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Firefox tops Microsoft browser market share for first time (arstechnica.com)
338 points by okket on May 17, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 204 comments

Wow. I remember watching these stats, waiting for Firefox to edge past IE in the 2000s. Chrome really took the ball and ran with it. They had the advantage of seeing things that FF did that really worked (tabs, extensions, find-as-you-type) and the intelligence to iterate on that (multi-process support, a world-class debugger) and a really solid foundation in WebKit (née KHTML).

In a way Chrome was in the right place at the right time, with the right bunch of people. If they hadn't launched, Firefox would likely be sitting where Chrome is now, though likely without a bunch of drive to improve things as much as they currently have.

Of course, in an alternate universe where Firefox was #1 and IE #2, we might have had royalty-free video codecs mandated by standards and no W3C-endorsed DRM...

> Chrome really took the ball and ran with it

I'm still kind of bitter with the way they did that. A lot of windows installers, which usually installed you toolbars if you forgot to uncheck a box, started installing chrome as your default browser if you forgot to uncheck a box.

I've seen a lot of non-technical people using chrome who have no idea what chrome is or remembering giving consent to installing chrome.

Google was paying out $1 per Chrome install for a long time, which is why you saw it being heavily distributed through all sorts of shady channels like monetized installers.

For context, a payout of $0.10 for a bundled install would have been considered really good back then; a payout 10x that amount meant you'd pull every dirty trick in the book to get as many installs as possible.

Do you have a source on this? Even one about the market in general? I wasn't aware of this practice before now.

Chrome also had the advantage of being advertised on Google.com.

anywhere i go without an adblocker begs me to install chrome and stop using whatever horrible outdated browser im using (according to the google ad), and how youtube, etc work best with chrome anyway

thats quite a lot of powerful advertisement, on the sites people browse every day. its not too different than being part of the default install IMO ;-)

and of course - chrome is a pretty good browser (though edge is actually quite good and firefox is pretty much ok as well despite not yet doing sandboxing)

And the thing is it's sadly not a lie. YouTube and such do work best with Chrome. Google's effective web vertical integration means they control every stage of the pipeline. They control the sites and the browser. They can deploy experimental tech in Chrome which nobody knows about and which only Google sites use.

It's terrifying.

One example of "google only APIs" that I ran into recently is the chrome extension browserAction.openPopup API. This API is whitelisted (in stable) for use by the Google Cast extension. Extensions authored outside of Google cannot use it. This is creates an uneven playing field.


That's nothing. One of the biggest injustices with Google Cast is that capturing system audio on Android is a whitelisted system-only permission and only Google Cast (and a couple system apps) are allowed access to this. Somehow screen video capture isn't a system-only permission.

Nobody other than Google (or your OEM) is allowed to build complete screen casting apps on Android. All third party solutions require you to output your audio through your speaker and capture it with your microphone, which is much worse quality, single-channel, and makes sound (I want to hear my device audio through the speakers of the device I'm casting it to).

It makes no sense, especially when any device on your network can emulate being a Miracast receiver and get access to the same audio data that you aren't allowed to access on your own device. In fact, Windows 10 insider preview currently includes a Miracast emulator just for this purpose of Android screen sharing.

It seems it's not necessarily malicious. From https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=399859:

"The popup is anchored to the extension icon, which might be in overflow or not even exist, in which case it is anchored to the Wrench menu. That kind of anchoring would make the message in the popup to appear to be from the Chrome browser (since it points to the chrome UI) and would present a vector for tricking users into thinking the message is from a trusted source.

Since this is not safe to allow all extensions to do we'd need a lot better reasoning than "I'd like to use this in my extension" before allowing widespread use of this API."

I agree that the API limitation is most likely not malicious and I did not intend to imply otherwise. Still, lack of malice does not change the fact that the Google Cast extension has a competitive advantage over other non-Google extensions (which can't use all of the same APIs).

This seems remarkably similar to Philips:

"While the Philips Hue system is based on open technologies we are not able to ensure all products from other brands are tested and fully interoperable with all of our software updates. For guaranteed compatibility you need to use Philips Hue or certified Friends of Hue products."

After all, it'd just be downright unthinkable that any non-Philips lightbulb should be compatible with our light sockets, that any brand of plug should fit into our wall sockets, or that non-Google-branded plug-in should be able to use a web browser's APIs... I mean, goodness, next we'll be thinking that the term "plug-in API" suggests its supposed to allow things that other people created to interoperate...

I agree, I would guess extensions also probably don't have access to chrome's password store. Trusted code can be handled differently.

So when are they going to get hit by lawsuits like the ones Microsoft got in the '90s?

They've already been hit with that in the EU. And, I imagine the first thing after this current election cycle in the US ends will be newly minted (or newly defrocked, as the case may be) politicians attempting to take a cheap shot at Google -- especially since Popular Luddism is circling the political backwaters these days.

As already stated, they were already happening, and Alphabet is in large part an initiative to head that off.

At some point, YouTube worked better with Safari than with Chrome or Firefox. YouTube would serve VP9 to browsers that supported it, but it was not hardware accelerated, so it used much more CPU.

This is most likely still true. Safari only supports h.264 which has better hardware support than VP9 just now.

Exactly. They used shady advertising technics to get Chrome installs, but now that they have them they paint themselves as the anti-spam warriors. Yet, every time I point out on hacker news how big hypocrites they are for saying their moto is "don't do evil", I get downvoted. It's frustrating to see a shady company having such a bullet proof brand. I hope this will change some day.

Reminds me of the Microsoft OEM deals and IE. Shows just how much like their opponent Google really is. :)

Microsoft's only interest in IE was to protect the Windows monopoly by suffocating Netscape and its Java Applets.

And they told OEMs they wouldn't sell them Windows at all if they preinstalled Netscape or uninstalled IE.

Which is why they got sued by the government and lost the trial.

Kind of different if you ask me.

As a matter of fact, Microsoft won the browser case 2-1 on appeal.

It was found guilty in the larger anti-trust case, but not in the browser case.

See Microsoft Wins In Appeals Court -- It Gets OK To Require Use Of Its Internet Browser; Special Master Booted http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=199...

Microsoft Wins Key Ruling An Appeals Court Said The Company's Browser Can Be Integrated Into Windows 95. The U.s. Had Sued To Stop It. http://articles.philly.com/1998-06-24/news/25728049_1_window...


Much worse version of monopolistic tactics I agree.

It also had an advantage of being a friggin' fast browser. I switched in 2009 and never looked back beside occasionally trying out FF and nope'ing back to Chrome.

Firefox became faster than Chrome quite a while ago already. Not sure what you were measuring.

When talking about a piece of software as complicated as a modern browser, “became faster” is too broad to have any meaning at all — you can find specific features where almost any browser is faster.

In the case of Chrome and Firefox, they're competitive enough that you really need to say both what you're measuring and how you measured it. People tend to say one is faster than the other when they most commonly mean “the set of extensions I installed in A slowed it down more than B”.

No, we are talking about the architecture of the browsers in areas where there is significant impact (ie. UI Responsiveness), this has nothing to do with extensions.

In Chrome when you load a JS-intensive website (ex. Facebook) you can switch to a different tab while the website finishes doing that JS-intensive task (ex. loading), but in Firefox the opposite happens, the entire browser freezes so you are forced to wait until the browser becomes responsive again.

We are talking in the order of magnitude of milliseconds, but unfortunately it is enough to be perceptible (and annoying).

Fortunately for FF, e10s[1] is almost baked, it still doesn't feel as responsive as Chrome BUT it feels significantly better so you can easily neglect the difference until it matures or something better (Servo[2]) gets baked.

[1] https://wiki.mozilla.org/Electrolysis

[2] https://servo.org/

That may be what you thought we're talking about but the comment I replied to was simply “Firefox became faster than Chrome quite a while ago already”.

My point was simply that without providing more detail, those comments are so vague to be useless.

UI Responsiveness probably, any perception of speed is lost if loading a website freezes the entire browser for several msecs.

This. I love FF and use it wherever I can, but there are small tricks in Chrome that make it seem much faster in normal use. No matter what you do, action feedback is instant. Firefox should really imitate this.

Yep. A bit part of the perception of speed isn't "always be fast", it's "never be slow".

I have a policy of keeping personal browsing on chrome and work based browsing on FF. Every now and then FF will inexplicably hang for over 5 seconds on a page that is probably already cached. I never notice this on chrome, and my connection speed is over 100MBps..

Other times, FF is lightning quick - near instantaneous loads - only other thing I can think of is that I'm running FF on Fedora?

On Linux until full Wayland switch will happen, performance won't be optimal.

See https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1038800

Honestly I just like Chrome's UI better... I have to use IE/Edge, Chrome, Safari and Firefox regularly to test things... I keep coming back.

I had higher hopes for FF android, as it allows plugins (adblock), but the browser is so horrible on the platform, I wound up switching back... I also tried dolphin for a while. Neither was satisfactory.

I just like chrome better...

My experience in Android is a different one, I'm using a FF fork (Adblock Browser) and my mobile life has never been better.

Unfortunately outside America the mobile web is a malvertising minefield, and the malvertisers target the carriers directly, so there is no way to expect ad networks (ex. AdSense) to proactively hunt for them.

A browser with integrated AdBlock is the most sensible option you can have in a non-rooted device, and the easiest one you can recommend to friends and colleagues.

Do you happen to use lastpass? Is there an integration there either with the android app, or with the browser itself that works? I'm just curious as the chrome app can tell what url is in the browser, and peak into the page... This detail doesn't work in ff, dolphin and others I've tried so far.

I know that is a separate issue... would really like my password manager & adblock & the app window/tabs where each "tab" is a separate window instead of integrated tab-bar, which isn't very nice at all on a phone.

And still does! It's obnoxious that Google shows more ads to non-Chrome browsers.

It was the only browser that I ever saw an ad in TV prime time.

> Chrome also had the advantage of being advertised on Google.com.

The most valuable advertising space in the world?

IE and Edge have the advantage of being advertised on nearly every PC in the universe.

Interesting. I didn't see that - I assumed it was just a result of advertising it to everyone who searched on Google.

Do you have any specific examples?

Adobe Flash - When you download and installed Flash for Opera or Firefox, it would trick you into installing Chrome as your default browser unless you noticed and unchecked a box: http://i.imgur.com/Uldw6X3.png

Java - When updating, Java on Windows would often trick you into installing Chrome as your default browser unless you noticed and unchecked a box

Avast, AntiVir, etc - Nearly every free antivirus on Windows was paid by Google to install Chrome. The free antivirus would notify you there was a new version and if you clicked the UPDATE or CONTINUE button without noticing and unchecking the box, you'd wind up with Chrome installed and set as your default browser: http://i.imgur.com/hNZLbmL.jpg

The majority of the non-techies I know and had set up with Firefox have no idea how Chrome got on their machines and became their default browser. I'd wager a lot of Chrome's desktop userbase on Windows is due to shady bundleware arrangements.

Chrome was still engaged in the above behavior the last time I checked.

Last time I checked was last week, and still at it.

Oh, and the text for disabling the Google Chrome install-and-make-default was tiny... on a low-DPI screen.

This seems like a big argument for centralized repos like Ubuntu's/Debian's Apt-get or the Apple app store.

I was never aware this was even a problem because all my software came in through one or two trusted sources.

Which is why I install Unchecky on friends' and relatives' machines. It automatically unchecks all those default boxes and avoids not just Chrome but whole heaps of crapware...


That's so funny. If you install Chrome, why would you want a (separate) Flash?

Especially considering Chrome is currently on track to kill Flash by a click-to-start policy for the majority users. Much irony.

Chrome tries to be snuck in via bundleware when users of other browsers like Firefox and Opera go to install or manually upgrade flash.

Growth hacking at large.

Impressive :)

No, it's not impressive. It's deceptive and a dark pattern.

Google is certainly not blameless here. If they had banned partners who's installers violated a reasonable set of terms, e.g. opt in instead of opt out, this would not be an issue. They would have gotten free installs until the bad installer was fixed and verified ;)

Oh don't get me wrong, I don't think this is good.

I'm a developer and growth hacking is a mystery to me, I'm always impressed to see which "moves" are able to increase the user-base.

Google's not at fault; Adobe, Oracle, and every other greedy software vendor are.

Google is knowingly paying for it.

So does Intel and many other "trusted" vendors, we all know about the power of default values.

As I said, people shouldn't be upset at Google, installing Chrome was a significant improvement, or would you rather see IE8 still as the dominant browser?

I blame Adobe, Oracle, etc. because they have the trust of the users and a piece of software considered essential by many people, yet they decide to use the shady practices that cheapskates use.

If it weren't Chrome it would be the dreaded Ask Toolbar or something even worse, so it's not the fault of Google, quite the contrary, installing Chrome as a byproduct is possibly the least negative outcome.

Of course you should be blaming Google. They are a willing participant in deceptive bundleware. And it is specifically included in the download for Adobe Flash for Firefox/Opera Classic (aka, not IE's Flash which is different), so it is setup to steal users away from competitors. At least the last time I checked, and as demonstrated in my screenshot above.

You talk as if you knew the terms of their deal and corroborated that Google asked to target every browser, in my experience these kind of deals are offered as "all-or-nothing", so having Firefox or Opera targeted were a side effect.

EDIT: I checked it right now, and it also targets IE, unlike what you suggest: http://i.imgur.com/XuwHs7G.png

IE (and Edge) has some custom build of Flash installed without needing separate download, which I believe is why the parent commenter excluded it.

My ability to avoid these Google/Oracle/Microsoft mind-fucks diminishes each year. Is it good for society to have our cynicism cranked up so high?

That's a question for our best second tier psychologists and UX researchers (the first tier being too busy developing the aforesaid mind-fucks).

> installing Chrome was a significant improvement

Is it? Across the board they are entitled to make that decision for every user?

it is absolutely as bad as any of the crapware vendors who do this. Google is just as bad as the ask toolbar people.

> Is it?

If you suggest the opposite, you don't do web development or live in the early 2000's.

> Across the board they are entitled to make that decision for every user?

Saying "every" is an exaggeration, since several users would opt-out. Installing a better (yes, better) browser to technically-impaired people who don't even know what a browser is looks like a good trade off to me.

> it is absolutely as bad as any of the crapware vendors who do this. Google is just as bad as the ask toolbar people.

Ask is a dying company doing questionable last ditch efforts. Google is a healthy company deliberately tweaking tech-impaired user's defaults, there is a difference whether you like it or not.

CCleaner: https://i.imgur.com/LNFjqzd.png

The checkbox is pre-selected.

The irony in CCleaner, a tool to help you get crap off your computer, doing auto-install offers..

For those looking for an alternative, try Bleachbit [1] (works great on Linux/Windows, open-source).

[1]: https://www.bleachbit.org/

Adobe is guilty of this. If you download Flash Player from their site, the "Optional offers" are to also install Chrome and Google Toolbar. Both of which are checked by default.

you're thinking google did not pay adobe for this, adobe is doing this just cuz they like it? are you mad

Parent isn't saying Google didn't pay (I'm sure they paid per install) -- just that Adobe is guilty of allowing these sleazy auto-install offers which Google took advantage of.

Adobe can do as they please. This is corporate America....of course there is money involved :)

ccleaner and possibly the other piriform products do this

Correct: all Piriform products do this... unless chrome is already installed/detected.

I prefer to use Firefox. I ended up switching because Netflix refused to work in Linux unless I used Chrome. At that point there was no point having two browsers installed so was path of least resistance just to use chrome for everything.

Agreed. Similar to how Adobe Reader leveraged itself into computers everywhere with their Get Adobe Reader button beside every .pdf link.

I wonder what web designers who dealt with IE thought of that.

I don't remember any such thing and I started using Chrome from day one.

Chrome had the advantage of being pushed by the largest internet company in the world, with one of the most widely used operating systems in the world. Firefox chased after the look of Chrome after being shocked by its sudden rise, and successfully made itself indistinguishable from it.

Compelling things about Firefox that are wasted:

1) It's operated by a non-profit which lacks an ulterior motive.

2) It isn't inherently privacy-destroying.

3) The vast number of extensions.

Instead of depending on these things, they sneakily put in opt-out features that do destroy privacy and generate revenue, hide the ways to opt-out, and act shocked when you question their motives. They constantly break extensions. They unintentionally highlight that they share the thing that bothers people the most about applications in general: they arbitrarily change UI, something about your workflow is as likely as not to break on every update, and you will spend hours trying to get it to work the way it used to work.

There's no reason for them to do this other than some Silicon Valley mindset - it's in the culture, not in the mission. It's as if the Salvation Army kept moving the front door. Worse, it's as if the Salvation Army kept moving the front door because they saw Wal-Mart moving the front door.

Firefox should be saying: "We're the safe as milk, simple, straightforward browser that prioritizes privacy and public service, and is infinitely flexible in order to prioritize our user's individual needs." Instead, they're like: "We're an off-brand Chrome. We'll make a phone and an OS, too, just a little crappier. You have no idea where our money is coming from, but our drive to expand beyond what we once did well should make you suspicious. Also, we're removing that button on the next update."

Thanks for this. I get downvoted everytime I try less succinctly to air my heartbreak for Mozilla. If I want the latest greatest functionality, I'd be happy to add another plug-in. Not so happy to have to edit a ton of cryptic about:config settings to reduce new, beta features that create gaping vulnerabilities that propagate a slew of new security fixes... talk about a vicious cycle.

> multi-process support, a world-class debugger

Regular users don't care for any of that. The reason why they are number one it's because they had the "internet's homepage" advantage and were able to spam everybody into installing it. If you happen to be on Firefox and you haven't installed the last two .0001 releases they start to spam you with the annoying "install chrome" messages on google.com. No wonder everyone and their uncle installed it instead of Firefox if only to get rid of that annoying ad. Reasonable people can disagree on Firefox vs Chrome but let's not pretend that this isn't how Chrome got to be numero uno.

chrome did not have extensions when launched, and firebug was far superior back then. it was a long time before extensions came maybe even 2010. they did not run with what ff did, far from it.

I wouldn't claim firebug was "far superior", unless "far superior" is a synonym of bloated.

Since their inception the dev tools were minimalistic (just the DOM Inspector and a JS Console), currently the Dev Tools of Chrome could get some trimming, ex. some tabs such as Sources and Resources could get merged.

>If they hadn't launched, Firefox would likely be sitting where Chrome is now

I very much doubt that. Even before Chrome launched Firefox stopped climbing in share. Mozilla has had this saying about marketshare not being apart of their mission.

In fact they've been losing share for some time now. According to NetMarketShare their at about 10% where they were once ~27%.

They had the added advantage of being physically located near Mozilla's Mountain View HQ and being able to recruit engineers working on Firefox (granted, many Mozilla engineers are remote, but their recruitment of FF engineers shouldn't be forgotten)

For me, Chrome's performance advantage in youtube playback was what won me over. Chrome handled youtube videos a lot more efficiently than FF. I had an old Core 2 Duo 6600, and it had no problem playing youtube 1080p in Chrome, but completely choked in FF and IE.

Mozilla: We are a non-profit and we protect your privacy; we won’t use your data to make money.

Most users: Nah, man. We’ll go with the search engine and ad network company.

Every time I try to switch to Firefox, it just doesn't work as well, and I switch back. I'd rather Firefox over Chrome for philosophical reasons, but I feel like Firefox just isn't there technologically. It's getting better, but they really let it stagnate back in the day.

Can you elaborate on this? I've tried Chromium once and again, but always fall back to Firefox as it feels better to me. Direct reasons are the address bar functionality and better privacy support out of the box, but also some generic feel is somehow just more familiar to me.

Firefox does have global freezes on particularly heavy pages due to the single process model. It's rare enough not to bother me much though.

As a tip, the Firefox Android version allows add-ons -- uBlock most critically. It's just great.

Multi-process is being tested in Firefox Beta right now, according to https://wiki.mozilla.org/Electrolysis#Schedule.

While some progress is being made, it worries me that it's taking so long to get this functionality into the release versions. I'm not suggesting it should be rushed out, of course. But the Electrolysis efforts date back to 2009, if not earlier. That's a long time to make users wait!

Electrolysis breaks extensions that use low-level APIs designed in the single-process era [1]. This breakage drew the ire of a vocal minority of Firefox users enamored of such extensions, and AFAICT that's the major reason why e10s has taken such a long time to get enabled in release.

[1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Add-ons/Working_with_mul...

While the original Electrolysis work dates back to 2009, the project was put on hold for a couple years in the middle. Development resumed in mid-2013, as the archive of meeting notes shows:


I heard a nice description of Eletrolysis that at least partly explains why it has taken so long: it's the single largest change that has ever been made to Firefox.

Why does this concern you? Mozilla, isn't as cavalier as Google as far as releases are. I remember a time in chrome's beginning it was horribly unstable but patched often. It was the lure of constant quick updates that kept a lot of people eager for the "fixes".

Grandgrandparent: firefox is shit because it doesn't have feature X which causes it to crash if a single tab becomes unresponsive

grandparent: firefox is building it

parent: it tooks them 7 years and it is still not done?

you: why do you care, who cares if mozilla updates slow?

me: ???

Anecdotally, e10s has made me go back to Firefox.

> Firefox does have global freezes

That's precisely the issue, it doesn't matter if Firefox just freezes for 250ms, it's enough to be perceptible and annoy me.

I'm a hardcore Firefox user. Its been my browser of choice since it came out. I'm a true Mozillian to the heart. But it kills me that I can mostly keep one window open with less than 15 tabs on a Macbook that has 16GB of ram and a fast SSD. I currently have 9 tabs/1 window and its using up 3.13GB of memory. None of the tabs have heavy Javascript processes.

Do you have add-ons installed? You should really not get this memory usage on a clean installation.

One way to see what's going on is to open a tab to `about:memory` and take a measure?

I only have uBlock origin. I ran the memory report and saved the results. Would you be interested in it? I could email it to you if thats OK.

Sure! My email is in my profile.

I am becoming ever more convinced that tabbed browsing is a horrible kludge.

The fact that tabbed browsing's inventor's said as much doesn't do much to dissuade me.

Vastly better bookmarking or state management seem needed.

how? I currently have 118 tabs open and using a little under 450MB RAM.

I wish I knew. Luckily someone got in touch and we're working on figuring it out. Its probably an annoying corner case.

I had the same problem, and it was annoying as heck. Try running a multi-process build (Nightly/Aurora/Beta) and see if your experience gets any better.

For some reason the freezes are much worse in multi-process. Certain sites freeze it up consistently; newegg.com for example I just measured 67 seconds the whole window was completely unresponsive. If I disable e10s it runs fine.

For me Firefox UI feels... well, sluggish. Not sure why.

OTOH I happily use Firefox Android.

I use chrome as the default browser on Windows at work and on Mac at home. Though i tried firefox before on both OS, i feel it's nothing compared to chrome. I feel it's very heavy, takes more time to load pages than chrome.

The same and also Chrome Sync is basically the most reliable piece of software I ever saw, specially when connected to the mobile Chrome. FF (or anyone else) doesn't do that.

firefox uses firefox sync (which predates chrome sync) to sync your bookmarks, passwords, addons, etc. it also syncs with firefox for android and firefox for iOS...

What does Chrome sync offer that Firefox sync lacks? FF syncs to the mobile version quite reliably for me (though, it does not sync to mobile Chrome if that is the feature that's lacking).

I've been syncing basically the same profile for 6 years now. FF lacked that at the beginning.

The Android FF app is also unusable since it doesn't support bookmark folders when using sync, which I don't even want to know what would do to my bookmarks across devices.

I've been syncing basically the same profile for 6 years now. FF lacked that at the beginning.

Firefox Sync (formerly "Weave") has actually existed since 2007, it just was delivered as an extension instead of being built-in.

Firefox correctly syncs bookmark folders on both iOS and Android. Always has, as far as I can remember. What they doesn't support is putting your mobile bookmarks into folders on your mobile device; anything you bookmark on mobile lands in a "Mobile Bookmarks" folder. You have to either use tags or organize them using the desktop browser.

Most users haven't made a conscious choice to use Chrome. They install it accidentally by not unticking a checkbox[0] or because they are told it will make the Google work better[1].

[0] https://i.imgur.com/LNFjqzd.png

[1] https://i.imgur.com/B3b5iCZ.png

> Most users

Let's not get out of hand here. That may be true of "some users," or most users that you have come in contact with in your travels.

You think more than 50% of the people using Chrome deliberately sought it out and installed it after making an informed decision?

Not because it was pushed via bundlware or a Google-owned property?

You think more than 50% of the people using Firefox or (especially) Internet Explorer deliberately sought it out and installed it after making an informed decision?

IE definitely not. Firefox? yes. I've never seen any instance of Mozilla trying to trick anyone into installing FF.

I'm not even talking about tricks. IE comes pre-installed on all PCs, obviously, except for Europeans, and that only for a few years. But users generally do not bother performing in-depth research on the software they install, be it a browser some other piece of software. They use what that one technical friend keeps blabbering on about, or what their sysadmin installs on their work PC, or whatever comes up as #1 Google result when they search for 'open PDF file'. They intentionally install Firefox, true, but I am not convinced that decision is informed.

Only Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit. Mozilla Corporation, where all the programmers work, is a for-profit subsidiary, wholely opened by the foundation.

Recently I experienced a high profile site throwing some errors in Firefox, and their support rep suggesting me to use Chrome (of course I didn't). This brought the memories of "best viewed in IE" times...

Chrome is the new IE. Its actually got a lot of bugs that have existed for years and years (https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=180722) and the developers refuse to fix them. Yet, I still find web developers that only run chrome and give blank looks over their mac/linux machines when asked if they tested the code in IE.

But that isn't the primary problem. The primary problem is that its simply too hard for most web developers to install/run a HTML validator in their web browser and fix the errors it finds.

Try it out, run html validator, for a few months while browsing the public web, its almost a surprise when a major web site actually has syntactically correct code. As a "systems" programmer spending about 30% of my time doing web development, simply having my code syntax checked (yah I run php and javascript validators in my deployment package too) before it makes to the the browser increases my productivity significantly. In the year or so after I started running validators/JSlint/etc (1) a lot of things started making sense in HTML/CSS and I went from a crappy web hack, to being the guy in the office helping the full time web guys when they get stuck...

Now if I could just find a good way to ask "experienced" web developers if they run a validator without leading them to the "right" answer I might have a good interview question.

(1) Part of this was I completely customized our "build" environment so that there was a debug vs release package/deploy process too. Things like JS minificantion/php obfuscation only happen during release deployment. JQuery/etc are actually checked into the version control in their unminified version. Plus, it usually only takes one or two calls from a web developer who can't figure out why their code won't deploy before they start checking the build logs.

Unfortunately it's an almost weekly occurrence that a site I'm visiting clearly was only tested in Chrome and something critical doesn't work in Firefox. For those instances I use this extension to open the current page in Chrome https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/open-in-chrom...

Heres a live flashback for you: http://www.fastcgi.com/

Best viewed with Netscape 3.0+ or Internet Explorer 4.0+.

©1996-2002 Chelsea Networks

I'm curious how this graph would look if you compared only Linux users (obviously IE and Edge would drop off). It didn't strike me how important Firefox is to the FOSS world until I started experimenting with Linux distros and found that it was consistently pre-installed on flavors of Ubuntu/Debian/Mint/Fedora/FreeBSD. It becomes even more valuable on distros that refuse to pre-load any proprietary software.

I tryied chrome on Ubuntu. It is so slow it is almost unusable, so I switched to firefox (that I feel less user friendly). That may be the reason why it is preinstalled on linux distos.

I've had a lot of problems like that due to bugs in 3d acceleration and AMD GPU drivers. The latest kernel 4.5 updates practically fixed all Chrome issues. It's fast and doesn't break while rendering any more. I can also open other apps that use 3d acceleration and everything works fine.

It has worked just fine for me on Ubuntu (and other distros built on Ubuntu) as well as on Arch Linux.

I still use Firefox though. Extensions are better.

I have no metrics but Android (Linux) and Chromebooks (Linux) would heavily skew the graph. If you ignore mobile you would probably see something similar.

This isn't entirely surprising to me.

For one, Edge only runs on Windows. Windows is losing market share to Mac OS, iOS and Android (Firefox is on all three as well as Windows).

For two, I personally use Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Chrome Canary on my box, each for their own purpose, but I have yet to find a need for Edge. There is no site that I go to that works best in Edge.

I won't care about Edge until they've open-sourced it and made it cross platform.

I strongly doubt the browser or even its rendering engine would be open sourced, but at least the JS engine is.

Does that same logic apply to Safari?


Though Safari at least has their rendering engine open sourced. But really that just makes me care about Webkit.

About a month ago I saw a news story that said Chrome finally passed IE, based on some other browser usage tracker. Each website that tracks this can have some huge bias, so making a general claim about a browser passing another doesn't really mean much.

More significant is that Firefox' marketshare dropped from 16.1% to 15.6% in three months, and all lost to Chrome, it appears. Yikes!

What is Chrome doing right now to advance so quickly? Or has that been the rate of increase for a long time?

This has to be worrisome to the Chrome team. I take this to mean that Firefox is getting faster and less janky with recent releases. Enough Windows users who are in the know and who occasionally kick the Firefox tires are finally settling on it. I don't view this as a knock on the quality of Microsoft products as much as an overall improvement in Firefox.

I'm on Mac, and I believe Chrome software quality has slipped in the past 12 months. Lots more crashes than I have ever seen and some new CSS curiosities. And that's with me rarely running Chrome - Firefox is my primary browser.

Maybe Mac is a much tougher platform to target and isn't the priority for Goog, or perhaps the transition to Blink has been rough. Whatever the reason, Chrome seems to be getting creaky in its old age.

> This has to be worrisome to the Chrome team.

Looking at the data, not really. Their usage continues to grow, Firefox growth is at the expense of IE/Edge, not Chrome.

Yes, Chrome is the current 800lbs gorilla, and they continue to grow.

I am still operating under a browser wars mentality where Netscape/Mozilla's marketshare completely collapsed and they slowly recovered over time. I'm just impressed that Firefox is in double digits in terms of marketshare given that they don't have a huge marketing engine driving them (Okay, I guess Yahoo is pretty decent as engines go.)

I remember when Chrome shipped with V8 as being a big turning point for the way Firefox was run. Management went from complacent to reactionary. The bug reports regarding JavaScript performance in the Firefox bug tracker at that time were really fascinating to watch - Mozilla was a very disturbed hornets' nest! Then came rapid release and all the arewe*yet.com websites, etc.

Mozilla has been punching above their weight class ever since Chrome came to market, but I perceive that recently Mozilla management has been transitioning from reactionary to offensive. Their moves on Rust and sunsetting XUL and XPCOM are geared towards security AND performance, which are painful and necessary shifts. Largely hitting pause on FirefoxOS and Thunderbird and everything else not Firefox is also the right, if painful, thing to do.

That's why I'm going to stick with my assertion. Every day that Mozilla/Firefox doesn't shrivel up and die has to be a concern to the Chrome team!

Does the Chrome team really care?

Ads in Firefox provide the same revenue as ads in Chrome. What does Google gain by monopolizing?

I think they care more about internet explorer, they don't want it dead specifically, but if it sticks around they want it reliable. Using ie used to be a giant pain and nothing worked right, people would use it to accomplish their goal and be done. Now using any of the three is fairly pleasant and people on any browser could reasonably view many ads.

> What does Google gain by monopolizing?

I would guess control. Owning the dominant web browser allows them to:

* Softly guide front end web tech in a direction of their choosing

* Ensure the supremacy of Google the search engine.

Also if things ever really come to head between ad-blockers and ad-providers owning the dominant platform the former runs on would be very beneficial to the latter.

> I would guess control.

Most big companies want to control their own technology stack and optimize for their own products.

So Google wants people using Android phones and Chromebooks (ideally, fed by Google Fiber), with Google Chrome browsers feeding traffic to Google Search, Google Docs (with all your files in Gdrive), Gmail, YouTube etc.

This provides the maximum surveillance capacity for maximum tracking and thus the most efficient delivery of advertising. At least to the people who don't use ad-blockers and anti-tracking systems ;-)

"The result is a world where our most intimate personal details are collected and stored. I used to say that Google has a more intimate picture of what I'm thinking of than my wife does. But that's not far enough: Google has a more intimate picture than I do. The company knows exactly what I am thinking about, how much I am thinking about it, and when I stop thinking about it: all from my Google searches. And it remembers all of that forever." https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/11/surveillance_...

I hate to defend them, as I choose not to use their products, but all that is stated in plain language in the first two paragraphs of their EULA. Nobody reads them, but if they did, they would know at least Goog is clear, unlike pretty much all the rest of the EULAs in the wild.

As long as Firefox has significant share of the market, then yes, I believe the Chrome team would care.

Firefox being a viable and high quality alternative means that any short-term misstep or long-term neglect by Google could create a big fall for Chrome.

A short-term misstep could be something like a disturbing privacy revelation about the Chrome browser that moves large blocks of normal users over to Firefox. Perhaps also the HTML spec might get updated in ways that Google would resist due to it threatening their business. Firefox and other browsers could, and those new features could gain them more long-term converts.

A long-term neglect scenario is maybe possible too. Google might think they've "won" and can reduce their spend on Chrome, or even put it on KLO mode like Microsoft did with IE. Firefox could creep up and get back to 30% marketshare and then not be as easy to displace as the next war begins. The recent instability of Chrome I have experienced makes me wonder if a long-term neglect of Chrome has already set in for at least parts of the browser.

I think you missed the whole point of my argument. Let's say Firefox does "win". How is this bad for Google?

My assertion is that Google just wants ad money and they need slick web browsers to enable that. Why do they care who owns the browsers?

As long there is not someone out to get them (like microsoft) in control I do not see their motive.

Well, they gain a tremendous amount of insight into your thoughts, plans, mood, etc by Chrome being your input/output mechanism for information. They generate really interesting histograms about your browsing behavior, bundle them up, and send it home to the mothership regularly. This is part of the overall strategy of knowing you, and Chrome is an edge they have over their advertising competitors by collecting this data. Google is a creepy voyeur.

I'll turn your question around a bit, though. Perhaps you step away from using Google.com, the search engine, but continue to use Chrome as your primary browser. This gives Google an intimate view of your activities; they still can build interesting trends locally/state/country/globally based in-part on your surfing behavior. In this way, I view Chrome as being just as important as Google Analytics or google.com search engine to Google's ad biz.

I personally deny Google my search traffic (I default to DDG), browser histograms (I'm on Firefox), and some of my browsing patterns on affiliates (via Privacy Badger, etc.) Obviously, they still know a ton about me by my more promiscuous past and due to my network of less privacy-conscious friends and family. But, they aren't intimately in-touch with me day-to-day and they don't know what I am thinking about up-to-the-minute like they do with their other users.

> Largely hitting pause on FirefoxOS and Thunderbird and everything else not Firefox is also the right, if painful, thing to do.

Unfortunately, that's not what they are doing. They are going full throttle on the nebulous "IoT" on an equal footing with Firefox (VP & all). Mozilla seems to have abandoned it's mission statement: email is still an important part of the internet and it is far from solved. Yet they killed Thunderbird and chased after the ill-fated FirefoxOS. Who knows the next fad Mozilla will be chasing? Yeah, I'm not bitter at all. It's just that Mozilla could be more - they are selling themselves short.

The people count under the IoT VP (the group is actually called "Connected Devices") is about 70 people, ie. 7% of Mozilla Corp. You can not compare that with the 200+ people that were working on Firefox OS, and you can absolutely not compare that with the resources allocated to the core engine (gecko) and Firefox Desktop - I don't have the exact the numbers, but it's obviously most of the org.

About "Mozilla could be more"... sure, but more of what?

> The people count under the IoT VP (the group is actually called "Connected Devices") is about 70 people, ie. 7% of Mozilla Corp

What's the headcount for Thunderbird? My point is Mozilla decided to drop email and chose to pursue Connected Devices as evidenced by their staffing decisions. The 2 decisions might be independent, but it still goes to show that Mozilla doesn't care about email. I know Mozilla is made up of individuals who would rather work on the new hotness, but it does make me wonder how committed they are to their mission statement. If Firefox wasn't raking in boatloads of cash, would it be dropped as quickly?

> About "Mozilla could be more"... sure, but more of what?

How about "more sensitive to their users current needs" or "more focused on their mission statement"?

Can you share some links or blogs or whatever to reinforce what you're saying here? I am not seeing IoT at all on the mozilla website or press releases. Perhaps Firefox itself is integral to the IoT?

I was under the impression that FirefoxOS was on the backburner, not necessarily cancelled. FirefoxOS is a great idea, it's Mozilla's version of Android or WebOS. The fact that they didn't have a runaway success doesn't make mobile a fad for Mozilla - Mozilla has an existential problem if they do not have a strong mobile presence. Mozilla only has a toehold in mobile right now with Firefox iOS/Android, and I expect they will have to circle back to FirefoxOS at some point if they want to increase their marketshare.

But regarding the attempt at building FirefoxOS, I wonder what else would you expected for Mozilla to do given their position? Are you grumpy that they failed at something big? I have it on good authority that Mozilla isn't staffed by super-intelligent brain aliens with infinite time/budgets on their hands. :D

They're trying to divest themselves of Thunderbird entirely, as far as I can tell. Too bad, so sad. The community needs to organize, step up, butch up, and run with it or it will die.

> Can you share some links or blogs or whatever to reinforce what you're saying here?

Yep, have a look at the leadership page[1]. They have an SVP for Firefox, and an SVP for Connected Devices - who is/was responsible for FirefoxOS. There is no SVP for Thunderbird - and this means politically, Thunderbird has no champion/sponsor at executive level, but FirefoxOS and IoT does.

> But regarding the attempt at building FirefoxOS, I wonder what else would you expected for Mozilla to do given their position? Are you grumpy that they failed at something big?

I'm grumpy because they put Thunderbird on ice with no replacement planned. Mozilla's mission[2] is "to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. An Internet that truly puts people first, where individuals can shape their own experience and are empowered, safe and independent". How on earth does putting Thunderbird into cold-storage help that mission?

I know they don't have infinite resources, but I question how they choose to distribute them when Connected Devices get some and Thunderbird gets none.

Edit: added reasons why I'm grumpy

1. https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/leadership/

2. https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/mission/

> How on earth does putting Thunderbird into cold-storage help that mission?

Yeah, it's not entirely unfair to call it a copout when you hear the excuse that desktop-based mail clients have been supplanted by web-based email. There's a safety and privacy factor to having a robust desktop mail client, not to mention the addon potential of Gecko and Thunderbird that let you do more. I have always been dissatisfied with open source related to email both on the server-side and the client - it has ALWAYS felt unloved.

I didn't know about the IoT initiative at Mozilla, thanks for the heads up. That does seem like a farout goal compared to other better ideas like Persona, FirefoxOS, and Thunderbird. Maybe Mozilla has identified providing IoT code and services as a revenue source? That could further their overall mission, I guess. Nah, on second thought, I'm grumpy like you on this until I learn more. ;)

From the article Firefox didn't even have any growth, just slower fall than IE.

Firefox was never janky, or slow. It's just both 1) not pushed on users of the products of the two biggest tech companies we have, and 2) not distinguishable from the other options.

It was for me, on every OS I ever ran it. I say that as a dedicated Firefox user.

Right now, today, Firefox is generally responsive for me but not faster to render or process than Chrome for most workloads. I still see plenty of jank when framerates matter like when scrolling a busy page.

That said, when pages leverage Firefox's special performance features, like ASM.js, I've seen it vastly outperform Chrome, many times faster.

Didn't Firefox use to have almost 30% ? Or was that only in select markets?

Firefox still holds over 30% (#1) market share in some select markets, e.g., in Germany: http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-DE-monthly-201504-201604

It also depended on who was counting. Another company says that Chrome has no where near 50%: https://www.netmarketshare.com/

It did. It dropped off a cliff when Google made Chrome default on Android, though.

BTW I'm using FF on Android too (and it's way better than Chrome, with a true adblocker which is even more important than on the desktop), but since the upgrade to Android 6 applications revert to the stock Android browser without any option to select FF instead, grrrr...


FF on android is a great browser. Much better than anything else - yet has like 1% marketshare. Go figure.

FF on the desktop is an average browser. Chrome and Edge are slightly better.

I use it (mainly for the adblocker), but FF on Android inexplicably fails to run well on certain pages, even after I disabled uBlock Origin and requested the the Desktop versions of the site. humblebundle.com was the last site I recall where I actually had to open it in Chrome Android to get the site to render properly.

You'll have to clear chrome from your defaults and set FF as the default. One of the "features" in 6.0 (I think) is removing the ability to let an application handle an intent "Just Once". Instead, whatever you choose the first time will be the default. It's a very very annoying thing for the (likely very few) of us who like using multiple apps for the same thing

Though I haven't found a way to change the Google search bar default app. There's a menu button "Open in Firefox" after you follow a link, but in Android M you'd get Firefox already by default.

Also can't replace the Google bar with Firefox bar. Well I could change the launcher I suppose, but a bit inconvenient still.

You can make the Google search widget open links in Firefox again here: Settings -> Google -> Search & Now -> Accounts & Privacy -> Open web pages in app [turn this off].

Thanks a lot matthewn, that indeed does the trick!

try turning off JS and just whitelisting sites on mobile - it's in-crea-dible .... content loads, I can navigate through it ... amazing.

I guess you see really lucky :) For me Firefox with or without ad block is the slowest Brower on my phone and my tablet. I really like FF but the reality for me is that it is getting worse and worse . It is noticeable even on my desktop with windows 10 where Bing chrome and edge feel way smoother.

This data is only on Desktop. So Chrome on Android is really irrelevant here.

Firefox is really bad at rendering Chinese fonts. It chooses different font than other browsers, sometimes using a Japanese font to render Chinese text, and the pixelization is just palpable. I know most people here couldn't care less, but the poor internalization may be one of the reasons for a global disadvantage compared to Chrome. Internationalization is really something open source products have been lacking traditionally, as it is neither fun nor sexy.

Sounds like there aren't enough Chinese open source contributors. As the saying goes, works for me - patches welcome, they'd be in a better position to do so anyway.

Yes, that is true. But at the same time, they should not lament about the global dominance of other browsers that do not have this attitude.

I prefer Firefox to Chrome, Edge is still unstable but I do like some of the direction they are going in. The lack of extensions I think killed it out of the gate. It's also odd to me that Edge doesn't update through the Windows Store, and instead is updated through Windows Update...doesn't that defeat the purpose of it being a UWA?

I actually find what Opera is doing a lot nicer than any other others are the moment though, find myself using it more and more.

> The lack of extensions I think killed it out of the gate.

True, but the extensions are coming.

> I actually find what Opera is doing a lot nicer than any other others are the moment though, find myself using it more and more.

I use Firefox and Opera, mainly, but I'm increasingly using Vivaldi. It's Chromium based and from the guy who originally founded Opera, but didn't like the way it was going.

It's extremely configurable. If you have any nostalgic feelings for Opera 12, it's worth a go....

As some had pointed out on Installing Chrome by other software etc, but normally these are real bad software. Most users who had no idea what Chrome was at the time was presently surprised by how fast Chrome was, and they stick with it.

In ther early 2010s I forced switch the whole company about 200s to Firefox, but few years down the road everyone quietly installed Chrome and was using it. It was fast, and they dont care about anything else. Forcing them back on Firefox were met with opposition, saying using somthing inferior was insane.

Complaining to Mozilla has been served with deaf ears. It was mostly an management issues from top to bottom, they were so full of themsevles, so righoutous, that they fail to relaize the marketing is changing. By the time they realize they have shrink below 20% market share already and were continuing downwads.

Somewhere along the line, Mozilla changed their tone, it wasn't about market shares. It is about Open Web, and always has been. How do you force the Web to be Open if had no influence on it what so ever? They wasted resources on Firefox OS, which is a dismal failure. They think JS is king, and evrything, including the OS should be someday written in JS.

Firefox is dying, and i am glad. Becasue as a users from Netscape era everytime Mozilla / FIrebird / Firefox reborn things has become better.

Firefox is very noble. But the world has never been about one way or the other.

Luckiy in the past year something happen within Mozilla. I have no idea what it is because i am not following their post anymore. ( e10s is STILL not shipped ) But things are getting better. User experience matters, less Janks, memory usage kept low and most importanly Chrome has been getting worst with every release. ( Strange indeed ) This mean more people are swithing back to Firefox.

And for users with specific workflow and 100s of Tab, Firefox is still the only option on the market.

I always wonder how big influence on these statistics have all kind of adblockers. Like a lot of you said, there are a LOT of "forced" installs of Chrome on computers of not-so-power users. Most of them don't even know what the browser is so I bet they don't have any adblocker (unless someone installed it for them). On the side, we have power users that have adblockers and (AFAIK) they are not visible for scripts from StatCounter and similar companies. So results of browsers like Firefox, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave may be understated, am I right?

The numbers just show Firefox losing market share more slowly than IE/Edge, not that Firefox is gaining. Chrome is still climbing. I wonder when Chrome's market share will peak and level out.

It must be really hard for the Microsoft CEO. He's doing what he can to fix the problems that Steve Ballmer left, but it's extremely hard for him.

The decision to put Edge under the Windows org and make it Windows-only was a decision made under Ballmer. I'm guessing if Satya had to do it today, he'd try to make Edge cross-platform.

Chrome's share is a Firefox's reward for making their browser indistinguishable from Chrome in every way except for the fact that their entire UI freezes every time it hits some bad javascript. Great choice, to go from being a great Firefox to a crappy Chrome clone.

What I like about Firefox and Chrome is that they democratized Linux as a desktop OS. Till IE was mainstream all sites assumed you are Windows box. Now it's rare that there is site I can't use except few Silverlight based dinosaurs.

What an awful way to present that data...

If Servo ever lands in Firefox I wonder what sort of impact that'd have on market share.

I don't think Servo will "land in Firefox" (it's possible, but it's a lot of extra work). However, components written in Rust (taken from Servo or written in scratch) may indeed land in Firefox -- there are a couple in Firefox today! (Except on Windows).


(There are a bunch of alternative paths forward other than sharing components with Gecko that don't involve dropping it into Firefox)

Didn't that happen, like, 10 years ago?

Firefox also sends enormous amounts of metadata about your browsing to the cloud and it's very difficult for non-savvy users to turn this off. They call it telemetry and 'safe browsing', but users overlook that every URL is checked against a database of URLs already in Google's 'safe browsing' repository. Firefox is not actually private and their business model can't allow for privacy, because they're in bed with Google.

Use something like Palemoon and configure about:config a bit more and you should be fine. But be very skeptical of Mozilla claiming FF is some privacy enhancing tool. Their plugins ecosystem is also a security nightmare...

Firefox, at least modern versions of it, does not tell Google which sites you're visiting. It pulls a list from Google and checks against it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Safe_Browsing

And Firefox enables you to turn this off in settings.

Firefox's telemetry can also be turned off. In fact, when you install Firefox, it asks you if you wish to enable it.

And regarding the plugins ecosystem, Firefox is moving away from the old XUL/XPCOM extension model towards WebExtensions, which should be better here.

Mozilla has very clear, detailed privacy policies for all data it collects:


You can find more developer-focused information on Safe Browsing and Telemetry:

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Safe_Browsing https://wiki.mozilla.org/Telemetry

My understanding of the Safe Browsing feature based on browsing the above is that a list of blacklisted URLs is downloaded to the client, this list is known phishing sites.

> Use something like Palemoon and configure about:config a bit more and you should be fine. But be very skeptical of Mozilla claiming FF is some privacy enhancing tool.

Keeping Firefox secure and making the right tradeoffs for collecting data to make the product better (like telemetry and crash reports) while avoiding using the data for nefarious purposes is a hard job, and I think Mozilla does it very well (disclaimer: I work there, and I see the way people treat and talk about users and their data).

> Their plugins ecosystem is also a security nightmare...

Assuming you mean extensions (aka Add-ons) - it is true that there isn't really a security model around classic Firefox extensions, which is one reason they are so powerful. The current form of Firefox extension is essentially the same as in the 1.0 days, and was intended to keep the browser slim and allow for new non-core features.

Web Extensions are intended as the replacement, they are similar to (and largely compatible with) the current Chrome extension system: https://wiki.mozilla.org/WebExtensions

Firefox already does and will continue to support more APIs than Chrome does, to enable more powerful extensions such as Tree Style Tabs.

what users overlook that every URL is checked against a database of URLs already in Google's 'safe browsing' repository

...the database of which is downloaded ahead of time and hence not transmitted to Google.

Read this: https://feeding.cloud.geek.nz/posts/how-safe-browsing-works-...

because they're in bed with Google.

It's actually Yahoo, not Google, that funds Firefox.

If a user is too non-savvy to click a couple of check boxes in Options > Security to turn off Safe Browsing, they probably need that protection. Users this non-savvy are probably already being tracked left, right, and center and an easy target for malware served by advertising networks, and Safe Browsing is the least of their worries.

It's similarly easy to turn Health Report and Telemetry off from Options > Advanced > Data Choices.

Ignore the user you are responding to. Their expectations of Firefox are unrealistic and misinformed.

Is the claim that Firefox/Mozilla is in bed with Google sourced by the use of Google for data about safe browsing? Is there any other reason to think this now that they no longer receive revenue from Google?

Actually Mozilla ditched Google as their search revenue partner and now is partnered with select search engines depending on the market. Yahoo for the US, Yandex for Russia and Baidu for China, for example. Mozilla to my knowledge no longer relies on Google for any revenue.

See how do we generate revenue question: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/annualreport/2014/f...

Yes, this is what I was referring to when I said "they no longer receive revenue from Google." He seemed to be basing the entire claim of the two companies being in bed together on Mozilla's use of Google's safe browsing data. I was asking if there was anything else now that the monetary agreement has ceased.

The opposite was the case. Mozilla was ditched by Google. It is logically that they say it the other way around, as it does sound much better, and gives the illusion that Mozilla is in control about their fate.

They got ditched after Google enforced minimalism (Australis) on Firefox with giving Mozilla "good design advice's" that of course backfired. And as soon as Mozilla's share dropped enough, Google gave them the boot.

There was a talk[0] which included some info about this recently at !!con[1]. The safe browsing dataset is compressed and stored as a bloom filter so that the check for a safe site can be performed locally.

0: http://bangbangcon.com/speakers.html#adam-marcus

1: https://youtu.be/C3ox1zQcV_I?t=16259 (timestamp is right at the beginning of the bloom filter details)

It's Chrome that uses a Bloom Filter.

Firefox uses a compressed Prefix set, which has no false positives (unlike the Bloom filter).

if you really want to talk about lack of privacy you should go after Chrome...

seriously, this is the very reason I use FF over Chrome.

Safe browsing doesn't work like that; the list is stored locally. When something does need to be fetched, Firefox obfuscates what's being fetched.

Most of telemetry is on Nightly only, IIRC. The bits that are on regular Firefox are thoroughly vetted to ensure that they don't impinge on privacy.

Figured I'd post this here since after reading your comment I made an effort to simply make my existing Firefox more private:

Install the "Privacy Settings" Firefox extension. This makes it easy to toggle the about:config options and has handy presets so you don't have to spend an hour reading articles to understand what to enable/disable.

I also tried "Policy Control" extension which is supposed to help prevent fingerprinting, but it didn't seem to work with EFF's panopticlick tool.

For me, it's all about the details, and I just can't come back to Firefox for silly reasons, even if I appreciate their stance on privacy.

The tabs shape is repulsing me, I know that's a strong feeling and I can't explain it. The disymetrical back and forward buttons bothers me as well. I can't find how to whitelist domains accepting cookies in Firefox. Switching profiles is much easier with chrome. I'm used to chrome developper tools.

I don't like neither safari neither MS edge.

If it wasn't for the missing onenote extension, maybe I'd be using opera. Again, all about the details.

Isn't this something that could be fixed with an extension?

A quick google (heh) brought me to the FXChrome add-on [0]. 100k+ users.

[0]: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/fxchrome/

The Dev Edition has a different tab shape. You can deny cookies by default and then add exceptions in the cookie manager.

I use this dark theme with rectangular tabs: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ft-deepdark/

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