What Google Chrome could still learn from Safari

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Chrome (or Chromium) has been my default browser for about two weeks now. (I was using Chromium nightlies, with bookmark syncing and Extensions, until a few days ago when those features trickled down to dev channel builds of reg'lar old Chrome.) Also, I've noticed most of my colleagues at work — most of them hardcore open-source dudes who used Firefox on their Macs, horrible performance be damned — have also started using Chrome.

I won't belabor the point: Chrome is great, especially for developers. It's fast, the UI gets out of your way, and once you've had Google Search built into the location field (turning it into a true "command line for the web"), you'll never be able to go back. (Literally: whenever I'm back in Safari, I end up trying to type searches into the location field. Apple's probably already working on that for Safari 5.)

However, there are some things about Safari I miss:

  • MobileMe bookmark syncing with my iPhone. I don't honestly expect either Apple or Google to provide this, so this'll have to come as either an Extension or some other outside tool.

  • A top-notch bookmark manager. This is the one thing Safari has arguably gotten more right than any previous browser; its iTunes-esque bookmark management UI is great. The native manager UI in the latest Chromium builds isn't nearly adequate. Seems the most Chrome- and Google-like solution would be a web-based bookmarks UI similar to how history works. (Though, given the syncing, it would inevitably lead to some fool blog like TechCrunch to proclaim Google was coming out with a "del.icio.us killer" social bookmarking service.)

  • Consistent error messages. Why so many error styles, dudes?

  • 1Password support. Agile is working on this one as a Chrome Extension, and in the meantime I have a bookmarklet set up. But the bookmarklet can't auto-fill mailing addresses or credit card info, and there are some websites it just doesn't handle well. Native Chrome support simply can't come fast enough.

  • "Merge all windows." Never realized how much I used this command until I didn't have it anymore.