Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Chromically foxed off

Screenshot of Google Chrome

I recently did something that I hadn’t done since about 2002. I changed my primary web browser.

Those of you who have read this blog for a long time will know that I’ve been an avid Mozilla Firefox user. I donated to the two-page New York Times advert in 2004, back when Microsoft Internet Explorer had over 90% market share. I recommended it to friends, and regularly talked about it on here.

Recently, I’ve fallen out with Firefox. It’s very slow on my Mac, and whilst that it is more to do with my Mac being very old, having to wait ages for it to load is frustrating. This is despite installing an addon which automatically stops pages that take too long to load. And I had some problems with Firefox Sync not working. It seems okay now, but it was kind-of like the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I’ve used Google Chrome alongside Firefox for some time. Indeed, I use an app called Choose Wisely, so that I can select which browser to use when a link is clicked. Chrome was my ‘barebones’ browser, with no ad blocker and minimal privacy controls – useful for cashback web sites like Quidco and Topcashback which need cookies to track purchases properly. And, indeed, any web site that didn’t display correctly in Firefox,¬†which includes one that I need to use for work. And yes, I’ve tried disabling Adblock Plus on it and everything else.

So now Chrome is my main web browser for day-to-day browsing. It seems to be faster, and more web sites work on it. I still use Firefox for browsing advert-heavy web sites like those of local newspapers, simply because they’re unbearable without an ad blocker these days.

I still like Firefox and hope this won’t be a permanent change; forthcoming changes to Firefox’s architecture, with multiple process for different tabs and the interface will bring to it one of Chrome’s best features. But for now, using Chrome is just easier.

As an aside, I don’t use Chrome on iOS – I still use Safari, but with the Focus by Firefox content blocker.

4 Comments

  1. You might wan to try Vivaldi browser. It’s like Chrome without the bulk. I started using it earlier this year but it had some trouble with websites like Netflix. I switched back to Chrome. But the last updates seem to have fixed many issues, so I might go back to Vivaldi see if it can really hold now against Chrome.

  2. I switched to Chrome for Firefox years ago and haven’t looked back. You do know that AdBlock+ is available on Chrome, yes? It’s one of about 10 extensions I have installed though I leave it turned off until a website pisses me off with full-page ads that block what I went there to read. Chrome can be a little memory intensive due to the sandboxing it does, but that’s generally not been a problem. I keep Firefox around for testing purposes, but I’ve taken up quite a few Google services since I go my first Android phone years ago and Firefox just doesn’t work as smoothly with Google’s ecosystem.

    In case you’re curious, the extensions I have installed are:
    AdBlock+ (usually not enabled)
    Add to Amazon Wish List for adding stuff from non-Amazon sites to it
    Chrome Remote Desktop for helping out my mother (and other folks) without having to leave the house.
    Cisco WebEx Extension, needed for work.
    Google Docs for their online office suite
    Google Docs Offline so I don’t have to be online to use them
    Google Hangouts, my preferred IM client these days
    Google Mail Checker, probably not needed now that Gmail can push notifications to Chrome if you allow it to, but puts up an icon with a number showing how many unread emails you have.
    Google Play Music, for working with the service.
    Google Sheets, offline spreadsheet
    Google Slides, ditto presentation program
    Google Translate, for on-the fly translation of anything from a single word to an entire page.
    IE in a Tab for those few pages (mostly Microsoft sites and Sharepoint) that don’t render properly in Chrome
    LastPass, password manager
    Password Alert from Google, notifies you of phishing attempts
    And Share with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Email, allows you to right click share a page to the noted social sites.

    I won’t be surprised if you end up sticking with Chrome in the long run. I thought for sure I’d end up switching back too, but so far I’m still with Chrome.

  3. I’m still flying the Mozilla flag as deep down I have a hard time believing an ad company has my best interests at heart.

    Plus I’m still holding a grudge for Google Reader.

    As such I try to use the least amount of Google services as possible. I do still use ‘Gmail for your domain’ which I pay $5 a month for. It’s the only toe I have left in the Google water. Pondering switching to Fastmail.

  4. Chrome is a very good choice, but it all comes down to personal preference. Some argue Chrome is faster than others, yet there can be definitely pros as you’ve found in the past with alternate search engines like firefox. The great thing about technology is that it is continually changing, so sometimes that means we have to change with it too.