Among the tech crowd, probably. For the remaining 99.99% of users, absolutely not. Chrome's appeal came from the pervasive advertisement campaigns, from the bundling strategy with other pieces of software, for the pre-installation on new computers or from the ads on Google SEarch homepage.
It's not really possible to separate out the effects of advertising from the effects of the product actually being better. Maybe I installed chrome because I saw an ad, but I stopped using firefox because it was clear that chrome was better. The fact that you're emphasizing ads over the very real performance advantages just means you've got an axe to grind.
My patience with software is small but I had few issues with Firefox except on Google properties.
Not saying your experience didn't happen but it doesn't match mine.
I even used to be a Google fan and without being able to pinpoint a date I have memories of trying (and failing to) start using Chrome as my default browser at least once.
So I agree with GP and personally think the real story is more that Chrome:
- had massive marketing budgets and misleading campaigns
- won a number of benchmarks (but nothing to write home about on my Linux or Windows boxes)
- sometime between 2009 and now web developers forgot what we fought for when we fought against IE until 2009: that sites should work in all mainstream browsers. We didn't fight so much to kill IE as to let everybody else live.
- Suddenly sites started showing up that only worked in Chrome. Every new browser including modern versions of IE is more capable than anything we had back then and we also have polyfills and whatnot and so if someone cannot be bothered to do basic testing in more than one browser then I don't know what.
- I cannot say that Google was the worst but they certainly have had their "weird issues that doesn't affect Chrome". And I cannot say they did it on purpose and everyone is innocent until proven guilty but let me say that for a company that almost prints their own money their QA departement might have been slightly understaffed :-P
1. Firefox worked very well, thank you and I'm no natural saint when it comes to patience with software.
2. I am frontend (and backend) developer so I should know the difference between using bleeding edge features that doesn't exist in all browsers yet, non standard quirks that developers abuse, and performance problems.
That’s my opinion anyway.
Feel free to expand on what features you still miss in Firefox that exists in Chrome though.
Looking from the other side Chromes extension API looks like a toy compared to Firefox, even after Mozilla "nerfed" it. (And ours is improving while Chrome is actively trying to remove even some of the most used features from theirs.)
I wish we could be honest about things like you && at the same time behave like grown ups.
Yes: I've been arguing against a couple of Chrome fans here but hopefully only when they're plain wrong or are presenting their personal ideas as truisms without any evidence :-)
All this at a time when Mozilla was spending lots of time trying to come up with a good Firefox 4.0, and was about to bet the farm on Firefox OS (and lose).
Firefox is and has always been perfectly adequate, except maybe for a few html5 canvas type apps.
It would seem that was the case for many more people, see for example for a fairly old article:
Of course, many were using plugins with Firefox which contributed to the speed advantage of Chrome. But milliseconds matter, even program startup time.
He still took a while to come around and ultimately it was the tab isolation that convinced him. Tabs were a critical component to how he did research and a few crashes were all it took.
Alternatively, it could mean that, like me, they had NoScript installed when Chrome came out, making Firefox genuinely faster by dint of brute do-less-stuff-ism.
0: or when we heard about it anyway.
All that means is that you've opted out of the web that the rest of the world is using. Good for you. But people who have disabled JS make up such a small porportion of web users (~.2% of pageviews) that your experience is pretty much irrelevant to the question of general browser trends.
I'd also bet that Chrome was faster at painting pages than Firefox, so it wasn't just a JS engine advantge.
That may very well have been true, but if Chrome spends 10 cycles rendering the page and 100 cycles executing malware, and Firefox spends 20 cycles rendering the page and zero cycles executing malware, Chrome still loses despite being being twice as fast at the only thing that matters.
0: unless you count monitors as TVs, or disassembly-for-parts as use.
Marketing and the antitrust against MS are the difference.
No, it means I have a mother, siblings, friends, colleagues, ... that understand next to nothing to computers and would probably not even notice if I switched them from Chrome to Edge. And if any of them use Chrome, it is definitely not out of a conscious choice.
With all due respect, the single fact that you are commenting here on HN makes you more tech-literate than an overwhelming majority of the Web users. For a simple experiment, got to see your mom/dad, and just ask them what browser they are using, and why. IME, in every case, they will tell you they use ‶Google″, because they are not even necessarily aware of the whole browser concept, just accessing ‶The Internet″ – and I say it without any contempt; I'd be unable to do the tenth of what they are able to do in other fields.
Once again, I'm not saying that Chrome had/has not technical advantages; I'm saying that they were not decisive in making people switch.
Or maybe you did because it was drive-by installed with other software, like common malware, something Google paid millions for.
Imagine if MS did anything similar with any of their products. There would be no end to the outrage.
Firefox's has been horrible for a long time, but at least (until they dropped the old extension system) it was possible to fix it.
Google's primary objective for Chrome and Android was simply to get people to use the internet more, on the (entirely reasonable) assumption that they'd probably use Google and they would see a lot of AdSense units. They invested heavily in getting better software into the hands of as many users as possible. Of course they harvest a whole bunch of user data, but dragging up the quality of the browsing experience was a far bigger factor IMO.
Would Edge exist if Chrome had never happened? Would Firefox have a fast JS engine and proper sandboxing? What would the non-Apple smartphone market look like without Android? Whether you like Google's business practices or not, they've massively increased our expectations of browser software, in the same way that Starbucks created a world where you can buy a half-decent cappuccino in McDonalds.
Google paid Apple 12 billion dollars last year to be the default search engine in Safari and another half billion to Firefox for the same. Google's primary objectives with Chrome was to lower that amount and to guard their monopoly on search.
by technical users
I imagine the general public still trusts them all the same or maybe even more.
I was a non technical users when chrome come out. I was studying civil engineering then in college. I certainly like Google as a symbol of freedom and technology superiority in the more pure sense than msft.
Bingo! Thank you for pointing this out. For those younger readers, Chrome's penetration was forceful and uninvited. A browser add-on/search hijacker/ persistant spyware known as Google Toolbar was it's predecessor project from Google. It was an epidemic across the PC landscape for half a decade and all those infected machines became Chromes initial foothold. There's plenty of positives from the project, but for Chrome to achieve browser monopoly status, user consent sure did seem to get sacrificed.
- a bit unrelated but installer was a shim, ~downloading it took 3 seconds and 500kB
- Few buttons
- Transient status bar
- Transient download widget
- Good ergonomics (easy to close tabs in rapid successions without moving your mouse, the next one would fall in place)
- Clear preference panel
- Maybe later: pdf support and print dialog
With all due respect, none of the pluses you mentioned would be a reason for a random, tech-illiterate, using-a-computer-for-FB person to install Chrome.
Now, I still struggle to move to firefox as I'm on a retina MBP, where firefox riles up my cpu and drains my battery.
I get that they have limited resources but it makes getting people to switch (and stay) on Firefox increasingly hard if it cuts battery life of their laptop nearly in half.
In the meantime, setting gfx.compositor.glcontext.opaque to true in about:config helps battery life significantly, at the cost of rounded corners and vibrancy.
Also, coincidentally, do you know what exactly causes the H264 problem on macOS? I've tried to track it down in bugzilla to no success, but I am 100% sure it is a bug. The energy impact for playing a H264 YouTube video in Safari has an energy impact of ~25. Firefox used to be ~60, but these days its ~180 (!)
> In the meantime, setting gfx.compositor.glcontext.opaque to true in about:config helps battery life significantly, at the cost of rounded corners and vibrancy.
Thanks for this! :)
I think CA was only moved to the window server relatively recently. Before then, my understanding is that it simply used OpenGL in-process, so it had no energy advantages over Firefox's built-in compositor. There was also a long time when the APIs to host CA content in the window server were private APIs and only Safari could use them.
> Also, coincidentally, do you know what exactly causes the H264 problem on macOS?
I believe, but am not sure, that H.264 is decoded in software in Firefox but is decoded in hardware in Safari.
> I believe, but am not sure, that H.264 is decoded in software in Firefox but is decoded in hardware in Safari.
I am 100% certain it is (was?) on Firefox as well, because it would have been impossible to hit the aforementioned 60 energy impact without hardware acceleration. This is done through VideoToolBox, but that might have changed.
Firefox and Edge eventually adopted Chrome's design choices to have more content area, no "File, Edit, View" menu bar and an integrated search and address bar. But for years Chrome was ahead.
Guess who sets up the computers for the remaining 99.99%?
If you seduce the tech crowd, you also get the other users.