask. She knows how to communicate with my other friends (my apps) and helps me to achieve my goals.

But lately, it’s like she’s stuck. I try to prod her gently, but she moves so slowly.

I won’t strain this metaphor any further: Chrome for Android is laggy. There I said it. It’s stuttery and not buttery. It sometimes won’t move at all.

We demand responsiveness from our gadgets like we do from our vehicles. If I press the accelerator pedal with my foot, I expect instant movement. If not I will call the service centre and get it looked at.

Stuttery and not buttery

So I’ve called it quits with Chrome for Android. For now. I put up with this for a while and probably would have continued to be patient in this relationship but… you guessed it, I met someone else. It was a chance encounter.

Her name is Dolphin. She’s so in tune with me. When I touch her the response is instant and she can really move! I’ve uninstalled Chrome for Android from my phone and tablet – Dolphin has taken her place. Maybe Chrome and I will get back together again one day.

If you’ve experienced the same, I suggest giving Dolphin a try. Firefox is pretty good too, but I prefer the tabs in Dolphin, because they’re much more like a desktop browser.

I believe Google needs to act quickly and decisively. If you have at least a dual core phone or tablet running Jelly Bean, you have the right to expect responsiveness. Project Butter is a reality right across the Google apps and system user experience of my Nexus phone and tablet. Google’s own browser should be no different.

We know you can do it, Google. Give us faithful fans something to be proud of. Then we geeks will continue to promote what we know and love. Because right now, we’re just a little bit embarrassed… I guess you are too?

Do you share Geoff’s feelings about Chrome for Android? Let us know in the comments!

About the author

Geoff freely admits to being a sufferer of multiple device disorder. In addition to his love of Android he's also a bit of a fan of Chrome too. In fact, you could say that he has a particular fondness for... (read more)


  • aryonoco

    Yeah… but Dolphin has its own problems.

    Try the new Firefox 18 (that’s just hit beta). I’m finding it amazing.

    • Geoff Fieldew

      I’ll give it a shot. Responsiveness is what I’m after and so far Dolphin hasn’t disappointed me.

      • http://twitter.com/Montalbert Scott

        i use firefox on my nexus 4 Geoff. really nice. smooth.

    • Greg

      Love firefox – and its a must for integrating with all of my FF desktops. Only complaint is the startup-loading time when you start fresh or get kicked out of memory.

  • Bakaouji

    Agreed. Chrome definitely has some lag issues, on my Nexus 7 as well as Galaxy Nexus. And I hear it’s even worse on non-nexus devices with force closes and whatnot.

    Sadly, I prefer the UI of Chrome, so I’m still using it.

    What device are you using btw?

    • Geoff Fieldew

      Same as you. I’m all Nexus.

  • http://dennisbareis.com/ Dennis Bareis

    Happy Dolphin user here :-) I’d be happier if it synced Chrome bookmarks, but theres an app for that…

    • Geoff Fieldew

      There’s an app? Link me pls!

      • Arek

        There is actually an option, swipe screen to the right and in the bookmark strip on the top left there is a cloud symbol, select other accounts and login with google…

      • Geoff Fieldew

        Cheers for that :)

      • http://ausdroid.net/ Chris (Deputy Editor)

        Excellent suggestion .. I may even investigate this, even though I haven’t found Chrome on Android too bad – works alright for me on N7 and RAZR M.

      • http://dennisbareis.com/ Dennis Bareis

        I can’t find the “cloud” option… Is this documented somewhere?

      • JeniSkunk

        From the left edge of the Dolphin screen, swipe right.
        The cloud sync symbol is in the top left corner of the Bookmarks.
        Tap it, then choose what account to Connect with. Facebook, Google, or Dolphin.

      • http://dennisbareis.com/ Dennis Bareis

        Pressing the cloud syncs (something) for me and even long pressing doesn’t do anything (no add other accounts options).

        I’m sticking with cmarks as the only thing that seems to sync from chrome is the history (not even sure about that), no bookmarks sync. The CMARKS bookmark menu however seems fully populated, so thats handy.

      • http://dennisbareis.com/ Dennis Bareis

        I’ll try the cloud from the other response, Dolphin dropped their sync and I’m surprised if they implemented another solution they didn’t say so… Anyway I’m using the heavy version of “https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.h.chromemarks.lite”.

      • Geoff Fieldew

        Thx :)

  • pcoussa

    Got say Geoff that I went through exactly the same thing. I too moved away from Chrome and FF has replaced my daily driver for a browser!!!

    • http://twitter.com/Montalbert Scott

      i too am using Firefox on my lg nexus 4… it has decent sync to desktop too. i still use chrome on my tablet as i can easily open something i had open on chrome on pc

      • Geoff Fieldew

        I’ve had Firefox on the Nexus 7 for handling flash content for a while. I’ll probably keep it there.

  • Pete

    Chrome for Android is good on the Nexus 4, slightly laggy on the Nexus 7, and absolutely unusable on the Nexus S. Pretty bad on the ‘wingray’ Xoom too.

    • Geoff Fieldew

      Possibly due to the brute force of S4Pro + 2GB RAM in Nexus 4?

      • http://twitter.com/JM77 Jason Murray

        I’m also thinking brute force explains Nexus 4 performance.

      • Geoff Fieldew

        You have a Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, yes? How is it on your Nexus 7?

      • http://twitter.com/JM77 Jason Murray

        Nexus 7 is performing badly in general. Not entirely sure why TBH – need to get 4.2 on there.

      • Geoff Fieldew

        Maybe time for a reset.

      • http://ausdroid.net/ Daniel Tyson

        I do find that occasionally opening a link from somewhere like Twitter etc, Chrome just sits there on a blank page and you have to re-tap the link

      • Geoff Fieldew

        Shall we call this the Chrome white screen of death?

  • Peter

    Google Chrome on Android is rubbish. I am a Googler too. I use it everywhere possible and find the connectivity between products typically great. But I have sideloaded the old Android browser on all my devices. One issue of the many issues I had with Chrome on Android was if I wanted to use the desktop version of Google docs in the browser (the drive version functionality is not that comprehensive yet) and switch from my personal Google account to my works business Google account, no can do. I have to remove my personal account and add my business account. What? Gmail easily toggles between accounts, so why can’t Chrome. It seems they are pushing a product on us, saying ‘just use it and we’ll make it function properly later’. For me this Google’s Apple maps at the moment, fix it Google or give us the old browser back.

    • Geoff Fieldew

      Yep, you’re right where I am.

  • tysoncsmith

    Agreed, same here. Chrome is fine on my G-Nex 4.2 but on my galaxy note 10.1 it just freezes and becomes unusable until it crashes. Will give dolphin a go but the stock browser seems to be going strong. Thanks for the article

    • Geoff Fieldew

      You’re welcome :)

  • ozgreg

    Ahhh how soon we forget, it was only 12 months ago that Dolphin was caught sending URL’s back to a remote server in plain text.. Dare we trust them again?

    • Geoff Fieldew

      That rings a bell, hmm. I’m giving them a chance to prove they’ve learnt their lesson then I suppose.

  • http://twitter.com/MrPendulum Mr Pendulum

    I had problems initially. But they disappeared for me a couple of months ago with an update. Either that or I’m experiencing stockholm syndrome with it.

  • NOZ

    I understand what everyone was saying. I have an S3. The quadcore 1gb variety. Ive always had chrome installed. As well as firefox and opera. I prefer different browsers for different reasons I suppose. It wasnt until recently that I actually began to use chrome more regularly.

    For various reasons…and I cant pinpoint it exactly…ive noticed huge improvements. Initially on the s3 it was laggy as can be. And didnt use it but checked back everytime there was an update and/or I updated the rom in my phone. So its hard to tell if its the leaked rom im currently running or the update but its SOOOOO much better than it was to start with.

    I agree with the disappointment tho. An app developed by google should have a vastly broader and superior performance than it has had…and on lower end phones also.

    On a side note…I now have ad blocker ony rom so that potentially couls be the cause of the increased smoothness

  • pdffs

    Quick Menu is a necessity for me – AOSP browser for life.

  • Justin Harvey

    Not sure if you saw this post from Google chrome plus account

    https://plus.google.com/100585555255542998765/posts/e9HVLDwfjLr

    not that i really think it will change a whole lot but we can live in hope

  • http://twitter.com/vancasipong van casipong

    There are features I like on Chrome, like Chrome to Phone, and to be able to Sync with other devices. But it’s sad that Flash, and Pop-up Browser are not supported, and it also uses a high amount of memory. With this, I am still using both Chrome and the AOSP Browser.

  • glennv17

    I used to hate Chrome on my Acer A500, but I persisted with it for bookmarks and desktop sync. I’ve used it since it came out on my Galaxy Nexus and it’s been fine to be honest. I don’t do heavy browsing on my phone usually anyway.

    I love it a lot more on my Nexus 7 than I did on my A500, and even though I know it could be better, I find it just fine for the browsing that I do. I haven’t used the AOSP browser for a long, long time. I know I can use things like CMarks to import my Chrome bookmarks into the AOSP browser, but I see no pressing need to do so.

  • http://twitter.com/stowball Matt Stow

    I still solely use the Android browser because it implements reflowing text after zooming. No other browser does and I can’t live without it. If they kill Browser before implementing this in Chrome I won’t be pleased. You can vote for my issue if you like: http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=136329

    • Sam Ng

      Naked browser has it. It’s based on the aosp browser

    • Geoff Fieldew

      Good point!

  • Altechi

    I left chrome mainly because bookmarks disappear when sync is not on. Which is really annoying. I prefer using stock, which in the s3 is pretty good and snappy. Doesn’t drain the battery as much as well

    • Geoff Fieldew

      Agreed, S3 browser is good. I would like it more if it had tabs rather than difficult to switch windows.

  • gutenmuach

    Google, can you also please add the ability to zoom out/in in gmail please……

    • Mitchell Smith

      They have

  • Paul FIeldew

    Hey Bro, I had a read and I did watch the video chrome vs dolphin. I agree that Chrome is not loading well, not buttery and confusing by operation at times. I am trying Dolphin on my Nexus 10, going well, not completely sold either, takes a little while to initially load a page but overall does seem to run better than chrome. Not up for discussion here but still can’t go past chrome on win 7, love it. Also waiting for chrome to hopefully come back strong on Android.

    • Geoff Fieldew

      Cheers Paul :)

  • Harpersneil

    Amazing that I’m reading this today. Only last week I replaced Chrome with Dolphin and (I hope she’s not reading this), I’ve never been happier.

    We waited an eternity for Chome, but sadly it’s been nothing but disappointing so far. I think I read on Ausdroid that Chrome and Android are in fact 2 totally seperate dept’s in Google. Perhaps that’s still an issue?

    Great article!

    • Geoff Fieldew

      Cheers, yes the Chrome Team and Android Team are separate. Both at Google HQ though I believe.

  • Sam Ng

    I use naked browser now.

    Very speedy

  • http://twitter.com/homebrandcola homebrandcola

    I’ve gone through the same thing. Chrome came out, with a beta tag, and it was new, shiny, sucked battery like no one’s business, but it rendered pages really well, and was, well rather shiny. After a few updates it got better, and more stable. Then Jelly Bean came out, and all was well with the world.

    But with the last few updates to Chrome it has got more and more bloated, and s l o w e r. Then the bugs set in, opening a link to my bank caused Chrome to completely lock up on my SGS2. This can’t be right, click the link again. Same thing. I put this down to 4.0.3 on the SGS2 being a little buggy (flashed the official Polish ROM when it came out), but then Chrome on my stock N7 started locking up. This can’t be right, it’s the stock built-in browser.

    So I started exclusively using Firefox on both devices. I’d say it was slightly slower, but infinitely more stable. I don’t mind waiting a couple of seconds longer for pages to load if I can scroll smoothly, and waiting for the “stopped responding” dialogue was just painful.

    As as first-party application, and now part of base OS, I really think Google need to spend some time fixing this. It seems like the last 2 or 3 updates have added instability as a feature, it used to be better, which is all kinds of odd, in the meantime – Firefox, and maybe Dolphin.

    • Geoff Fieldew

      You did a great job of explaining that. I’m surprised at how many people have ditched Chrome too.

  • Christopher Theofilaktos

    It’s horrendous, completely unusable. There’s absolutely no reason a quad core phone with 1gb of ram (S3) should lag when browsing the web. Firefox has been working great but I might check out Dolphin once again, I hope Google fix this soon because I really love Google and Chrome.

    • Geoff Fieldew

      That is the point. We don’t hate Google or Chrome. We want them to make a great product. Also, we want them to know if their product isn’t great.

  • Rob Reid

    Before you all run off and install Dolphin, consider what kind of developers allow this kind of “privacy blunder”: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2011/10/major-privacy-flaw-found-in-dolphin-hd-browser-for-android/

  • Baked420

    I’ve been using Chrome on the PC since it came out and on my Galaxy S3….and I’m really not sure what is wrong with your phone as its smooth and super fast on mine.

  • BBbbbbbbBbb

    I’m the same as you I’ve always loved everything google but I have TOTALLY removed Chrome from my SGS2 so I’ll not be tempted to keep coming back to it. I’ve used dolphin for a few months now and so far so good. I’m AMAZED that with the billions that Google has they can’t get the most important thing right.

    • Geoff Fieldew

      You’re right. The browser is the one app that must be cream of the crop.

  • Thomas Bridgewater

    The thing is, I love the interface of chrome. I love the integration. I use the open tabs feature loads. If it weren’t for this, I would have moved long ago. google really do need to fix this.

  • Julian Williams

    What I don’t understand is the love triangle that is Android + Android Stock Browser + Google Chrome. It has always been like Chrome is the third wheel in the relationship.

    If Google wanted us to use Chrome all through our lives, (on the Desktop, on the phone, on tablet), then why did they not do away with the Stock Browser and make Google Chrome the default? Seems like the Android OS developers and Chrome developers couldn’t agree on that part of the Google ecosystem…

    • Geoff Fieldew

      Chrome is now the Heir Apparent I believe. I guess it’s a bit like Ramses and Moses ;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/milty.mc Milty Mc

    Yes chrome is very laggy, but when i tried out the other options they were just as bad. So ive stuck with chrome. I still hate browsing the net on android.

  • HTC

    Chrome browser lag.

    It is caused by a functionality in
    Chrome Android called FlingCancel that is triggered at the start of a
    touch event, if the acknowledgement is not received it gets moved from
    the compositor thread to the webkit thread, but the browser is still
    waiting for the FlingCancel acknowledgement before it sends the touch
    response.” forum member Turbotab commented, ”This explains why some reviews thought that the very powerful Nexus 4 & 10 were laggy when web browsing”.
    Surprisingly, Google marked the report
    as a ‘Pri-2′ issue instead of ‘Pri-1′ which is quite ironic given that
    user experience should be a top priority

  • Roe

    Boat browser easily the best and reliable

  • Geoff Fieldew

    So, Chrome has an update. Maybe some reminiscing in the air?

  • http://twitter.com/tfqkhn Taufiq Khan

    Yeah… love/hate relationship with Chrome. I can’t peel myself away from the amazing tab syncing between devices, but the lag is a bother

    • Geoff Fieldew

      Yep. My exact frustration too.

  • http://twitter.com/boy_kid_ninja NinjaBoy

    I can say that Chrome is extremly horrid on Android, both on my Galaxy Nexus and my Nexus 10. Ironically the native browser in the Galaxy Nexus works better.

    On that note — – Chrome on MAC OSx is horrid too. Using up anywhere up to 1GB of memory, eventually becomes unusable and laggy. Thoughts?

  • StuartM

    Stock browser all the way. Buttery smooth and you can browse full screen if you turn on Quick Controls in Labs.

    • Geoff Fieldew

      I have been checking out the stock browser again on the GS3 & GNex. The GS3 browser is the fastest I’ve used on a phone. It gets about 1100 in the JavaScript Sunspider test. It’s nice and smooth.

      My concern is that I will have trouble getting it on the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7. The major turnoff though is the time consuming method that is switching between windows. I like to see what’s open at a glance and open another in one step.

  • GreviousMcG

    Has the latest update for Chrome (which was released yesterday) has made the experience any better for you guys?

    • Geoff Fieldew

      Nope. Not yet.

  • tysoncsmith

    Great News,
    There was an update to Chrome and it has become stable again on the Note 10.1
    Anyone else had some success with the chrome update?

  • Ryan

    Chrome for Android stalls out regularly on my Galaxy S II :(