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Why I’m done with Chrome (cryptographyengineering.com)
2357 points by user982 79 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 837 comments



Google started going down the path I would describe as an "evil" path years ago. I'm glad people are starting to notice. I used to be a huge Google advocate, up until about 2008. So many things have changed since then.

Adsense was the first breach in trust for me, when they banned my account for no reason and ruined any chance of every monetizing my content...since they are basically a monopoly in that area. Getting off their blacklist, is literally impossible.

Then came Chrome and Android, which grew to collect so much information on people that it was genuinely baffling.

Then my agency work and work with previous Google employees telling me about Google sales tactics to SMBs in Adwords. Intentionally not focusing on ROI because they knew the companies had such high burn out rates. They would, and continue, to milk them for whatever they are worth. They know the company is statistically going to go out of business in a year, so just take them for whatever they are worth! Luckily agencies act as a middle man, if not for that, the abuse would be so much more widespread. But if you deal directly with Google ad sales (and this is something I never knew existed tbh) they will intentionally screw you if you are under a certain spend.

Now they have growing and creeping monopolies in advertising, and their only real competitors are Amazon and Facebook... which to me are both on or near the level of sleaze that Google has crept to.

Now things are accelerating, with Chrome's increasing intrusion, Android's increasing intrusion, deals with Chinese governments to stifle freedom of expression and speech. Google AMP being a closed system that's only goal is to push Google into controlling more of the web.

Add to that, let me preface that I am not a Trump voter and never will be and probably lean more towards the politics of Google leadership, but the video that leaked out (it sucks it leaked to nutty Brietbart and not a real new organization, maybe it would have been taken a lot more seriously) of the Google town hall also baffled me. I think Facebook might even take their moral obligation of objectivity more seriously than Google...and that's a serious problem. Algorithms can determine electoral outcomes, and Google is one of the top tech lobbyists in Washington. Doesn't that bother anyone?

This is no longer a company I can advocate anyone using. Unfortunately because of their monopoly status in advertising I have to deal with them.


I'll add my very recent negative experience with Google. I have a couple of apps on the Google Play that use Firebase analytics and crash reporting. This weekend both apps were removed by Google without any warnings. The issue was that apps were in "Violation of Usage of Android Advertising ID" because by default Firebase collects Advertising ID. I don't really need Advertising ID in my app or my analytics and there is a way to opt out [1], but I think the way Google handled this is just wrong. Collecting information that most people probably don't care about and then removing apps without notice for basically their own default configuration.

[1] https://firebase.google.com/support/guides/disable-analytics


We (software agency) had the same problem, a simple app with just basic Google libraries was violating their own privacy rules.


Any examples of those rules and how they were violated?

Im just curious


Some more details - https://www.reddit.com/r/androiddev/comments/9gqr6y/anybody_.... The emails from Google Play are never very specific so you can only guess what's wrong :-).


You should appeal if what you're saying is indeed true. You're supposed to use advertising ID for any ad-related tracking - if you use something more sensitive instead (like IMEI) then you'll get taken down.


GDPR issue?


> Collecting information that most people probably don't care about

I care about that information and I’m glad they removed your apps, maybe now you’ll start taking privacy more seriously.


I think you misunderstood my comment. I don't want to collect that information. All I need is anonymous crash stacks and possibly some general statistics (number of users on various app versions and Android versions). Google was collecting extra information without me even being aware of it, until they removed my apps for the store. I want to collect as minimum information as possible for me to effectively maintain the apps. I have no use for personal information or any identifiers. But Google probably wants it and that's why Firebase collects it by default.


> Google was collecting extra information without me even being aware of it

I think the point is that you should be aware of it. It is your application after all. Yes, what Google does is weird, but the app developer needs to be more careful in general what 3rd party code they load.

On the other hand, I understand you. Probably you do your due diligence when you load some random dependency but you (like everyone else) used to expect better from Google. Not anymore I guess.


I mean, if you use a google library that uses a specific google feature, it’s kind of fair to assume that it’s not a violation of their privacy policy.


You don't get to act clueless if one of the libraries that you added to your application collects data without asking the user. I already said what Google does is weird.


The issue is that Google are shipping something with a default configuration that violates their own policy, then blaming the user of it


Search for "gun rights" in Google, and the Wikipedia feature box on the top-right of the results page is the Gun Control article.

I've noticed the straight search results making a marked decline in quality over the past few months. If one of the keywords within your search is anything remotely profitable, it will drown out all other terms. Then the search results ended after ~4 pages.

Definitely changed from the Google I "grew up on."


> Search for "gun rights" in Google, and the Wikipedia feature box on the top-right of the results page is the Gun Control article.

That could have a very simple explanation: There is no Wikipedia page for "Gun Rights". There is however a Wikipedia page for "Right to Keep and Bear Arms" which is exactly what appears in the Wikipedia box on the right or as the first Wikipedia article when you search for "right to bear arms", "right to guns" and "arms rights".


> That could have a very simple explanation: There is no Wikipedia page for "Gun Rights".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_rights is a valid link, and seems like the obvious wikipedia page to deem relevant for that phrase. And Bing gets it right.

I have no reason to think it's some dark conspiracy, but it's certainly a pretty silly failure of their vaunted algorithms. Are there a lot of searches for common phrases where a Wikipedia page exists and Google returns a different Wikipedia page as the top item?

It's a bit like searching for "USA" and getting a result for "Canada"; just because the canonical wikipedia URL is "United_states" doesn't mean that a page about a different country is more relevant. :)


It’s not a conspiracy when emails leaked of employees discussing how they could put their thumb on the scales of sensitive political topics


It is a conspiracy, if there’s proof of a conspiracy.

Put a finger on the scales, show us how it’s done.

Modeling this behavior, without tilting the scales completely is perhaps impossible.

I’m interested in seeing how such code could work, while scaling and not creating artifacts. I can’t think of anyway for such code to be deployed without breaking search and letting attackers gain even more


> it's certainly a pretty silly failure of their vaunted algorithms.

I totally agree, it could be as simple as the algorithm finding more usages of 'gun' and 'rights' on the Gun Control page than on the Right to Bear Arms page and basing its decision solely off that. However it could be as complex as skewed data in a deep learning model that takes in every users search term and subsequent selected result. No one really knows exactly how its decided except Google's own engineers.

The fact that most other, very similar search terms provide the expected results suggests to me that it is not an intentional misdirection, otherwise the other search terms about guns would also show the Gun Control page.



There is a "Gun Rights" page on Wikipedia (at least that's the slug,) Bing pulls it to the top of the results for that same query (along with advocacy groups.) While Google puts "Gun Control" at the top right. So, I see OP's point. I do have a hard time believing that is purely algorithmic.


Or, it's a well-trained algo. Either way.


"Well" "trained", indeed.


I think you, and others, seem to ignore that deep learning bots produce what the data contains. The data maybe be skewed in one direction or another, as in, it may be the case that most content is for gun control and most users seek gun control content.

The philosophical question is if a search engine return what people want or should return return what is most biased for truth and informative.


> I think you, and others, seem to ignore that deep learning bots produce what the data [and the rules it uses] contains.

The bot uses data, sure, but like the humans it also--

* Chooses what data it uses based on... * The rules that make up its processing which in turn are... * Influenced by the peculiarities of its creator(s).

Those last two can't be emphasized enough. A subject matter expert, for example, will choose data differently from a layman, who will choose data differently from someone completely ignorant on the subject. Someone driven to keep certain data suppressed will choose data differently from someone driven to research the matter, who in turn will choose data differently than someone wholly disinterested in the topic. Unless a person builds a bot with a 'willingness' to question both its data and its own programming (and perhaps even its creator) to present the best linkage the web has to offer, all bots will be mere dummy proxies of the creator programming it.


As of you could decide either... even optimsing in good faith for either outcome could have serious drawbacks as we may be seeing here.


You are wrong: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_keep_and_bear_arms

This is coming right up when you look for "gun rights" on DuckDuckGo.


That's the top Wikipedia link in the search results when searching for "gun rights"

I don't see the issue.


He's not saying it's an issue that "right to keep and bear arms" is the top result on Bing/DuckDuckGo...it's that on Google it's not, it's "Gun Control" which is not the top result on Wikipedia nor is it necessarily a related term. The top organic result on Google is a tag page from NPR. How is that even possible for such a popular topic? That's something you'd expect from a rare term.


I know what he said, and I'm saying that the top Google result for Wikipedia was that entry in the organic results. As for everything else you said, it's meaningless.


But the top Wikipedia article (if you use Wiki's own search tool for that term) is not what Google showed...so I don't think you do.


DuckDuckGo gives you this https://www.nationalgunrights.org/ as the first result with this being the first wikipedia resulthttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_keep_and_bear_arms along with news articles about gun rights.


I'm not sure I could define it as intentional and nefarious but I definitely find Google search results to be markedly worse over the last few years. It used to be really competent at finding specialist/technical results but lately it's gotten more generic and less useful. It's possible that's actually the nature of content creation these days, with everyone hyper optimising to please the Google search algorithm. But it's resulting in a less useful web for me. Certainly a less interesting one.

Same thing with Youtube, the algorithms seem to optimize for the lowest common denominator and all the interesting niche stuff is lost in thr noise.

Some of the solution is to do a better job of actively searching for good content instead of waiting for the algorithms to recommend it. But that itself has gotten harder too. Finding good content curators is hard.


Agreed - Particularly infuriating, is Google’s habit of returning search results with many missing terms, implying that they know whats best for me- ignoring a large part of my precisly crafted search input. I know there is Verbatim option, but this is another slow step and does not work in combination with valuable time filter. Wish there was an option to always use Verbatim and more default time filters such as 3 months, 6 months.


Absolutely. That is one of my biggest pet peeves. There must be a threshold where it would rather give you well ranked but worse matching results over low-ranked but well matching results. That threshold seems to be too low hence the generic garbage results for really specific terms.


I believe a major reason for the widely observed decline in Google's SERP quality is that SEOs got too good at gaming the system. The Panda and Penguin updates a few years ago kicked off a trend of prioritizing content from highly authoritative domains (e.g. big brands) even when that content is less relevant to your search query.

Google has been doubling down on this direction progressively--their justification being that people game the long tail by producing a lot of low quality, highly niched content.

There may be no real solution to this within the context of Google's PageRank-inspired algorithm and this may be an opportunity for disruption.


I can definitely see that being part of the issue. Having been a dev in the boiler room for a few heavy SEO reliant domains, it was remarkable the kind of low quality articles people would spin and Google would eat up, especially before Penguin and Panda. The blame can't all be put on Google, the SEO industry is a dirty place that consistently pushed out small producers of genuine content in order to make a buck.


It has become harder & harder to find videos on YouTube you know exist. Feels like the algorithm i geared to find new content rather to find what I'm looking for.


Interesting. I have the opposite experience. Searching to try and find _new_ content just presents me with videos/playlists I usually have already clicked/watched.


That is what my YouTube home screen looks like, old already viewed content, however not the old vidoes that I need again.


I get this too.

It's bizarre to see "video you watched 4 times 5 years ago" on your homepage. Every day.


Basically all the results these days are just from news articles on other sites.


Regarding the "Gun Rights" fact box, the different results Bing and Google use here looks to be the results of an edit war[1] over how the page should redirect.

Judging by the text in the box, Google appears to be using a snapshot possibly around June 2018[2]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gun_rights&action...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gun_control&oldid...


I don't see a redirect to "Gun Control" in the page history. It is currently a redirect to "Right to Keep and Bear Arms", yes; but before that, it was a disambiguation page that had a brief explanation of various meanings, and links to several other, more detailed pages. So if Google captured that, shouldn't it be linking to that disambiguation page?

Even then, one could imagine that the Google could somehow detect that it is not a particularly informative page, and pick the most likely disambiguation link out of it. Logically speaking, that would be first link in the list. But before the page was changed to be a pure redirect, it had the following blurb at the very beginning:

   The term "'''Gun rights'''" may refer to:

   * The legal concept of the [[right to keep and bear arms]]

   * [[Gun control]], the set of laws or policies that regulate the
     manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification, or use
     of firearms by civilians.

   ...
So, why would the algorithm pick the second link, specifically? And why hasn't it re-indexed the page since?

FWIW, I don't think this is the case of deliberate changing of search results. But I suspect that their algorithm is inadvertently picking up bias from somewhere else, and applying it here.


Is there a good site out there to analyze "edit war" pages of wikipedia?

I've always been curious of locked topics to see some type of analytics breakdown. The most hotly edited items are generally the things I'd most like to see surfaced.


Search for "american inventors" if you want to have some laughs.


If you search for "United States inventors" you get the list you were probably expecting.

Google seems to like to include results appropriate for common phrases if you include only part of the phrases. My guess is that the "american" in "american inventors" brings in results for "african american inventors" too.


Apparently this has been going on at least since 2016: http://www.unz.com/isteve/great-moments-in-google-american-i...


wtf whyy

EDIT: To clarify, why is that list so bad?


Imagine you were searching for 'american basketball player' and the selected individuals were predominately white. And on top of this you had guys like let's say Mike Dunleavy Jr. placed ahead of Michael Jordan for no apparent reason. Do you think this would be appropriate?


It's not organic; Google has editorialised it in a racist way.


Also, google shows the "Right to keep and bear arms" wikipedia article on the second place, however it adds "Jump to Gun violence and the politics of the right to bear arms" link.

When asked "gun rights", google added the link to the only section of the article discussing gun violence. They obviously manipulate their search results pushing political BS :-(


Yes, I have noticed that google search result are much worse the past three months, even for non political stuff. Top ten results are usually from big media corporations.


I was searching for an exact phrase in quotes the other day, which happened to be close - but not the same - as a popularly monetisable phrase.

The entire results were full of the other phrase and not the one I searched for.

I kinda hate AI.

(Because it's dumb. Do what I told you, not what you think I want)


I thought I'd try it..

https://imgur.com/a/7GHeVZM

槍枝管制 "gun rights"的圖片搜尋結果 槍支管制是指任何對定義、限制或限制擁有,生產或改裝,進口,運輸,銷售和/或使用槍械的法律,政策,實踐或提案。 槍支管制的法律和政策在世界各地有很大的差異。有些國家,如英國和中華民國,擁有非常嚴格的槍支限制政策,而其他國家,如美國,有相對溫和的限制。槍支管制的支持者普遍認為,普遍民眾擁有槍支會導致危險性。 維基百科

/

Gun control Search results for "gun rights" Gun control refers to any law, policy, practice or proposal that defines, restricts or limits the possession, production or modification, import, transportation, sale and/or use of firearms. The laws and policies governing gun control vary widely around the world. Some countries, such as the United Kingdom and the Republic of China, have very strict gun restrictions, while others, such as the United States, have relatively modest restrictions. Proponents of gun control generally believe that the widespread possession of guns can be dangerous. Wikipedia


Aren't these two statements a bit contradictory? e.g., the suggestion that they've editorialised "gun rights" to something (control) that would lead to less profitable results, but the statement that they doctor their setup to favour commercial enterprise?


This will mostly depend on whether your geoip returns a blue swamp or a red swamp.


I wonder if you're in your own filter bubble.

As in, if some full blown NRA guy searched gun rights, what would he get?


Logged out of any Google account from a work IP address (not used for much personal searching) and I get the same result.

Info cards are not influenced by your account's history as far as I know. They are purely programmed by a combination of bots and hand tweaked responses. The hand tweaked responses come from a combination of user complaints/requests and internal pushes by engineers.


Gun control = gun rights. Just a different, and more popular and common, way of looking at it.


Perhaps in Europe, but not in the US. If someone is searching "gun rights" in the US, it is very unlikely they are wanting to know about gun control.


Might just be more web pages about profitable products?


Also the people selling things via their webpages are very much more likely to be investing effort in SEO than "non commercial" web pages...

(And, as much as Matt Cutts might deny it, it seems inconceivable that Google do not use revenue generated by advertising as a search signal...)


That's part of the issue, but Google also automatically extends your search terms with words that it believes are relevant to your search. I will also give certain words a higher relevance based on what ti believes you are really searching for. Unfortunately this often leads to search result pages full of entirely irrelevant results, while pages containing the exact words in your search term are few and far between, if they are shown at all.

This is my biggest gripe with Google's search engine. It used to be that you could specify exactly what you want to get and it would find it for you. Now it thinks it knows what I want better than I do, so it refuses to show me things I know exist and that every other search engine will find with very simple, straight-forward search terms.


Search for "gun rights" in Google, and the Wikipedia feature box on the top-right of the results page is the Gun Control article.

It is known that Google employees have the capability to skew search results politically, just not whether they do it in specific circumstances (of course it would be robustly denied)

https://uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUKKCN1M1041

(For those that say “good” remember that tomorrow this could be used against you. I am certain it was used against Bernie for example)


> I am certain it was used against Bernie for example

That would be important if it were true. Can you back it up?


Just a suspicion based on Eric Schmidt being so involved with Hillary’s campaign. But the link I posted shows that there are no technical barriers to doing it, and that doing it is openly discussed within Google


You are certain? Or, are you suspicious? Those are pretty different statements. And it seems you lack evidence to back either one.


> Luckily agencies act as a middle man, if not for that, the abuse would be so much more widespread

I ran such an agency. As someone who is proficient in PPC, the AdSense sales team was inexcusably poor at their jobs. They'd offer to setup campaigns for free with thousands of barely relevant keywords and would push upping the budget past what was reasonable.

Their tactics were so bad for my clients that I stopped accepting their "free" help and did the campaigns in house. I hate to think how many agencies simply went along with their advice to the detriment of their clients.


If what I've been told by people that used to work on those very Google Adwords teams, it's not that they are "bad" at their job, it's that they are meant to meet a certain quota of spend and nothing like ROI etc matters. What's the solution to campaign doing badly? Up the budget! They know it's not optimal, their managers know it's not optimal, but the goal is for Google's bottom line. This stops once you reach a certain spend tier and they know the burn out rates for those companies improve and they want the longer term revenues. (This is also good for larger agencies, since they will also get the good treatment from being a premier partner.) The lower tier spends are basically "boiler rooms" peddling fake penny stocks. People trust them because "It's Google!" but that is so so far from the truth. Sometimes it's not even Google, it's a company they've outsourced to, and sometimes they even work in the same building as Google.


Yes, I figured as much. I'm sure the reps were "just doing their jobs", but the result was poor service/advice as you mention.


Doing there jobs basically entails increasing your spend: whether by broadening your keyword phrases, adding irrelevant keywords, expanding your geo-location region, or increasing your bids.

Worse is when you get billed for clicks for inactive campaigns, even ones that were never enabled.


You seem to mean AdWords (now Google Ads). AdSense is for publishers.


Yes, good catch!


Yes, the intention behind Chrome was very obvious pretty much from the start: it has to benefit Google by giving its web services an advantage over competition. I wrote about that seven years ago: https://adblockplus.org/blog/google-chrome-and-pre-installed...


I used to think that google today is like microsoft back in the late 90s and early 00s but your comment makes me think it might be even worse.


Google already bullies hardware vendors that don't package Google services with Android devices...which is what Microsoft did in the 90s. They also bundle all their services...which is essentially the very thing that Microsoft ended up getting slapped for. Google gets a way with a lot. Apple does too, but Apple's reach is limited to when you leave their hardware, Google's is always with you. You can't escape unless you are just a very very savvy user, and even then they can still get your data at the most basic level using GCS.

I really really wish Microsoft or someone outside of the duopoly, were more powerful in the mobile and search space so people had a choice. I do have an Android phone, but only because Apple is so locked down that I essentially have to use their services, and I don't use Google services outside of their store...but I know just by having an Android phone Google is tracking me.

As for advertisers, I know for a fact that some SMBs/agencies don't serve on Bing, not because the traffic isn't there...but because it's hard to manage so many bids and pacing in so many different platforms. Google makes it so simple, even if the ROI is slightly lower by not using Bing, etc. It's maddening, it is certainly a very monopolistic company.


>Apple is so locked down that I essentially have to use their services

I want to touch on this because in my experience this is less true than it seems on the surface.

The contacts app and calendar app support carddav/caldav respectively- photos use the standard camera interface (mpd?) the things that suck are that you need to use Xcode to develop for it, and you need iTunes to put music on the default music player app (however using plex w/ sync has been my cross platform solution for a while- and honestly I don’t know many people who aren’t using Spotify)

Am I missing something?


You're not, really.

On the one hand I understand the complaints about Apple's "walled garden," but I've pretty effortlessly connected to both Google Calendar and Exchange services. (And I don't use Apple's own Calendar app anyway, although I configure the calendars through the iOS system preferences so they integrate with all the Apple stuff relatively gracefully.) I do file syncing with Dropbox, which integrates with Apple's Files app pretty nicely as of iOS 11. I keep passwords in 1Password, which always integrated fairly well with iOS and does even better as of iOS 12. I get a lot of ebooks in DRM-free ePub format from various vendors and can just open them directly in iBooks. (I suppose using iTunes is still a problem, although iTunes Match and, now, Apple Music actually made syncing pretty painless for me. After the initial pain of moving from iTunes Match, which worked great, to Apple Music, which did...not...work great for its first year. But I digress.)

More apropos to the linked post, I trust Apple with my data rather more than most companies I deal with. They not only don't treat it as a profit center, they seem to prefer to minimize the amount of personally-identifiable and unencrypted information they deal with. I do still use some Google services, but I prefer to use Apple's equivalents when possible -- and I've been using Safari instead of Chrome for years. A lot of people think I'm nuts for that, but occasionally I feel a bit vindicated...


My biggest complaint is that I have to use Siri and can't change it to another AI assistant. I can't use a different launcher, etc. I will openly admit to being a Microsofty (just a user, not an employee) and want to use Microsoft based services like Cortana since all of my information is synced that way. Yes I can use Cortana on iOS, but Siri is always there as the default. With Android I can turn the Google assistant off entirely and make Cortana the default.

I'm fairly annoyed on Android that I can't uninstall some stock Google apps.


You don't have to use Google services with Android either.

For years I've used an Android phone with no Google account attached - I simply skipped the OOB assistant and then created an account pointing on my company's Exchange, where all my mail/calendaring/contacts were. For maps, I used Sygic, which you can purchase outside Play Store.

Yes, I did lose Google Play, Youtube, Hangouts, but exactly that was the intent - not using Google services. Today, it would be even easier, with the existence F-Droid providing third-party apps.


F-Droid prompts me every day about app updates, even when there are none (it seems) and even when I've said not to give me notifications like that.

Had to uninstall DNS66 and F-Droid because of it.


I have good hopes that pwa+wasm will change that. What killed windows mobile is the lack of apps. In a world where you have performant apps, that are completely os independant, and do not even need to be distributed through a gated store, it makes it a lot easier for a challenger to break through.


Not a chance IMO. One major reason why native apps work is platform integration - both from an HCI perspective as well as a technology one. PWA and WASM will never be able to achieve these things.


I am sure certain apps need that integration but what is the percentage of apps that matter in your opinion?


Google bullies hardware vendors, Apple is its own hardware vendor. That is the essential difference. If MS had done their thing only with hardware they made and sold, instead of twisting the arms of third parties they’d have been OK. There is a qualitative difference between dictating the terms of something you alone build and sell, and using your market dominance to dictate terms to everyone else.


I don't disagree. I really would love for Microsoft to make the "Microsoft Store" accept Android apps and launch a Surface Phone line that only they control...and if it takes off maybe OEMs could join in, if not, fine. I feel like they are the only company that can successfully do it...but even then Google services are so coupled with Android games/apps...and it doesn't solve the "walled garden" problem. Microsoft would still have a walled garden, which I'm generally against. I don't know the solution, but I certainly do not like the current duopoly or the problem of the walled garden. Maybe there could be two stores, one from the Microsoft repo and one that is a "Sideload store" that is just listings but the apps are hosted elsewhere to remove any legal implications for Microsoft or whoever.


i too would love to see ms take 'phone' seriously, and do a surface phone line similar to iphone. own the hardware stack top to bottom. we need a third major force to offset apple/google, and MS is one of the few that could fill that gap.

they did finally start to take ownership of experience with the surface stuff, and I'm tempted to move back to that world in 2019 with a surface book of some stripe.


>i too would love to see ms take 'phone' seriously

Nadella won't because of MS hate.

Lots of naive developers are drunk on the false open source android story and won't apps for their OS - e.g. snapchat founder refused to build an app for WP. And kept sending take down notices for community built clients. This is why MS keeps pursing web apps and "universal apps."

Ms spent at billions in payment (bribes) to developers to build WP apps, yet.

Microsoft of today would never have created Windows. They have tried and failed multiple times to turn Windows into a store only OS.

Their OS was unjailbreakable far more so than IOS. WP's inability to share apps is the major reason why WP failed in my own country. Even till today, people still beam android / windows apps.

Windows 10 auto updates is another clue that MS is clueless about data costs. I'll bet, more people left Windows for autoupdating than for being insecure.


AFAIR, they weren't doing WP on their own hardware. The end user experience on various WP was (as with many android devices) a mixed bag. Coupled with being perceived as 'late to the game', and people wanting to jump on the app-bandwagon but not having enough resources... WP never got mindshare.

PERSONALLY... I think MS could mount another shot at the phone market - but they'd have to be serious, commit long term, and be willing to lose out $ for a while to gain marketshare.

I don't recall them spending billions on getting WP apps built. If anything, the anecdotes I heard were mixed - both cheap funding of lots of stupid one-off apps to try to inflate numbers, but cheaping out on funding for established apps with existing users/communities. In neither case did I ever read about billions being spent in those pursuits.

Again, I think there's probably one more chance MS has to make a run for this - new leadership since the ballmer days, commitment to manage their own hardware, and a public commitment to long-term investment in that ecosystem... - lots of folks are waking up to the privacy issues in mobile - apple has a story, google doesn't have a terribly good one. Lots of smaller/secondtier players in ios world are fed up with 30% fees. MS could address privacy and fee issues, and attract/keep new market. But... we don't want another 'playsforsure/zune' situation. :/


>MS could address privacy and fee issues

I don't think privacy is a mass market appeal. Here's an experiment you could do. Stop a few random persons on the road or on the train and ask their opinion about equivax, Cambridge Analytica, and Chrome's recent privacy violations and I'm sure you'll get blank stares on 90 out of 100 people.

As for developer fees - the jumping CEO reduced the app registration fee. No one noticed. He gave the OS for free - OEMs didn't bite.

Nadella recently reduced the their store fee from 30% to 15%. And you didn't know about it.

I feel that focusing completely on consumers would get MS 95% of the push it needs. The wishes of external parties is what gave us the DRM, Youtube's content ID and much more - all anti-consumer.

Developers complained about losing revenue to piracy - voila. Microsoft built WP so that it was impossible to get apps outside the store.

Apple has "arguably" been about consumers and we can see where that led them. IMO, fuck everyone else, design consumer friendly stuff. At least that's how Google search, android, and gmail began.

https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/campaigns/micr...


> I don't think privacy is a mass market appeal. Here's an experiment you could do. Stop a few random persons on the road or on the train and ask their opinion about equivax, Cambridge Analytica, and Chrome's recent privacy violations and I'm sure you'll get blank stares on 90 out of 100 people.

But repeat the same experiment asking them about Facebook listening to their conversations (whether true or not, it's now believed) and about adverts tracking them around the web and those same people will start complaining vociferously and tell you how creepy it is.


Microsoft is investing into IoT now. I could see smartphones morph into different specialized wearable devices, which puts Microsoft ahead of themselves, once again (they are always early to the party without the best party favors).


>they are always early to the party without the best party favors

Innovators' curse maybe? They were pioneers in voice assistant, smart phone and tablets. Alas!

MS has begun to coast with AR - hololens, no new version in a while. Apple is well positioned to take the lead here.

As for IOT, I feel the current MS won't win. Windows 10's constant need to phone number will wear battery down and consume previous bandwidth.


Microsoft is a red herring. They should not be talked about in the same context as Google and Apple. They have no idea how to make an OS or desktop software, so much that Windows users have to work together to undo Microsoft's stupid decisions they make on managing Windows. Making a mobile OS, which will be much less user-manageable, would be a disaster for them. I feel bad for the few intelligent people working there.


> Nadella won't because of MS hate.

Which is well-earned, they saved it for decades. What fueled their growth before, now is working against them.

> Lots of naive developers are drunk on the false open source android story

If you think leopard can change its spots, it's you who is naive. The arrogance with handling Windows 10 should tell you, that they didn't change; they will abuse their position when they think you have no other option. The "naive developers" as you call them know that and will not do anything to put Microsoft into that position.

> Ms spent at billions in payment (bribes) to developers to build WP apps, yet.

Yes, they did. They thought that their existing partners will help them. Fortunately, they were wrong.

> They have tried and failed multiple times to turn Windows into a store only OS.

Yes, developers giving Microsoft more power over themselves. What could possibly go wrong... It's a good thing they failed.

OS Store is not the thing that keeps Windows used.

> Their OS was unjailbreakable far more so than IOS.

That's another "feature" nobody asked for.

> Windows 10 auto updates is another clue that MS is clueless about data costs. I'll bet, more people left Windows for autoupdating than for being insecure.

That's just a symptom of hubris, mentioned above.


>If MS had done their thing only with hardware they made

I recall Ms was banned from building their own hardware. Just like how Car companies are banned from retailing their own cars in the US.


As far as I know (which isn’t perfect knowledge by any means) MS has had a hardware division since 1982, it’s just that it was never their focus. IIRC Bill Gates famously didn’t want to become a major hardware vendor, but wanted to focus on the software. Certainly I’ve never heard of a ban or anything like it, and I was under the impression that dealership laws were essentially unique to cars. If you have some other information to the contrary I’d be happy to read it. Obviously if such a ban existed it was lifted before MS made things like the Zune, or Surface.



are you talking about device manufacturers or component manufacturers? for the latter, look at what happened to imagination when apple dropped them and then tell me with a straight face that wasn't bullying.


It wasn't bullying. Imagination was a one trick pony with, to mix clichés, all their eggs in one basket. They were always going to be screwed when Apple continued far enough down their predictable path to in-house silicon. The people with a clue all left (mostly to Apple) leaving behind shitty managers and the usual clueless offshore types who resorted to the court of public opinion via an embarrassing, needy blog full of vague threats of legal action. That's the closest it got to bullying, really.


Way worse. Microsoft didn’t control the information people see.


Microsoft got smacked down by the DoJ hard.

Here's hoping that Trump in his second term hits the digital monopolies with the anti-trust legislation they have been flaunting for the last 10 years.

Just because they are somewhat closer to me socially doesn't mean I want to sell out my freedoms to them.


Why would he have to wait for a second term? Why couldn't he start on this tomorrow?


If you think the coverage of him is bad now, wait till you see what happens when the digital monopolies are fighting for their lives.

One only has to look at what the Murdoch paper monopolies did to any politician who dared stand against him: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/cancer-eating-the-he...


>If you think the coverage of him is bad now

He could solve that problem by simply ceasing to say and do dumb things. I'm not convinced the media is out to get him, he just shoots himself in the foot about 20 times / day. I wish the news were focused more on policy than politics (though not sure that would help him), but people like drama and news orgs like money.


> he just shoots himself in the foot about 20 times / day

as much as I dislike trump, i do think some of the negative media coverage of him is over the top, and does its part in destroying credibility of real issues. my own gut would be on those '20 times/day' things, probably 5-10 of them are overblown or taken out of context (the 'fist bump' on 9/11 was overblown, imo, when you look at the complete footage and context).


I agree that it's over the top (mostly thinking CNN here) only due to the fact that it seems to be all they ever report on anymore. Some are overblown, it's true, but enough legitimate issues come up daily to fill the news cycle with headlines like "you won't believe what Trump did next!"


> but enough legitimate issues come up daily to fill the news cycle

agreed, but it becomes a bit of "boy who cried wolf!" If everything is 'over the top' and 'worst ever', etc, then nothing is.

there's legitimately enough to be covering about policy and real political issues at stake - the 'fist bump' coverage and 'outrage' from anyone was worse than trivial - it gives cover and legitimacy to the folks who are on the fence about 'fake news' charges.


>agreed, but it becomes a bit of "boy who cried wolf!" If everything is 'over the top' and 'worst ever', etc, then nothing is.

But should we just allow the normalization of such behavior? I don't think so; I think we should continue to call him out on it.

>there's legitimately enough to be covering about policy and real political issues at stake - the 'fist bump' coverage and 'outrage' from anyone was worse than trivial - it gives cover and legitimacy to the folks who are on the fence about 'fake news' charges.

Agreed.


> But should we just allow the normalization of such behavior? I don't think so; I think we should continue to call him out on it.

what behaviour?

let opinion journalism call him out for stuff that is opinionably bad. let fact-based news call him out on 'real' stuff. again, i go to the fist-bump thing (but the 'koi fish food' thing last year fits too) - there's no need for that to be covered by the same folks and with the same level of coverage as state of the union speeches or cabinet appointments.


Trump and Musk would be well served by giving up Twitter.


Twitter is objectively a huge part of what got Trump elected.


Google et al can't focus on his policies because they benefit from them. Or their owners at any rate.

The rich will not save us from themselves. But they will put a nice rainbow flag up with the wages they stole from us.


I was excited by “Don’t be evil” back in the early days. But maybe they should’ve chosen “Don’t be stupid or evil” because their amnesia, arrogance and carelessness remind me of so many hilarious sad stories from the early days in the tech industry as recounted in this book which I own:

In Search of Stupidity: Over Twenty Years of High Tech Marketing Disasters


“Don’t forget not to be evil”

I don’t believe the founders have had personality transplant, so why has google become evil?


It's not evil it's shareholder... value... optimisation ! I blame corporate on that one.


Seems like given enough time, any company will lose whatever value it tried to uphold in the past in favor of shareholders.

Once it reaches that point, every business optimization is in detriment of either the final user or society, quite often both.


Don't the founders have a majority of the voting stock? Do they have a legal obligation to "maximize shareholder value" for the other shareholders?


Shareholders= You and your parents and your grandparents retirement.

This need to have 7-13% yearly returns force companies to grind their employees and customers.

I like capitalism, but I can easily see capitalism doing evil things to create short term profit.


"I can easily see" sounds like it's a hypothetical, but destruction of real value for short term monetary gain is plainly visible all around. I've probably ran into 1000s of real world examples.


Partly they're stepping back a bit and partly they've drunk their own koolaid?


Most of the evil on this world is caused by too many levels of abstraction.


Absolute power corrupts absolutely


> it sucks it leaked to nutty Brietbart and not a real new organization

Lack of reporting from others is no reason to believe Breitbart was first to know, e.g. https://mobile.twitter.com/jacknicas/status/1040014678263386...

> Doesn't that bother anyone?

I think it actually helps insulate Google from closer scrutiny of its monopoly position and deplorable business model. Why would any self-respecting country suffer an all-powerful ad-financed private Alphabet Agency? Because they think Evil is "on our side".


Google too shut down AdSense just a few weeks ago for a project I work on/for. We only use AdMob to serve ads as alternative monetization. No warning, no reason given, no way to contact anymore. This is definitely not the right way to go about this.


My good buddy was within circles of “Team L” back then and nagment always laughted when someone mention “dont do evil” mantra. Google never said they wont do evil, they just stated a fact in general. Similar like Subway says “eat fresh” and you think “oh i guess they have fresh subs” meanwhile just recently there was a case when someone sued Subway for chemicals used in their bread, and reasoned their lawsuit on fact they assumed Subway has fresh sandwitches, but actually Subway lawyers explained the slogan is for others and “in general”, not that they as a company produce or serve “fresh” subs themselves.


AMP was what did it for me.


When Gmail came out, I said to people "as long as it stays on gmail.com then they can't use email scraping with your search history. No privacy issues." (or minmal ones)

Within a few months of Gmail going public it changed from gmail.com to gmail.google.com or google.com/gmail or some such thing, and I knew instantly they had bamboozled everyone.

That was years ago, the rest has been the expected trend.


Why does the front-facing domain have anything to do with what data they can or cannot collect?


Because cookies are bound to a domain. So once Gmail moved to google.com/mail, the Gmail cookies started carrying over to the search on google.com, meaning that Google could correlate your search terms with your account.


Cookies


Wasn't that somewhat related to the trademark dispute?

The domain gmail.com became unavailable in Germany due to trademark disputes [...]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Gmail#Germany


If the Germany trademark issue was relevant to the moving from gmail.com to google.com/whatever is the case, why were we all allowed to have @gmail.com email addresses?


In Germany they used @googlemail.com addresses.


I know that. I was merely pointing out that if gmail.com was the issue, then having youremail@gmail.com would also be an issue. But since it never has been, the issue in Germany has nothing (based on this simple logic) to do with Google changing the email access from gmail.com to google.com.


... and then they started giving away Google Analytics so every hit on every website could be recorded (by them), and then built Chrome, so that every hit on every website could be recorded (again by them).

To think we were so naïve.


Same here. AMP and the current move to get rid of URLs were the last straw.


What do you mean by get rid of urls? I just have missed it



I stopped trusting Google the day they announced they would use Gmail email content for displaying ads. Sometime in the late 00’s it was I think.


Your memory is a bit off. Algorithmic reading of emails for targeted ads was a feature of Gmail from day one.

Here's an article from June 2004:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06/15/gmail_spook_heaven/

The privacy implications were widely discussed when Gmail launched, but then the media interest just faded out because people were apparently OK with it and Google promised to "do no evil". So here we are, 14 years later.


Do they really use email content for ad targeting or are you spreading misinformation?


They did, for a few years. It was a bit scary, but also really good. It was really easy to test, if you sent an email discussing a weekend trip with some friends you'd immediately get hotel and flight ads for that destination. Actually quite useful...


Yep.


Nope. See other comment.


If we'd ban targeted advertising, this would take away the perverse incentives, and we could help transform Google and other companies into something better. I'd say let's start with a petition.


I'd prefer to tax rather than ban ads. Ads are like (indeed contribute to) carbon emissions, not murder.


> Adsense was the first breach in trust for me, when they banned my account for no reason and ruined any chance of every monetizing my content...since they are basically a monopoly in that area. Getting off their blacklist, is literally impossible.

Same thing happened to me shortly after Adsense started up. They banned my account when I was 17/18 for clicking on my own ads, which I'd never done because I knew you'd get banned for it. I'm now 32, so in two years my Adsense account will have been banned for literally half my life.


It's kind of irritating that we're always trying to keep up with the latest version. In a way, it's actually putting the power into their hands. Making it easier for them to get away with sleazier stuff because the majority are on the most recent version.

And because everyone's on the latest version, it's harder for individuals to downgrade or stay on old versions for longer without getting obsoleted.

It's actually closing the web. The excuse for aggressive upgrades & auto-updates are mainly for security purposes, with the side benefit of reducing the work of web developers. But on the flip side, it's actually huge centralization move.


> the video that leaked out [...] of the Google town hall also baffled me

Which video?


I think it was after the US election results, senior leadership was discussing with employees what it could mean for them, and what Google's stance would be. Quite reasonable for a company that is open to diversity to reassure their diverse workforce when a president who is explicitly against diversity is elected.

Typical Breitbart trying to create much ado about nothing, I've had similar "town hall" discussions in the UK since Brexit - "what does this mean for our employees? etc"


I don't agree that the content of the leaked video[0] was reasonable. Google essentially controls information, so they have tremendous power. Their staff have openly called to subvert democracy, which I think most reasonable people find incredibly dangerous. And no, I don't like Trump.

[0]: https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2018/09/12/leaked-video-googl...


Also from an investing perspective, it’s important to know if the senior leadership turns into a sniveling mess when facing uh...adversity in the form of the political horse they backed losing an election.


Where did Google leadership call to subvert democracy? At no point in the video do they instruct or encourage employees to do that. They're discussing what Trump means for their employees, not for their customers


I said Google staff had, and I didn't say they did that in this video. But then to be fair, I don't have any hard evidence for this.

EDIT: As it turns out, sources for this are pretty easy to come across online: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-google-travelban/google-s...


Your source doens't back your claim of:

"Their staff have openly called to subvert democracy,"

The key here being "openly" and a specific call to "subvert democracy". None of this happened, and your source does not back up this claim in any way. These are apparently in internal only threads, and they were merely talking about tweaking search results.

Internal, private emails threads are objectively not "openly calling" for something and merely "tweaking search results" is not "subverting democracy" in any sane world.

You are spreading misinformation at best.


This is the main claim: "Google employees discussed how they could tweak the company's search-related functions to show users how to contribute to pro-immigration organizations and contact lawmakers and government agencies, the WSJ said. The ideas were not implemented."

To me, that is not "subverting democracy." It is, however, taking an active political stance.


I respectfully and strongly disagree. A functioning democracy is fundamentally predicated on a well-informed electorate.

If the primary source of information is manipulated in the name of political activism, how can they become well-informed?

Sadly I must qualify this by saying I don't believe the general public in the West are well-informed, but that doesn't mean that ideal should be given up entirely.


From the parent:

> show users how to contribute to pro-immigration organizations and contact lawmakers and government agencies

From you:

> fundamentally predicated on a well-informed electorate

Describe how anything in the parent statement fails to contribute to, or detracts from, a well-informed electorate. Both examples are involvement in the functioning of a democracy, not detracting from it.

Nor is any private party obligated to provide "equal coverage". That the level of "informed" goes up, but does not encapsulate information -you- think should be included, does not negate this.


> the WSJ said

The WSJ is unabashedly an outlet for conservative and GOP talking points. That is clear on its opinion page, and I know that somehow people trust its news pages, but the same editors control the rest of the publication, as does the owner of the WSJ and Fox News, Rupert Murdoch. I wouldn't trust their summary of something relating to a conservative talking point.


> But if you deal directly with Google ad sales (and this is something I never knew existed tbh) they will intentionally screw you if you are under a certain spend.

Any more details on this?


I'm interested in this as well. My current company uses AdWords directly and is almost certainly below that "certain spend". I'm suspicious that we might be getting taken to the cleaners too, but not sure the co-founder would believe me.


Unfortunately the only way to really know is to have a PPC expert audit your account. IMO having a good in-house PPC person is crucial, or at least go through a reputably agency (as an in-house PPC expert can be pricey.) Even though agencies charge a service fee, your results will almost certainly outperform just using Google's in-house service or doing it yourself. There are also classes some people offer on the topic, which can help you tell if you are being had. I'm not saying it's going to happen every campaign, but it is a common practice.


I can't enumerate on it much more without likely making an error, as I am not on the PPC team myself. I know several people in the Michigan Ann Arbor hub at Google that have told me this directly.


> it sucks it leaked to nutty Brietbart and not a real news organization.

That right there is the issue. “Real” news organizations share ideological views and their choice of what to investigate is a result of that ideology. When a newsroom cheers or is despondent over an election result, it’s unrealistic to expect them to provide hard-hitting coverage that potentially undercuts their own biases.

The coverage of Russian “collusion” is a great example. Hillary Clinton’s people met with the ambassador of China as well as Russian officials during the campaign. But there was not even cursory coverage in mainstream media outlets or any investigation into Hillary’s campaign while similar alleged actions by members of the Trump campaign have led to a years long special prosecutor. I am not going to relitigate the collision case here, but alleged Trump collusion or alleged Clinton collusion would both be considered crimes, that Clinton didn’t win is immaterial since the crimes being alleged are collusion before the election. However, there hasn’t even been any cursory investigative reporting of the actions of the Clinton campaign despite secretly meeting with both Chinese and Russian officials. Just those meetings alone would be grounds for concern, but media outlets, in their disdain for Trump, ignored a potentially identical crime committed by Clinton’s campaign, not because it wasn’t newsworthy, but because it didn’t fit the ideological ambitions of many major “reputable” news outlets. I am not claiming Clinton did or didn’t collide; only that there was enough evidence to inspire at least some investigative reporting by the media — but the problem is that such reporting would weaken the “case” against Trump in terms of public opinion.

Keith Ellison a congressman with multiple, credible sexual assault accusations against him gets a pass in the media despite him running for Attorney General of Minnesota and he’s the deputy Chairman of the DNC. Yet, the media goes after the Kavanaugh story despite a far weaker accusation than the police-record supported claims against Ellison. Why? Because it doesn’t fit the narrative. Again, I am not litigating the Kavanaugh case here, only pointing out that the media has a propensity to cover news with an intensity to suits an obvious agenda as opposed to covering news impartially.

With the Google politics situation, why would the “reputable” media care when it’s a sentiment they already share.

I was a contract journalist for Reuters from 1996-2002 and, in my opinion, journalism has declined prodigiously since then. It has become a click-bait driven industry that preys on tribalism and emotion. My first real exposure to the 24 hour news cycle was during Desert Storm and I remember the coverage of CNN was not only reputable, but explemplary. The NY Times was an extraordinary paper along with the Seattle PI, Dallas Morning News, Boston Globe And Miami Herald. My old hometown paper where I interned before going to Reuters was also great — attacking left and right with equal aplomb, passion and fairness. But something happened along the way. We could blame Trump as is the fashion, but Trump was a product of this, not the cause. There have always been fringe media outlets like Breitbart, however they really didn’t have much of an audience because the majority of people of all political stripes had a reasonable trust in the major media outlets. The issue of media bias isn’t even one of specific stories and how they are written, but something far most sinister — the quiet influence of the assignment editor who decides what stories are even worth considering. The NY Times for example, well written, generally solid stories however, the real bias comes from what they choose not to cover. The Trump stories are certainly worth ink, but so are the stories about Clinton Foundation irregularities, quid pro quo arrangements with foreign governments, the Moroccan phosphate deals, Russian Uranium and campaign money laundering to the time of $84 million.

In full disclosure, I didn’t vote for Trump, didn’t support him at all, but I am a libertarian-leaning conservative frustrated that ridiculousness like modern Breitbart even needs to exists. (I say “modern” Breitbart because under Andrew Breitbart, it was actually a pretty decent new source, albeit from a right perspective — it was the conservative answer to the Huffington Post, though now, it’s pretty close to Infowars territory.

I apologize for the rant, but I agree, it’s a shame that fringe media has done more investigating into google than the “reputable” media.


> My first real exposure to the 24 hour news cycle was during Desert Storm and I remember the coverage of CNN was not only reputable, but explemplary

?!?!?! It's funny to see how different viewpoints can be. The CNN coverage of Iraq 1 (and 2) is often given as a textbook example of how pro-military propaganda can be achieved thanks to "embedding": News networks need images, the easiest way to get the most striking images is to be embedded within military units, the military are more than happy to comply, as long as they keep editorial control of what is published: win-win for both, but a definite loss for impartiality


Even as a middle school student I was amazed how “clean” they made the war seem. It was clear that the military had full control over the flow of information.


It was clear that the military had full control over the flow of information

They learnt the lessons of the Falklands, where the BBC was happily informing the Argentinians that e.g. they were setting their bomb fuses wrong...


No they learned their lesson in Vietnam when they let this image get out, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phan_Thi_Kim_Phuc


all serious presidential campaigns have some contact, especially after they win an election, with major world powers. the big difference is they'd run away and report it to the fbi et al if said world powers offered to help them in the election.


"they'd run away and report it to the fbi et al if said world powers offered to help them in the election"

How do you know that? Has this happened?


> However, there hasn’t even been any cursory investigative reporting of the actions of the Clinton campaign despite secretly meeting with both Chinese and Russian officials. Just those meetings alone would be grounds for concern, but media outlets, in their disdain for Trump, ignored a potentially identical crime committed by Clinton’s campaign, not because it wasn’t newsworthy, but because it didn’t fit the ideological ambitions of many major “reputable” news outlets.

It's not just the news media. The justice department seems to be ignoring it too.


Two things:

I'd love to see specific sources that back up your claims about Hillary Clinton's 'secret meetings'.

And, on a more general note, I'm pretty astounded that you spend so much time railing against the bias of what we are obviously meant to infer is the left wing media without even acknowledging the existence the right wing media machine. And no, it isn't Brietbart and only Brietbart.

>Keith Ellison a congressman with multiple, credible sexual assault accusations against him gets a pass in the media despite

a) There are definitely some inconsistencies in the stories about what he did/did not, and after reading through a few articles on the subject, it doesn't exactly seem like there's very much concrete evidence at all. AND EVEN THEN, the allegations are not as far as I can in any way sexual assault allegations. And furthermore, I found a litany of sites discussing the situation on both side of the traditional spectrum.


also, that atrocity named Go...


How is your comment relevant to the article?


Firefox is a truly fantastic browser now. I've been using it again for about 2 years and haven't regretted it at all. There have been a couple of weird feature hiccups but generally Mozilla seems to get things right.


I wish I could use it but it has serious performance problems on macOS. I tried and it was just terrible. (thought not all Mac users have problems, quite a number do, and Mozilla has an open issue asking for debugging logs from Macs to find the reasons).


If you are on MacOS, why don't you use Safari?

I'm puzzled as to why people seem to dismiss the "built-in" browser. It's the fastest, smoothest, best integrated, and least power-hungry browser on the platform. I regularly use all three major browsers (for testing, I write web applications) and I consistently switch back to Safari for all my non-special browsing.


It has the worst UX. It doesn't show favicons on tabs. It has the worst selection of extensions: https://redditenhancementsuite.com/safari/. Everything just seems to be worse than Firefox/Chrome from the developer tools to extension development (you need Xcode).

To use Safari, you pretty much need to decide that performance / battery life are more important than anything else which only describes my needs when I need to milk my battery when it hits 10% with no electric outlet in sight.


Safari 12 can show favicons on tabs now :o)

This is how to enable it: https://lifehacker.com/how-to-enable-safari-favicons-on-mac-...


Sadly not for the favourites bar yet, which is the biggest thing holding me back so far. :( (+ the UI just seems so clunky and old compared to Chrome)


As a counterpoint; I think the Safari UI is the lightest and gets out of my way. I am I the only one who actually likes the lack of favicons? Very minimalist and gets out of the way to let me do my surfing.

I do use Chrome during development though.


Well, it does show favicons on tabs (with the recent update). I'm not sure what you mean "everything seems to be worse", I haven't found this to be the case. As for extensions, there are indeed fewer Safari extensions than for other browsers. I checked and I regularly use only: 1Password, Ghostery, AdBlock and Harvest.

As I said, it provides the best performance, experience and battery life.


It does have some ux benefits too. The "back gesture" works much better than on other browsers. Firefox gives no feedback, and chrome gives very poor feedback.

Safari lets you peek at the previous page, and makes it very obvious that you are about to go back, without any performance hit.

It also comes with reading mode, which chrome doesn't. Even with an ad blocker, many pages are still layed out in ways that can only be summed up as reader hostile.

So for reading and moving between pages, I feel like it beats both ffx and chrome. So I disagree with your "more important than anything else" part, but agree that performance and battery is among its top features, and if you don't care for that, safari does become a hard choice.


We all care about about battery life performance. This comments section is filled with people like me who want to use Safari and give it a serious try every once in a while for that exact reason.

But it needs more than that when my battery already lasts 6+ hours under heavy use and my laptop is plugged in almost all day anyways.

Perhaps you can see how a reading mode that we already had extensions for in other browsers and sexier prev/next gestures damn it with weak praise.


Safari has just added favicon support for pinned tabs.


Also privacy and security, since today's Mojave release.


This past weekend I tried Safari again when I saw it updated to version 12. I was surprised to see that Apple deactivated my uBlock Origin plugin, saying it would slow the browser down. So now Safari is unusable and filled with ads, and there's nothing Apple provides to replace uBlock Origin. This is a total show-stopper for me.


It’s really just a suggestion to turn off some extensions. Haven’t bothered to figure out what triggers Safari to do that, but you can still run uBlock Origin on Safari 12 and it seems to work fine.


> Haven’t bothered to figure out what triggers Safari to do that

Safari has a new extensions model and will be deprecating the legacy one in a year. Hence the push to migrate to newer extensions.


the new extensions model is ridiculously useless... You need to build your extension in Xcode now, and for anything other than content blocking, the APIs are non existent... for instance, you can't even close tabs!

I made an extremely simple extension using the new model around 2months - before I try migrating an older "actually useful" extension. But theres just no way its possible to migrate.

Apple doesn't care about browser extensions now, it seems they want everyone to move to the new model, so they can collect revenue on sales on ad blockers.

:(


This is wrong - you can inject arbitrary scripts and styles:

https://developer.apple.com/documentation/safariservices/saf...


You didn’t reply to or contradict anything they said. You need Xcode to build extensions and Safari has a super limited API. Executing JS and CSS don’t address either.


He didn’t say limited, he said nonexistent.

More specifically, if you can inject scripts I don’t see why you couldn’t call window.close()


> Apple doesn't care about browser extensions now, it seems they want everyone to move to the new model, so they can collect revenue on sales on ad blockers.

The web is terrible without a serious adblocker and the available alternatives (paid or not) are unable to take away the same amount of junk. People will simply start using another browser.


Apple doesn't provide a replacement extension, but they do vend a replacement API, the content blocking API. There are many extensions that use this.


You can turn it back on. Go to Preferences -> Extensions and check "uBlock Origin". I've been using Safari 12 since it came out and uBlock Origin works with it just fine.


You can get the Adblock Plus app, which using the new API.

This is a tradeoff Apple made valuing privacy and performance over user freedom. The new content blocking API is safer and faster.


I haven't tried uBlock Origin, but I'm running 1Blocker and Ka-Block! and they filter out most of the worst offenders.


You might be thankful it was deactivated - it might have not been legit.

https://github.com/el1t/uBlock-Safari/issues/69


I just use uBlock Origin anyway (basically ignore the message). I don't see a difference in performance with the plugin when I updated to v12 on my mid-2010 MBP (it's slow anyway, so /shrug).


Don’t use uBlock, but content blockers on Safari work really well for me. There is also quite a lot of built in privacy protection already.


same happened with Adguard and this was using non deprecated APIs (uBlock Origin was and is clearly using deprecated APIs). It seems for blocking stuff Apple changed the whole SDK on the browser!


One thing I don't like is having a 30% chance to have to wait 2-4 seconds whenever I swipe to go to the previous page or click the back button.


This. This a thousand times. I get these random slow downs as well with safari. But only every once in a while. What is happening?


Ah so it’s not just me!


And on the topic of this thread, Safari also has the best privacy protections: <https://webkit.org/blog/8311/intelligent-tracking-prevention....


I keep trying to use Safari as my main browser. I want to use it so bad.

I keep switching away from it due to lack of favicons and lack of extensions. I don't personally mind paying for a dev license to release an extension, but it definitely takes a toll on the extensions that get released.


Safari shows favicons in tab titles in macOS v10.14 Mojave.


It's a Safari 12 feature, so works on macOS 10.13 too.


And Safari 12 on High Sierra.


Do you use Internet Explorer on your Windows Box?


For me the biggest reason not to use Safari was that I couldn't paste screen snippets or images from a clipboard (e.g. Web Whatsapp etc). But after your comment I tried and they seem to have implemented it. Maybe even in Safari 12.


Safari doesn't support WebGL2 and probably never will because of Apple's stance on OpenGL. Disqualifies it for me and I've had to tell customers that I can't support it, even if they'd pay for it.


We're moving to WebGPU now, there will be no more WebGL in the future. WebGPU is coming out in late 2019.


It’s on in Safari Technology Preview: https://webkit.org/status/#specification-webgl-2

We have no particular stance against it, though I agree with the other poster that WebGL is more the future.


Ah, that's good to hear. WebGL2 has lot's of useful features, glad to see Safari is going to support them, too.


Because I can't sync history and bookmarks to my Android phone or my Windows gaming PC.


It lacks tree style tabs.


Strange. I almost exclusively use OSX (El Cap) and haven't had performance issues asides from needing to restart the browser once a month or so. Hopefully they get those problems resolved soon, the browser is super quick when it's working right.


Are you using a "scaled" resolution? If so, there's a bug in redrawing that pegs a core, and kills battery life.

It can be mitigated by setting

  gfx.compositor.glcontext.opaque = true
in about:config, but the fix is invasive, and has taken years to get prioritized and worked on. I've seen reports that it should finally be done in FF64 or 65.


I find that I cannot watch a YouTube video on my MacBook in Firefox for more than 10 seconds without the fans coming on at full throttle. This is one of the few reasons that I start up chrome, as strangely I can watch the same video in chrome without performance issues. I haven't had this issue on Firefox on PC


Google properties are a lost battle.

Google Sheets and Google Docs have been horrible on anything than Chrome for a while as well, and I guess they have no incentive to make that situation change. Firefox is dealing with it better than before I think, but I won’t hold my breath for parity to ever come.


Disable "Automatic graphics switching" in "Energy Saver" in OS X settings. This fixed this problem for me (which started about 4 months ago).

(I'm on Yosemite.)


I'm on Yosemite and I don't see anything like that in the energy saver preference pane.


That setting will only appear if you have a 15" with a dedicated GPU. 13" only have "Energy Saving" integrated graphics and don't need the setting


Try the h264ify extension, it forces h264 video instead of webm, you can block 60fps videos too if you want to halve the size of the download.

If your cpu does not have a webm decoder in hardware, it has to decode them in software which is inefficient.


https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1429522

It's pretty bad. Firefox cuts my battery life in half doing nothing.


Also, on my 2-year old MacBook Pro, the thing heats up pretty bad and the fans go on quite loud. It's terrible. I've actually never run any application on my laptop that performs as bad as Firefox, and that's saying something.


There is a significant (maybe 0.4-0.5 seconds?) lag between the cursor hovering over something and it's hover action (highlight, whatever) taking place.

Running my mouse down the list in about:config feels like I'm drunk.

This is on a brand new maxed out i7 MacBook Pro.


As a follow-up, I did a complete reinstall of Firefox with a new profile, removed as much cruft as I could (pocket, etc.), upped the content process limit... and I feel like Firefox is much more usable. There's still some lag, but it's more on the order of 0.05 - 0.1 seconds.

Now if I could just get it to be reasonable about search engines...


GP claims that FF performance is terrible, which I cannot endorse (I guess GP might be having an actual issue), but I'll make a different claim: performance is not as good as Chrome (or maybe even Safari), despite all the accolades of FF Quantum, and my myriad attempts to switch to FF. The (at least perceived) inferiority of performance in addition to general UI ugliness makes it a no switch for me.

P.S. macOS 10.13.6.


funny, I personally find the new Chrome look to be much uglier


When I first saw the Chrome update, I thought: "Hey, it looks just like Firefox!"


Sorry, if that was your thought, I’m afraid all design is probably lost on you. Which might be a blessing, since you can use whatever and can’t tell the difference anyway.


It can be switched back (for now)...

Go to chrome://flags, search for "UI Layout for the browser's top chrome" and pick "Normal". Restart and enjoy the old design.


Same here, almost exclusive FF user on OSX (Sierra) and never had any issues


I gave up on Firefox on OS X for performance reasons and switched to Safari a while ago and it’s a decent browser. It has support for extensions that I use (ublock origin and 1Password), uses less battery than any other browser, and is fast


I hear about "FF performance issues on Mac" and I just don't get it.

I believe all of the people who report this, but it's not something I experience. Here's my usage pattern:

- 50+ hours in a browser each week

- Regular use of both FF and Chrome with very occasional use of Safari (I'm a developer of web apps)

- FF has been my primary browser for 15 years or so

- Used on a variety of Macs (2006, 2008, 2011, 2013, and 2015 MBPs with 8-16GB RAM)

- Running uBlock Origin in all browsers FWIW

...so, anecdotal, but pretty extensive.

I never had major problems with FF in the pre-Quantum days. Chrome always felt snappier than FF, and Safari felt snappier than both, but the differences were not huge and FF was "fine." And now since Quantum, FF is on par with Chrome for me in general.

The one time FF feels like a pig for me is on Google-owned web apps like Gmail.

For many years, Gmail and Gsuite apps were lightning fast on FF. But in the last few years it has gotten slower and slower on everything but Chrome. Hmmm, wonder why.


Firefox on OS X (Macbook Pro 2017 and 2015):

- uses 100% CPU even when idle

- frame rate drops to 2-3 per second for 5-10 seconds when switching tabs

- causes other programs to not work properly because it is using too much CPU

I have tried uninstalling the browser and re-installing OS X but it didn't solve those issues. I read somewhere it is a bug that pops up when you have display resolution scaling on and I think it applies to me because I have two 4k monitors set at 2x scaling.


    uses 100% CPU even when idle
That sucks.

Anecdotally, I've never seen this, even when I had 1 external 4K and 1 external 2K connected. The whole OS was kind of sluggish at that point, but that was definitely asking a lot out of a puny integrated 3-year old laptop GPU so eh.

Just did a quick informal test with my current setup:

- MacOS High Sierra.

- 2015" MBP with no discrete GPU.

- Single 4K external monitor, 3008x1692 scaled resolution.

- uBlock is off.

With only a single blank tab open FF uses 0% CPU as expected. I opened three tabs: Facebook, Espn.com, and MSNBC.com. There was a brief flurry of CPU activity as the sites loaded, and FF's processes are now idling comfortably at 0-1%.

I repeated the process with Chrome and results were similar. One difference is that Chrome spawns 10x as many processes, but they seem to consume less memory each.

In both FF and Chrome, there's a palpable (500 or 750ms?) delay when switching tabs. In my experience a lot of Mac apps behave that way at scaled 4K resolutions.

I repeated this informal test in Safari and it "feels faster"; less CPU spike on initial site load and switching browser tabs feels close to instant.


Entirely anecdotal but I have noticed huge issues with Firefox when I hook my laptop up to a 4k display. My normal display is 1080p and no issues on the same machine.


Well, the last update to Adwords aka Google Ads is now a clunky piece of shit on Chrome and FF.

I don't know if Google has gone too far with the A/B split testing and are picking winners solely on a most ad revenue metric or if they abandoned UX testing altogether. I suppose it could be a bit of both. May be their decision making AI is secretly optimizing Google in a destructive direction.. who knows.


I love how Safari sips battery on OS X, but its performance is glacial in my experience. With Chrome I can, for example, type “was” and hit return at normal typing speed and expect the browser to have autopopulated “washingtonpost.com” from my history and take me there. With Safari on the same newer high end macbook pro, autopopulate takes up to a few seconds, so hitting return takes me to the page half of the time and searches for “was” the other half of the time. Pages seem to take longer until the first meaningful content loads, too.


I wonder what the issue is. My experience with safari on my old macbook air is speedy with no power problems.


I switched back to Chrome recently because the ublock origin port on Safari has been pretty broken recently. Setting third party domain blocking options in advanced mode doesn't seem to work any more (can't save the settings) and the extension doesn't seem to be maintained any more, judging by the github repo.


The one major thing that keeps me from Safari is keyword searching. It's a major part of my browsing workflow and makes me so much more productive. Last I knew, you could assign hotkeys to bookmarks, but I don't think you could assign keywords and you couldn't use %s as a placeholder.


At first, I was confused, because I've been using this feature in Safari for years. But then I remembered that years ago I installed an extension called "Omnikey" that provides this: http://marioestrada.github.io/safari-omnikey/, https://safari-extensions.apple.com/details/?id=ec.mario.omn.... If this is the only thing holding you back from using Safari, install the extension and switch. It's been working so well for years that I forgot it wasn't built in.


Safari 12 no longer supports uBlock Origin. I discovered this over the past weekend. Without ad blocking, Safari is unusable for me.

EDIT: It seems AdBlock Plus has now come out with a new plugin that conforms to Apple's new API.


It does, if you enable it again (or reinstall it from the Safari Extensions directory). However, I get the feeling it will only last for this version, since they seem to be closing down on JavaScript extensions in general.


It’s been pretty good for me since Quantum. There is still a known issue with scaled monitor resolutions (which I do use), but it looks like fixes are in the pipeline.


Yep. And Google Voice runs horribly on iOS.. 20 second lag time to check messages, no joke. Earlier versions would freeze at the beginning of each character you type.

Makes me wonder if companies aren't just slowing down their competitors..


On iOS they can't use their own engine, everything is just a wrapper around webkit.


WebKit isn't slow though.

Also the parent comment is about Google Voice, which is not a browser and therefore is not constrained by Apple's restrictions on 3rd-party browser engines.


It's possible, but it's much more likely that off-platform teams just don't get much love from their orgs. iTunes on Windows comes to mind, for example.


I would believe this, were it not that the google voice app continues to break in new ways version to version. The latest loads a little faster and isn't freezing as much (still a 10 second load, better than a 40 seconds of nothing). But now when I reply to messages? 19/20 messages I've tried to send through GV show "Message failed to send".


The timestamps on call and message lists don’t update properly either. Switching playback source (earpiece to speaker) often doesn’t work. Screen shuts off even when voicemail is still playing.

All this unfixed for years now.


Really? When I complained about Firefox performance on macOS, I was downvoted by a lot of people. It almost made me consider if the problem was PEBKAC (problem exists between keyboard and chair). I am glad I'm not the only one. I wanted to love Firefox, but I can't because of this.

edit: reading all the comments in this thread, geez, I finally feel like I'm not a stupid user. :) The issues are real!


Yup. Firefox is slow as hell on my mac. I've tried everything and nothing works.


The current Firefox beta changeling has a couple items that suggest better performance on macOS:

"Faster tab switching in the majority of cases for our macOS users"

"Improved the reactivity of Firefox on macOS"

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/63.0beta/releasenotes


Sorry to sound naive, but is there a good reason (or a few) not to use Safari?


One reason is that the variety and number of extensions available is far lesser on Safari compared to Firefox. If someone is dependent on several extensions, then it may be a no-go.


It's my daily browser of choice, FWIW, but is no good for development. The React dev tool plugin, for instance, is only available on Chrome & Firefox.

I'm trying to switch to Firefox but it certainly doesn't feel as snappy as Chrome when doing dev work. I do like some of the tools though. Still undecided.


I use Safari for browsing and Chrome for development. Recent changes from Hangouts to Meet has also forced me to use Chrome for video chats.

I've never been a huge extension user (ad blockers and some development tools), so moving to Safari was easy. The big thing I missed was favicons, and those have been in the technology preview for awhile now.

I may explore FF for development, but I'm not sure there is a need since I've already relegated Chrome to a specific task.


This is it. Safari really doesn't compare to chrome/firefox in terms of good developer tools. They are there, but no where near as useful/powerful.

I have noticed a few quirks in Safari that I have to work around. Like not rendering things exactly the same way as chrome/firefox. Bit of a pain, but there is never anything that's really "broken".


These issues seem like they’re (finally) fixed in the betas of Firefox 63.


What performance issues have you experienced? Chrome and Firefox run the same on my machine. The only time I switch to Chrome is when some Javascript developer has for some reason disabled click functionality in browsers besides Chrome. Most recently Bank of America has prevented click functionality on their cash back merchants.


When that happens I just shift-right-click on them (in Firefox). There are add-ons if you don't want to have to do this.


I wanted to ditch Chrome, so I tried Firefox on macOS and it took 3-5 seconds to load most sites while they load in 0.5-1.0 seconds in Chrome. I tried uninstalling (including deleting all profile data) and re-installing to see if that helped. This is as far as I got in trying to install uBlock Origin: https://gyazo.com/5850d1b0955c42b857de4ab302c8149b Tried viewing source, but that page just came out blank too. I really want to like Firefox, but the release version feels like an alpha test to me...


Yeah, this is specific to macOS. I also use Firefox on my Linux machine, where it's supper snappy. Kind of strange, considering a lot of Mozilla employees seem to be on MacBooks.


I just switched on my Ubuntu, following the new release of Chrome which OP rightly criticizes. It works very well.


I have perfomance issues on heavy JS websites. Facebook is almost unusable. But I have a bunch of extensions. If I try using a new profile (no extensions, default preferences, etc) it's nice and smooth.


Yes I have the same issue. Completely absurd resource usage on some pages, causes my fans to spin constantly.


I wish Firefox was as sleek, fast and no-nonsense as Safari on the Mac, which is my everyday browser. I vastly prefer the idea of an open browser that is not tightly coupled to a particular industry giant. And I wish Firefox actually had a viable Safari competitor on iOS, so that I can sync my state around.

Unfortunately, while Firefox has made significant leaps the last couple of years, it's still not a viable alternative to Safari for me. It doesn't feel particularly native (neither the "chrome" nor form controls etc.), and the UX is still clunky compared to native Mac-first apps.

One particular way in which Safari absolutely beats Firefox is the address bar. Most of the autocompletions that Safari provide are exactly what I want. As an example, if I type "mapq" into Safari, it suggests mapquest.com (a site I've never visited before, so this is not based on anything from my history). For Firefox, it suggests a Googles search for "mapquest", which is just stupid. Aside from suggesting web sites, Safari is superb at showing good results (Wikipedia is often a top hit), and it is awesome at providing autocompletions from my bookmarks and history.

Firefox also seems a bit lost when it comes to innovating, and keeps coming up with weak concepts that don't get any tractions; Personas comes to mind. Container tabs are a similarly interesting idea with a weird implementation that requires you to micromanage your tabs, which I certainly don't want to, and provides a "techie" solution to something that should just be invisible and default (i.e. all web sites should be "contained").


> Container tabs are a similarly interesting idea with a weird implementation that requires you to micromanage your tabs, which I certainly don't want to

You might want to take a look at the Firefox Multi-Account Containers Add-on, it lets you set domains to always open in a given container, which cuts down on the micromanagement a lot once you get it "trained". [edit: This is not well-advertised, it's accessed through the context menu (right-click) on a page when you have it open in that container]

https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/multi-account-conta...

> i.e. all web sites should be "contained"

It's possible to enable this for most intents and purposes with "1st party isolation", which came from the Tor browser. Some info here:

https://www.ctrl.blog/entry/firefox-fpi


I still think that "container tabs" shouldn't need to exist. They fail the "grandma test", for one.


They're working on native first party isolation, but it breaks authentication via Facebook/Google/other OAuth vendors.

It's a tough problem, and I agree the grandma test is a good standard, sometimes it can't be easily done.


Sure. Might be nice to have an adblocker-style filter that says what domains should be considered a single origin, plug that into containers.


Container tabs has that feature built in, you can say that google.com and youtube.com always automatically should open in the same container.

It's still too difficult and cumbersome to use. I might want to have one tab with gmail signed in but another to make anonymous searches on Google, both are on google domains so i have to manually fiddle with the containers again. Then you click a link in an email or search result and you don't really know if this tab should be in the mail-container, in the default container or in the domain-matched container.


I know that feature is there, I was thinking that there could be a maintained list of domain groups you could subscribe to like filterlists. That way you wouldn't have to wait for a Facebook Container addon and a Google Container addon &c.


My biggest issue with containers is how to properly containerize Google itself. There are so many Google properties that are major parts of the web (many under the Google.com subdomain) that its the only major site I have left to no container by default.


One thing that might help is the DeCentralEyes add on. Basically a local cdn of commonly centralized downloads.

https://decentraleyes.org/


It is funny how people have wildly different experiences. I mainly use firefox on MacOS, use Safari and chrome daily, but a tenth as much. I find firefox to be the best in every way, except maybe battery where safari wins. But I don't even notice that.


Well, people's experience of performance may to some extent be subjective or dependent on hardware. But the two problems I mentioned (very poor search box suggestions, and lack of native form controls) are objectively true. Maybe you just don't care about them. For me, going back to Firefox from Safari (or Chrome for that matter) is a step down in UX.


The facts might be objectively true, but not that they're a problem. I do not want domain names suggested by the browser. If I'm intending to go directly to a domain, I'll type it in.


I think you misunderstood my example. It doesn't autocomplete domain names, it shows search results. For example, type "Hacker" and the top match might be Hacker News. Type Newton and the top hit might be the Wikipedia page for Isaac Newton. And so on. Safari searches in a bunch of sources, not just Google.

Firefox, on the other hand, only shows you searches. It might offer "Isaac Newton" as a search suggestion, but that just triggers a search. It has no knowledge of other sources of information (beyond bookmarks and history).


I have terrible results with mobile safari suggesting items from my bookmarks. I constantly try to go to reddit and get auto completion of a different website that starts with ‘re’, repeatedly. I’ve tried to combat this to no avail.


> Container tabs are a similarly interesting idea with a weird implementation that requires you to micromanage your tabs, which I certainly don't want to, and provides a "techie" solution to something that should just be invisible and default (i.e. all web sites should be "contained").

All websites contained would be an interesting default. With ways to “re-open current tab in container [X]” and “merge current tab with container [Y],” it would involve less micromanaging. That’s still not invisible, the container process and UX warrants plenty of thought.


I think container tabs conflates several things that won't be understandable to non-techies. One is privacy — preventing sites from abusing cross-site concerns such as cookies for tracking.

The other is what could be described as "focus" or "modality". A lot of people use windows as a poor man's workspace. For example, if I'm researching where to travel, I'll have a window open with tons of tabs — Google Flights, Kayak, Tripadvisor, Booking.com, all jammed into one "workspace". If I'm comparison shopping for one specific thing, there'd be Amazon, Jet, Etsy, eBay, etc. This is how people tend to work: Windows separate modes, tabs separate units of focus within that mode. And yet there's no browser that supports such a way of working. We have to accept that people now "live" within the Internet, and need to support different modes. Rather than think of the browser as a shell, why not think of the browser as a world in which you can open up different types of interacting with that world? For example, a Google Doc tab is not something that works very well as a tab. It's a document, representing its own modality. Slack is an app, also its own modality. A "workspace" is something else again. And so on. These are all "applications" in a classical sense, yet work within the context of a user.

I'm not suggesting a ChromeOS, just that what we think of as "the web" could be rethought in terms of different variations — ways to work — with the same thing.

Also, in terms of privacy, why are we still using cookies? Why are we "logging in" and "logging out" of web sites and having password managers that automatically fill out form fields? Why can't the web site negotiate its session with the browser ("I want an identity for gmail.com, please give me one"), which can already know who I am?


You probably have search suggestions in firefox turned off (they may be off by default?).

Works for me when I flip it on https://i.stack.imgur.com/0ZfvX.png . I keep it off because I don't like having my every keystroke in the address bar sent to Google.


No, I don't. You and other commenters are clearly unfamiliar with what Safari can do. I collected a few examples:

https://imgur.com/a/dY2SWKB

Firefox only does search suggestions. In other words, anything you select from the suggestions just go to search results. Safari does that, too, but it also provides actual results. Very often the top hit is the right thing.


I keep finding myself idly wondering... how hard would it _really_ be to write my own modern browser?


I'm not sure I completely understand what you dislike about container tabs.

For me, I find them very useful. It's convenient, for example, to be able to have two side-by-side Gmail tabs open. e.g. one for work email, and one for personal email.


As I commented elsewhere, they don't pass the "grandma test". They're a techie's solution to a problem that shouldn't really exist in the first place, if we'd got "logins" and privacy and so on right.


How many non-expert users actually want to be logged into multiple accounts on the same website at a time? Work + home email is the only use case that comes to mind, and Gmail at least has support for that built in.


I guess I don't see why everything has to pass the grandma test.

But I do see your point that they shouldn't be necessary.


In Firefox preferences, you can change the address bar's suggestions to list history/bookmark matches before search suggestions Or to remove search suggestions altogether.


Yes, but that still does not get you what Safari does.


Also a fan. I'm also switching permanently to Firefox after this incident rather than use multiple browsers depending on the purpose.


Same, I always loved FF but had switched to Chrome maybe 2-3 years ago.

After this incident, I switched to FF Quantum permanently. It has come a long way and honestly I feel more at home in FF after a day than I did in Chrome after everything they've tacked on the browser.

Having read these threads, and personally knowing people in the Chrome team that read these threads, I am almost certain that Google will backtrack this. I know more than a dozen developers that switched from Chrome to FF Quantum this week.


I also switched to Firefox. I wanted to give Opera a try but they also use Chromium, where this feature now exists.

Firefox it is, and they have done a great job with the new version.


Surprised no one has brought I up, but Vivaldi is superior in a dozen ways to Opera (and founded by the original Oper founder).


Wow, just downloaded and I'm very impressed. Vivaldi is a real pleasure to use. Thanks for the recommendation.


FYI it also uses Blink.


I'm a huge fan too but it seems like Mozilla keeps dropping the ball on specific odd, "easy" things. The built-in screenshot tool makes it really easy to accidentally upload private information to a public inage sharing site and the Issue tracking a simple button relabeling has been open for months. They refuse to back down on Pocket integration that still leaves an awful taste in my mouth. The Library/Downloads windows have weird UX behaviors, should probably just be regular tabs, etc.


I never noticed the screenshot tool but, wow, that is some ugly piece of ui. The save button is called "Download" and the upload button is called "Save", holy crap. It sure comes off as someone at Mozilla going "I know, lets shove this new cloud enabled share-your-screenshots-with-everyone thing marketing came up with down every bodies throat via the screenshot tool!"


> It sure comes off as someone at Mozilla going "I know, lets shove this new cloud enabled share-your-screenshots-with-everyone thing marketing came up with down every bodies throat via the screenshot tool!"

This describes their approach to basically every new thing they come up with, and as a long time exclusive Firefox user it's the one thing I really don't like about it. I find it to be a great daily-driver browser but every now and then they'll try to cram some new garbage down your throat.

At least they don't surreptitiously start siphoning your data with without asking first, though.

Edit: As for the screenshot thing being poor, I agree that labeling the upload button 'Save' was quite a faux pas but at least the icons are pretty clear. The 'download' icon is the same as the download manager icon, and the upwards arrow pointing to a cloud is a reasonable representation of 'upload'. I might even use this thing someday.


Pocket is now owned by Mozilla.

I for one am glad that it exists, I love Pocket, the only annoyance I have is that the Firefox integration is not as complete as the Chrome add-on, probably because Firefox users keep bitching and moaning about it.


And maybe if that functionality were in an optional extension it would be easier to add features to it for the users that want it. It's not as if it being an add-on has, in any way, hampered your ability to use it in Chrome.

It's great that you like Pocket. I think it's a bit rude to act like it's unreasonable to have qualms about how it was added (certainly pre-Mozilla owning them) or to be confused about it's inclusion while things like RSS reading/folders, (a not-uncommon browser feature) are removed.

This entire conversation wouldn't need to happen. There wouldn't be unhappy users. There wouldn't be "another side" calling criticism "bitching". They'd get active, enthusiastic user feedback, etc, etc.


While I agree that maybe an official extension would have been better, most of the criticism I'm reading on HN is not warranted or in context, like the comment I'm replying to.

Whenever suggestions pop up for migrating from freaking Chrome, which if we are honest is the new IExplorer 6, to Firefox, somebody has to mention freaking Pocket. And it's tiresome and I don't think it is legitimate.

The presence of Pocket's integration in Firefox can't possibly be the reason for why somebody doesn't want to migrate from Chrome.


I’m a heavy RSS consumer, but I’m absolutely in a minority. RSS features according to Mozilla’s own telemetry are used by an extreme minority of users (I can’t find the exact figures but certainly less than 0.5% of people), and are a fairly large and unmaintained part of a codebase that’s undergoing extensive modification. I’d far rather Mozilla expose some APIs and let people make RSS-based extensions than have it built in and getting in the way of performance work.


It always was. When I started using Firefox it was an alternative to IE6. It was the browser you used if you were a web developer because it had things like Firebug (which Google copied and integrated into Chrome). Chrome didn't convert many Firefox users, it just did a much better job of converting IE users than Firefox ever did, but that's no surprise given that they could directly market it to users through google.com.

Chrome initially was faster than Firefox because it lacked features. This is a common pattern if you've been in this business long enough. Firefox itself was originally the fast-but-cut-down version of Mozilla. Like Firefox, Chrome quickly gained features and bloat and became just as slow as Firefox and everything before it.


Except, by default their primary product was the interface by which may of their users got targeted. They've sat on their hands on privacy for years, offering features for the informed minority, not protecting the majority of their users. It's been Safari and Brave that have started to show proper leadership in protecting users.

Recent attempts I've been making to help teach web developers about the dangers of referers, before they add more tracking pixels or leak reset password links get deleted by Mozilla technical writers because

" We don't think it's appropriate to have a red warning banner at the tops of the pages. That kind of design element is one we try to avoid on MDN unless it's highlighting the very first thing you need to know about the item, which we don't think it is in this case, although we do appreciate that it is important."

Great idea, let's leave the wet floor warning as a note at the end of the corridor.

See here https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Element/im...


I'm a Mozillian who worked on MDN for 5 years, and now work on Firefox Privacy & Security. Most relevantly, I wrote the patch that implements strict-origin-when-cross-origin Referrer policy in Private Browsing Mode.

I certainly trust the MDN team to understand how to arrange their content to match their audience.

I also believe web developers should be more informed about the privacy & security issues of their work. The content you tried to add was verbose without any technical detail or links, and the MDN revision history isn't a great space for content discussion.

Have you tried filing a content bug? It's much easier to converse on bugzilla than thru edit battles.

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/form.doc?bug_file_loc=https%3A/...


Yeah I don't like to change habits, I have been using chrome for as long as it has been around, but when I read that last week I made the jump to firefox. Honestly, outside of not having the option to mute sites (as opposed to muting tabs), I can barely tell the difference. Also it makes it harder than chrome to manage site specific permissions. You have to go into the settings and add some exceptions instead of just changing a setting in top left corner while on the site. But it's otherwise a smooth transition.


well there's always vivaldi or chromium if you want to slowly wein yourself off google


I recently moved back to Firefox from Vivaldi. It's been a good move.

I feel like Firefox is back in the same boat it was in the 90s, but this time fighting Google Chrome instead of IE. But it's a bit different since you have to explicitly download Chrome. It's a bit different since you see an ad to download it right when you hit Google.


Not on Android, and not when you install some other piece of software that surreptitiously bundles Chrome and sets it to default: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/1053973


I started using Firefox because I literally coudn't use Chrome anymore on my PC. Every time I opened Chrome it would hard lock and I needed to ctrl-alt-del, end-task. Even re-installing and clearing out cache and folders didn't help. I haven't been able to open Chrome for months. Using Firefox for 1 week was a bit of usability shock. But it's so awesome once you get used to it. Everything is indeed so much more thoughtful. Every feature.


I'd like to add that the Firefox DevTools are excellent now. For a long time there was this weird stuff with built-in devtools but-you-still-kinda-needed-FireBug and it was a mess (a sufficiently big mess to keep me on a random Blink-based browser), but these days it's just great.

Firefox is a truly great browser, they really made amazing improvements on all fronts in the last years. And I say this as someone who never used Firefox as their daily driver until half a year ago or so.


I try to change this week but I'm unable to make zoom to work well (Chrome is perfect to me. Safari not work neither).

Exist a way to make it work? (ie: Maker a goblal zoom and a per-domain/page)


Stylish addon can do this. Install it then use userstyles website to find the custom script you need.


Stylish apparently had spyware problems after being bought by another company.[1] Stylus[2] is the fork.

[1] https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/software/chrome-and-fi...

[2] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/styl-us/


i use the "Dark Background and Light Text" extension, to use Solarized on every site. You can toggle with F2. Easier to use IMO.


So I must write a css for the zoom to work?


I use Firefox every now and then just for reading articles so my main browser doesn't get bloated with tabs, but it runs far from fantastic on my computer for some reason.

whenever a page loads all the elements move around for a second or two before they settle in their right place. that would crack me up if I had to put up with that all day


Biggest drawback to me after trying Firefox are the lack of simple profiles, as in Chrome, which let me separate work from personal from school when browsing, and the fact that all web development is done for Chrome. So many sites don't work correctly in Firefox that I eventually had to give up on it and move back.


Container tabs can do that from a isolation perspective, though bookmarks will be shared. I have "banking", "google services", "facebook", and the default for other stuff.

>So many sites don't work correctly in Firefox

I've not experienced that.


I switched to Brave - not looking back :)


Thank you for this suggestion. I truly appreciate it. I just dumped Chrome on mobile and started using Firefox. While it is a fast browser it is nothing compared to Brave. I'm completely blown away by this browser. Now I'm going to install Brave on my desktop as well.


FYI I'm also using Brave on my mobile device. It's fantastic there as well.


Does Brave support quality dev tools?


Literally the same as Chrome re: dev tools.

Example: https://i.imgur.com/ZfHnNmX.png


Development tools held me back and why I don't use Mozilla. Using Chrome dev tools on a daily basis keeps me stuck. Also having different profiles for work and personal is super useful (different bookmarks, logins, history that syncs) it's really slick. Does Brave offer this along with 1Password integration?


I really want to use Brave and I've tried it over the course of more than a year, here and there, and every time it crashes when I pin tabs, I haven't checked their bug reports, granted, but how is this not solved by now?


Brave shows promise, but the windows installer won't allow you to run it outside of appdata, a deal breaker.


My browser of choice is Vivaldi, the most features and flexibility. Love it.


It's the best browser objectively, because it has tree style tabs, it's also a bad browser because it doesn't have a native support for tabs on the side.


I'd use firefox despite its schizophrenic features, if it were at least as responsive as chrome, on my mostly-idle home desktop.

Maybe one day, mozilla. Maybe one day.


>Firefox is a truly fantastic browser now

I've been seeing people repeat that for the past 5 years. It turns out to be false though.


Could you please provide reasoning and evidence for this assertion? Benchmarks, for example?


Could you elaborate in this?


My opinion is that the UX is no where near as polished. The history and bookmark features still look like they're from 10 years ago, and subtler things that are just given thought to because there seem to be dedicated UI/UX designer on the chrome team.


> The history and bookmark features still look like they're from 10 years ago

It's actually a selling point for me, I just can't stomach all the material design craps that Chrome forces on me where a page lost like 70% of usable space to useless whitespace.


I agree with both of you, really, both interfaces are shit. Chrome has that hideous whitespace that's wasteful even for touch interfaces, let alone for mouse+keyboard, and Firefox has a cumbersome and too basic interface. I can't even do an advanced search on my bookmarks.


While I switched back to Firefox a while ago due to loss of trust in Google, it should not be forgotten that they support DRM on the web.


Google’s, no less! (Widevine.)

At least for me, on Linux, it’s always been opt-in, and plenty of the versions of Firefox packaged by distro maintainers get rid of it all together.


They do, (I imagine if Netflix wouldn't work, they would lose users), but at least it's opt-in.


I really want to like Firefox (or any of the alternative browsers mentioned here for that matter), but I frequently use my Surface in tablet mode and the only browsers with acceptable touch screen support on Windows are Edge and Chrome. Last I checked, this still didn't seem to be a priority for Firefox.


What exactly do you mean? (Honest question) Firefox works great on my tablet.


They've actually fixed a number of minor issues over the past year or so, but Firefox still doesn't support pinch zoom on Windows[1]. Being able to reorder tabs using the touchscreen would also be nice, but not as critical.

[1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=688990


Reordering tabs via touch should work, it was fixed in Firefox 59 (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1362065). And yes, pinch zoom is not supported (we do text/reflowing zoom, but not mobile-style pinch zoom). It's something that's being worked on but there's a lot of dependencies in order to get it done.


Thanks -- I didn't realize that reordering tabs had been fixed. It only works on the active tab[1] and I guess I've only ever tried moving inactive tabs before. It's not perfect, but so far seems better than in Edge (which allows reordering of inactive tabs but is often rather janky) and Chrome (which has no ability to scroll the tab bar, so tabs quickly get uselessly tiny).

[1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1362065#c57


Ah, good point. You should still be able to reorder background tabs using the double-tap-drag gesture (touchdown, touchup, touchdown, touchmove). I haven't tried it recently though.

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