Disappointment: Google decides not to add a sidebar to Chrome

Chrome is a pretty good browser. I recommend it with few reservations. I even use it myself. But my use of Chrome is limited to a few sites that just work better in Chrome than in Firefox – at least for me.

The main reason I don’t use Chrome for most of my browsing, despite the fact that I really don’t want to use Firefox either, is the lack of a sidebar. No feature is more frequently requested for Chrome. And yet Google has resisted adding one.

Why is a sidebar such a big deal? Like many other people, I use the sidebar to show my bookmarks, in a nested tree format. This is an extremely efficient way to manage a lot of bookmarks. There’s just not enough room in the horizontal toolbar to do this; I can add folders and subfolders to the toolbar to create a drop-down menu effect, but I want the bookmarks I’m currently working with to stay on the screen and not disappear when I click one.

And I’m not the only one. Just look at the comments and votes for this bug in Chrome’s bug tracking system, and in this post in the Chrome support forum.

If you look at that bug, you’ll see that Google started the work to add a sidebar. But they must have run into a big problem, because today the bug was updated to the status ‘WON’T FIX’. That means we are unlikely to ever see a sidebar in Chrome. The update provides very little explanation, and points to the general Chrome FAQ. Presumably what they are referring to is the word ‘simplicity’ in the second point.

And so concludes another chapter in my love-hate relationship with Google. I think Google is terrific, and I depend on their services, but this is a huge disappointment.

Update: the WebKit-based Opera browser also doesn’t include a useful bookmark sidebar, but I’ve just discovered a sidebar extension called V7 Bookmarks, and so far I’m loving it. It looks like Opera will be my new main browser when I finally can’t stand Firefox’s bloat and instability any more.

About jrivett

Jeff Rivett has worked with and written about computers since the early 1980s. His first computer was an Apple II+, built by his father and heavily customized. Jeff's writing appeared in Computist Magazine in the 1980s, and he created and sold a game utility (Ultimaker 2, reviewed in the December 1983 Washington Apple Pi Journal) to international markets during the same period. Proceeds from writing, software sales, and contract programming gigs paid his way through university, earning him a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) degree at UWO. Jeff went on to work as a programmer, sysadmin, and manager in various industries. There's more on the About page, and on the Jeff Rivett Consulting site.

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