Firefox plugins from Google: Not ready for prime time


I was curious about the Firefox extensions released by Google lately. In particular the Google Toolbar and Google Suggest, because the SMS extension is useful only for U.S. numbers. So I installed the extensions and expected to have a blast using them, but I was soon to be disappointed.

The first thing I noticed was a slow down when Firefox was opening new windows, or even new tabs. Also, writing on some form fields was getting to be painfully slow. I know that both of my laptops (an iBook G4, and a Sony VAIO) are a tad old, but they are not slouches and seemed to not have any problem before I installed a set of new extensions in Firefox (both have similar settings for web browsing).

Thinking it was some unexpected interaction between extensions (which has happened to me before), I deactivated the new ones, and started reactivating them one at a time (while keeping the other new ones inactive). When I got to the Google Toolbar, the slow down returned, to the point that sometimes I will try to open a windows and will see nothing happening for over 10 minutes (yes, sometimes I am patient). When testing the Google Suggest, there was some slow down when typing on the Firefox search field, but it might’ve been some negative bias carried over from the toolbar fiasco.

So I removed those extensions, and reinstalled good old Googlebar that has all of the functionality I need and use, and does not cause those “I better go, make some coffee, and read ‘War and Peace’ twice while I wait for this window to open”-moments like Google’s extensions. Googlebar even has the “Suggests” bit in beta, which works but has some weirdness with respect to the cursos focus (it looses it sometimes).

I guess, that those Google extensions should’ve been labelled alpha and not beta. For now, stay away.

On the other hand, the Gmail Notifier for Mac OS X, works like a charm. But the previously existent Gmail Status application has some features that Google’s offer does not have… yet.

It is good to have options, isn’t it.