Chrome. You use it. I use it. For the past several years it has been the fastest and most stable of browsers, setting new benchmarks for performance and ease of use. In the last few months, however, Chrome has fallen away from its initial vision, and from its prior levels of usability.

Check and see what version of Chrome you are using. According to Clicky, you should be on Chrome 16, unless you are on one of the faster tracks, in which case you might be on 17. Both have the issues that I am about to outline. This post is not a bitchmeme. Instead, it’s a small call to arms to the Chrome team to lock down their awesome product and restore it to its former greatness.

What is wrong?

Here’s what happening: Chrome, across versions and operating systems, is having an increasingly hard time loading web pages that have Flash elements. Even more, instead of allowing Flash to fail, and prompting the user to kill it as before, Chrome itself is simply crashing. Continuing: Chrome as a whole has become less stable. Opening too many tabs too quickly can bring the whole thing down. Remember when Chrome came out, and they promised to have fixed that problem forevermore? The idea was that as each tab had its own process, no single webpage could crash Chrome. That’s not even close to true with the current versions of Chrome.

Chrome is now also quite memory intensive. I have some seven tabs open in Chrome right now, a low number for someone in my profession. At current count, the browser is running sixteen processes on my computer, four of which are using over 100 megabytes of RAM. I assume that Gmail and Tweetdeck are the two most intensive, and therefore account for some 400 megabytes of RAM combined. Chrome is also now slower to launch than before, but that is perhaps a smaller quibble.

Firefox

Let’s take all of that together: instability, insane memory usage, and slow launch times. What does that remind you of? Firefox, of course. Chrome is becoming the very thing that we dropped it for in the first place. And that is a crying shame.

For quite a while I thought that I was alone in having such issues with my beloved Chrome. On a whim, I tossed my problems into the backchannel here at TNW, and learned that no, I’m not alone. Some minor testing on other computers (Mac and PC) demonstrated the same issues. Chrome is simply not the ultralight, ultrafast beast that it used to be. One prominent TNW editor actually switched to Safari over Chrome due to its plaguing issues.

I really don’t want to see ‘Woah! Google Chrome has crashed!’ more than once a week, let alone seven times in a day. I don’t want to go back to Firefox. Please don’t make me, Google.