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Chrome's main appeal was that it was much faster than firefox and IE. At everything. I had no technical knowledge when chrome came out, was using firefox, tried chrome, never looked back.

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.

I've had to use both on and off for years.

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

Until the Firefox quantum update, the reason a lot of sites only worked in Chrome, was that it was the only browser with kind of decentish performance.

This is plain wrong.

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.

Very well is relative. Chrome is better, even now, from a feature and performance perspective, but the tradeoff has become acceptable for a sense of privacy.

That’s my opinion anyway.

Won't argue about the performance, you might very well be right and I cannot prove anything.

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.)

My issue with Firefox is that it's just slower. I've read the articles showing that the rendering engine is just as fast or faster, and I don't doubt it, but it definitely feels a lot slower in real-life tasks with dozens of tabs and windows, constantly switching, opening, closing. I know Chrome "fakes" it's speediness using tricks, but I wish Firefox did the same.

I don't know who downvoted you but here's my upvote. Your experience is as valid as mine.

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 :-)

Rather Electrolysis. Switched it on when it was not default yet, and happy with it. That killed the performance plus for Chrome (Chromium at least), but either way I was never satisfied enough with Chromium.

While Chrome was definitely very good, it did benefit from a huge worldwide marketing campaign, even without counting omnipresent ads on Google properties, or tech evangelism.

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).

I've used firefox and never bothered with chrome as a daily driver. The speed issue is entirely marketing driven. Nobody cares about a few tenths of a second of load times until the ads were shoving stats down our throats that chrome was so much faster

Firefox is and has always been perfectly adequate, except maybe for a few html5 canvas type apps.

No one is quite the overstatement, and I suspect it is completely wrong. Anecdotally, I and several people I know switched to Chrome when it came out due to it's blazing speed.

It would seem that was the case for many more people, see for example for a fairly old article: https://www.cnet.com/news/why-i-switched-from-firefox-to-chr...

Of course, many were using plugins with Firefox which contributed to the speed advantage of Chrome. But milliseconds matter, even program startup time.

It wasn’t entirely market driven. Chrome was collectively faster, smoother and tab crashes were isolated which was critical back then. My dad was firmly middle aged when it came out and was very attached to Firefox. After a few debates we did some very unscientific desktop-to-page render comparisons as well as loading some pretty js heavy sites and chrome beat Firefox handily.

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.

Sounds like your Dad would not have switched without your advocacy.

It was less about advocacy and more about arguing with him. I was a teenager at the time eager to best him in any argument I could.

True as that may be, we're arguing that you would not have argued it had Chrome not been advertised the way it was.

Firefox was incredibly slow by that time. It was having maintainability problems for a few years, with unfixed memory leaks, deadlocks and core instabilities. Mozilla had a large ongoing effort for fixing those things, but it took some time until they got results.

Javascript heavy sites were also very slow on every browser, except for Chrome that invested in a good JS interpreter.

back then, for me, there was a massive qualitative difference between chrome and the rest. i didn't have any particular preference, but chrome just was a far superior user experience.

> The fact that you're emphasizing ads over the very real performance advantages just means you've got an axe to grind.

Alternatively, it could mean that, like me, they had NoScript installed when Chrome came out[0], making Firefox genuinely faster by dint of brute do-less-stuff-ism.

0: or when we heard about it anyway.

I'm not sure why so many HN posters feel the need to boast about not executing JavaScript.

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.

> 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.

I surmise it is because HN attracts a higher percentage of critical thinkers than many other boards. A startling amount of JS on the web falls into the following categories: 1) Advertisement 2) Tracking 3) Useless animation I don't care for any of those things. I generally prefer simple html pages that load <1 second, take very few resources, do not track any information about me, and don't use any mouse-reactive animations while I'm trying to get work done.

It's more likely that most of the "critical thinkers" you speak of write JavaScript for money everyday. Even on HN the amount of JS blockers is tiny but it seems higher because they always have to mention they block JS.

So is "I block JS" the new "I don't own a TV"?

FWIW, I also don't use a TV[0]; I just don't bring it up often because it's rarely relevant. I brought up javascript because javascript is usualy the reason why <any webbrowser that executes javascript> is slower than <any webbrowser that doesn't executes javascript>. See "do less stuff".

0: unless you count monitors as TVs, or disassembly-for-parts as use.

I also don't own a TV. And as soon as I go vegan, I'll gain superpowers and ascend into the Mothership, where I can hang out with Tom Cruise and Ronny Hubbard!

Compare firefox or Opera market progression back in IE heydays to chrome progression when it came out.

Marketing and the antitrust against MS are the difference.

> The fact that you're emphasizing ads over the very real performance advantages just means you've got an axe to grind.

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.

IIRC, it was faster than Firefox 3 specifically, which caused many FF users to migrate. Something happened between FF2 and FF3, since the latter appeared noticeably slower.

YES! I remember Firefox 2 being so much faster than 3 that I kept using it until most websites started to break. Then I switched to Chrome.

> Maybe I installed chrome because I saw an ad

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.

For me it was a nice UX that kept me on chrome... the performance was really nice too. There was some chrome in IE extension iirc that I pushed for around 2010, as one of our SPA applications tended to really bloat in IE7-8, and worked fine in chrome and ff. (Note this was an actual application, not a website)

Heh, that just shows how wide chasms can be. I find Chrome's UX to be horrible (and unfixable), and it's why I never adopted it.

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.

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