Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Stephen Hackett

Safari is the Loneliest Browser

A few years ago, I switched from Chrome back to Safari, wanting a more fluid experience between my Macs and iOS devices. While I now enjoy having my bookmarks, tabs and history everywhere I go — as long as iCloud is working — there is one Chrome feature that I wish Safari would swipe: multiple profiles.

Profile Switching in Chrome

In short, this feature is designed to let you have multiple instances of Chrome, all with their own settings, bookmarks, history and more. This comes with a bunch of obvious potential benefits.

If you want to use Chrome for both personal and work browsing, creating a separate profile for each means you can be logged into the same website with multiple accounts but never accidentally be in the wrong one. As someone who uses Gmail for both personal and work email, this can be a real lifesaver. You can also keep work bookmarks and history separate, keeping your personal data nice and tidy.

This is basically how I use this Chrome feature. I have my main account, which has a few bookmarks for things I prefer to do in Chrome, but then two additional ones.

The “Relay” profile is a pretty basic one that is logged into a specific Google account for using the admin tools for Google Podcasts. I rarely need to interact with this, so I don’t stay logged into that particular account in Safari.

My final Chrome profile is for managing the 512 Pixels YouTube channel. The Google account I use to log in for publishing videos is only used for publishing videos; there is a complete firewall between it and my main accounts. As such, it not only has its own profile, but its own theme as well. As it’s for dealing with YouTube, I’m using one that is all red and black. It’s hideous, but I know without a doubt when I’m looking at a Chrome window that belongs to that user.

Apple’s iCloud is mostly focused on individual users, but I think this concept would still fit within that framework. Being able to have different sets of browser settings for different tasks is a nice productivity feature where Google is simply ahead of Apple.

[Stephen Hackett is the author of 512 Pixels and co-founder of Relay FM.]

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