Yes, I really like Safari!
Safari has been my default browser since it was version 1.0. I like the speed. I LOVE the features! I like the user interface. So why the switch to Chrome? Although I really really like Safari, what I didn't like was the constant crashing I was having. Safari would crash on me on average 2-3 times a day. Worse, it would sometimes do it in the middle of typing a blog post like this one and at least once a week take down the whole Mac (Kernel Panic). It wasn't any particular site and while I know some of you would be quick to blame Adobe Flash as the culprit, I've used Chrome now for a week solid browsing the same sites I always do, including the ones with Flash content, with NO CRASHES! I leave the browser open all the time. I usually have no less than 20-22 tabs open all day long. Chrome has been a champ this week without a single problem.
What I like about Chrome
First off (at least for me) it seems to be much more stable than Safari. I also like that the Search bar is integrated into the Address Bar. So if you key in "What's a Macintosh?" and hit return it will do a Google Search for it. However, if you key in "macgroup.org" then it will go to the site instead. It's FAST! I know that Apple always touts how fast Safari is over other browsers, but with Chrome I've found it to be just as fast as Safari if not faster for the sites I go to. The other big factor for me was integration with 1Password. The latest update to 1Password added support for Google Chrome. That would have been a deal breaker for me had it not been there as I use it every day. The integration is pretty slick. Chrome will do an import of your Safari bookmarks as well as sync between multiple computers.
What I don't like about Chrome
Any time you make a switch from one product to another, there will be things that you will like about the new one and miss from the old one. This is no different. Like I said, I like Safari. So I'm missing a couple of features. First off I miss the feature that was added to Safari recently that warns you if you're about to close a window with a bunch of open tabs or quit the app with a bunch open tabs. This optional Safari feature doesn't appear to be in Chrome. A couple of times I've hit Command-Q when I didn't mean to and without warning it closed everything I was browsing. Luckily there is a feature in the History menu that will let you re-open all the last tabs of a window you had open before. It's not the end of the world but I do miss it! I also miss Safari's integration with Mail in that you can hit Command-I in Safari to send the current page you're browsing over to the body of a new message in Mail to send someone. Chrome does have a feature that sends the URL, but it's not the same. The last little nit is that when I click on a link from a page that would normally open a new window in other browsers, it opens a new to the right of the current tab. While this is probably cleaner as you wouldn't end up with so many windows open, I 'd love to have the choice.
Will I go back?
I don't hate Safari! I just hate the crashing. I'd be willing to switch back to Safari in a heartbeat if it was more stable on my MacBook Pro. With that said, I always have multiple browsers installed. I have FireFox too. It's best to have more than one browser installed even if Safari is your default browser just in case you run into a site that isn't rendering properly. You can try it in a different browser. Speaking of rendering properly, I found that Chrome rendered all the sites I visited identically to Safari except one: This blog! Go figure. In Safari, the navigation at the top of the page is centered (like it should be), however in Chrome it's left justified. Not sure why Chrome isn't rendering that one element properly since both browsers are based on the WebKit engine? But that's going to be the case no matter which two browsers you use/compare. One is going to sometimes render things a little different than the other. For the most part I'm happy with Chrome and will continue to use it. I'll try each new update/patch to Safari to see if the crashing goes away, but for now Chrome is my default.
You can download Chrome here and try it for yourself. Even if you're totally happy with Safari there's no reason not to have a 2nd or 3rd browser choice.