By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 11:57 pm
I sure hope that Blake Ross, Firefox’s brilliant co-creator, has it all wrong about the future of the browser he brought into the world…
As the world around me has been switching to Chrome, I’ve been thinking that Firefox’s days are numbered. Normal people don’t know what Mozilla is, but everyone knows Google, and uses some of their products already. That’s a huge marketing advantage.
To Ross’s point, Firefox does seem to have lost its ability to innovate. Chrome was very bare-bones at launch, but has come pretty far in just a year and a half. During that time, Firefox has only delivered a couple of minor revisions. Even the changes they have planned for 4.0 aren’t really mind-blowing.
I hope Mozilla can turn it around.
I switched to Opera a year ago and haven’t touched Firefox since (except for web development testing).
Firefox just started to use too much memory, it rendered pages slower, addons were constantly nagging for updates (especially NoScript), and it was starting to creep down the security list. Opera has all the features I wanted from Firefox addons right out of the box.
I hate to say it but the Mozilla devs got complacent with their position while WebKit blew their engine out of the water, Microsoft got their act together with IE, Opera introduced Turbo and Unite, and Google overhauled the browser UI with Chrome. They need to play catch-up for version 4.0 if they want to hold their market share, or else they’ll be left with a bunch of Firefox fanboys and die-hard AnythingButMicrosoft-ers.
I still use Firefox, but prefer Safari. However, once I buy an Intel Mac I see myself using Chrome more than Firefox. Safari and Chrome are just faster. I like Firefox for the customization, but I feel the need for speed.
All things considered, in my opinion, speed outweighs customization.
I tried out Google Chrome and loved it for its speed, simplistic UI (omnibar, etc) and larger browsing area (a benefit from the UI). Using an extension called Universal Search & Accelerator even made browsing faster by allowing me to switch search engines on the fly. However, after about two months of steady usage with Chrome as my default browser, I switched back to Firefox and uninstalled Chrome. Most other security conscious web surfers would probably do the same and here’s why:
Although Chrome has some “Ad Blocking” extensions, they are really only ad-hiding extensions. In other words, due to the architecture of Chrome, extensions like AdBlock and AdThwart will hide ads but the ads are still loaded and deposit cookies which can track and report information about you back to advertisers or ID thieves. Chrome also has a unique ID that Google uses to track all its users. Firefox extensioins like Adblock+ do true adblocking.
Also, Chrome simply has fewer extensions than Firefox. This could change in time but, I still wonder what extensions are do-able for Chrome. For example, there is a great Firefox add-on called “Better Privacy” that deletes all Flash cookies when the browser is closed. Currently, there is only one Chrome extension (Click&CLean) that removes Flash cookies and it only works for MS Windows operating systems…BTW, Click&Clean is also available for Firefox but the FF version works on all OS platforms?
Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.