Google Chrome and gleeBox

· technology ·

I change browsers much more often than I buy new clothes. Whenever a new browser emerges or an older one adds new features, I tend to try it out for a while, but often end up gravitating back to Apple's Safari again. While Safari is far from perfect, the integration with the rest of the system and its stability and speed tends to pull me back to it again. However, I tried out Google's Chrome a month or so ago, and I haven't yet moved back.

Chrome is very fast and so far fairly stable, and it seems to strike a nice balance between being extensible but visually fairly uncluttered. So far the extensions I have installed have proved such a benefit that they have outweighed the disadvantages of less integration with the system.

One extension that I absolutely love and miss a lot when I occasionally open Safari is gleeBox. The best way to describe it is that it's like LaunchBar or Quicksilver for the browser. If you haven't used either of those utilities, it's a command box that you summon by using a one key shortcut ('g' by default). You can then start typing to select any link on the page and launch that link by pressing enter, or you can do a search (using Google or Bing), or you can launch a named bookmark or bookmarklet. That's all tremendously useful, and means that you can navigate sites and open bookmarks without using the mouse, but you can also add various jQuery selectors so that you can select only headings with a particular class, or links with a certain ID. There are lots of examples on gleeBox's TipJar, but one of my favourites is this one to select links to go to the next page, just by entering ?n in the command box.

gleeBox is also available as a Firefox addon, so it's definitely worth having a look at if you use either Chrome or Firefox and prefer using the keyboard.