Firefox has kept me content for a very long time. A couple of years ago, when my husband starting working on Chrome OS, I felt a momentary pang of Googley loyalty and tried to switch to Chrome. Sad to say, Chrome gobbled memory on my Windows machine, in a repeatably horrifying way, and I hurried back to Firefox.
Now that I'm done with grad school, I rarely use Windows*--and I think Chrome's memory-monster problem has been solved, anyway. But I wasn't motivated to try switching again until a recent Firefox update killed Flash. While I was wrestling with plug-ins and package managers, my husband simply commented, "Chrome comes packaged with Flash."
So I made Chrome my default browser, and went under the hood to set my privacy preferences the way I like them--which is to say, all the way on. Almost nobody else ever uses my computer, so it's not that I want to hide my history from fellow humans (although that doesn't hurt). I just like my browser to be a blank slate**.
Firefox has this incredibly simple pulldown menu where you can tell it to never remember history:
Try as I might, I could find nothing equivalent in Chrome's settings. Finally I turned to the trusty forums, where I found out that this is a common complaint. The answer to "How do I get Chrome to never remember history?" is simply:
You can use Incognito mode. In Incognito mode your history doesn't get saved.
Okay. That seems like an overengineered solution to a question that Firefox answered with a pulldown menu, but fine. I added -incognito to the run command for Chrome.
And that works. And it is fine. Except. EXCEPT. This is what my browser window always looks like now:
Do you see the problem? Do you SEE the PROBLEM?
Yeah. Now there is a creepy dude hanging out in the upper left corner of my browser, 100% of the time.
Now, I understand that Mr. Incognito is supposed to represent me. I am meant to feel that I, the user, am effectively wearing shades and a trenchcoat and no one will ever know it was me. But you know what? That's not the message I get.
Creepy dude is not me. Creepy dude is looking at me. All the time.
In the immortal words of Allie Brosh,
* Weird, right? Thing is, in grad school, I spent a large proportion of my time dealing with Word and Excel. Excel has no good open-source equivalent, and while I think OpenOffice's word processor is just fine, none of my colleagues used it. We were constantly sending documents back and forth, and formatting goes wonky between MS and OO, so I played the Roman and stuck with Word.
** I know, this is also weird. A lot of people, including the aforementioned husband, really like being able to type the first letter or two of a web address and having the browser complete the rest. But I'm not a fan. If I want to remember a website, I can bookmark it, or subscribe to its RSS feed, but I like to be in charge of making the decision. I don't want the browser to automatically remember things for me.
Me: Let's go to the b--
Browser: Bookstore! You want to go to the bookstore!
Me: LET ME FINISH MY SENTENCE YOU RUDE THING.