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Google Chrome's fear of Microsoft Edge is revealing its bad side (laptopmag.com)
309 points by joshlittle 39 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 277 comments

This is just like when Google Maps was blocked on Windows Phone[1] and when they decided to block YouTube as well[2]. Microsoft now finds themselves in the same position their competitors found themselves in the IE6 era. Google is behaving, if anything, worse, and using its massive reach and user base to stifle competition.

This is deeply disappointing, and all the more reason Microsoft never should have adopted Chromium. They will eventually have to maintain a hard fork, the differences will grow such that they eventually have to increase their engineering spend on it to keep pace with just managing the rebases and patches or reimplement features themselves, and despite all the good will they had for the Chromium team they will see none of it returned by the larger Google/Alphabet corporation.

They should have based Edge on Gecko and invested money in taking marketshare away from Chromium so that the W3C/WHATWG can operate as intended with multiple implementations for a single specification. Instead they embraced the Chrome monoculture and were either treated in bad faith or the Chromium team mistakenly believed everything would be fine with a reset in relations. The result will be that Google retains a veto on web technology that competes with them for the next decade or more.

Use Firefox, everyone.

[1] https://mashable.com/2013/01/05/google-maps-windows-phone/

[2] https://www.theverge.com/2013/8/16/4627342/microsoft-google-...

>They will eventually have to maintain a hard fork, the differences will grow such that they eventually have to increase their engineering spend on it to keep pace with just managing the rebases and patches or reimplement features themselves,

This sounds dramatic but Microsoft is a company with 150000 employees. Maintaining a fork of Chromium while open source development continues is probably not an insurmountable feat, and I don't see why it is in principle more work than switching to and contributing to Gecko.

If it is that easy and obvious why did they stop working on their own engine then?

probably because nobody was using their browser any more? (other than people who can't delete it from their work computers I guess)

In terms of market share Chromium has essentially won. It's where all the addons are, it's what websites are being optimised for, and so on.

Companies don't throw money at products just because they can.


> "It's pretty clear we need to make sure Windows 3.1 only runs on top of MS DOS or an OEM version of it," and "The approach we will take is to detect dr 6 and refuse to load. The error message should be something like 'Invalid device driver interface.'"

Microsoft isn't the gorilla it used to be, but never forget it is a gorilla, and knows how to play the gorilla game.

If Google becomes sufficiently annoying, Microsoft can say "Well, sure, Google's Chrome isn't very fast on Windows, and crashes every so often. Google must be slipping. Here, Edge is just as good, being practically the same technology, and it's from us, your friend, so you know it won't crap out at the worst possible moment."

Given the ads in Windows [1] showing a very similar thing, but targeted against Firefox, I’d say it’s inevitable.

[1]: https://www.techradar.com/news/windows-10-gets-cheeky-with-a...

Chrome bypassed a lot of security policies by installing itself in the user profile instead of the normal installation in the Program Files folder, because otherwise it would have never been allowed in many corporate environments.

Microsoft can manipulate Windows to make Chrome look bad, but while this could have been useful fifteen years ago against other less popular software, now Windows has serious competition in the form of smartphones and tablets.

Microsoft can't do anything about Android. And people are using Android instead of Windows to browse the Web more and more every day.

I generally dislike this, and it's still not a great situation but I'd be down to see google to be put in their place to be honest.

Sadly, I tried Firefox for a while, and it's big enough of a downgrade compared to Chrome that I went back.

A hard fork of Chromium specifically for Edge might not be the worse thing ever. Having two independently maintained versions of that engine might be enough to force more standardization than in a Chrome-only world.

It totally depends on when you did try Firefox.

Two years ago Firefox was such a downgrade I concur.

One year ago the reverse was true and I switched to Firefox without regrets.

When was this? Recently it's great for me - better than Chrome - with the exception that some extensions are Chrome-specific (meaning you have to repackage them for FF).

Hey, can you point me to a good guide for repackaging extensions?

actually it may not work for all extension as chrome uses different api than firefox webextension standard api. I must say firefox extension api is far better than chrome one.

I tried to switch to Firefx once or twice before and failed.

Just managed to finally make the switch.

As silly as it sounds, feature parity on selecting and moving groups of tabs between windows was a big factor.

I still use Chrome at work for development, though.

i tried firefox and actually it is very better now. Last 6 month ago it was not good but now devtools etc is also good. Still not the best but its better than giving every data to google :D

Microsoft literally uses the same strategy against Firefox users in windows. They all play this sketchy game

And Google, too, uses the same strategy against Firefox users on Google-owned sites.

> is behaving

Google has always been this- they use OSS for PR and are bigger enemies of openness than Microsoft. They just had the luxury to pretend otherwise

As a web developer, I just can't buy into firefox. The chrome/chromium dev tools are far superior.

I also tried using chrome as a "work" browser and firefox for the rest, but it's all a big mess. Not to mention that a lot of pages are not working well.

I am now using Brave to at least mitigate the privacy nightmare of Chrome.

lot of pages not working already indicates why google is taking advantage right? First make stuff that don't work on firefox and later people complain its firefox issue. Yea brave is good choice for developers :)

the thing is that having a different rendering engine is no longer an advantage. on the contrary, it gets in the way. as a web developer i'd prefer that there only be one browser i need to support, that is, one rendering engine, that guarantees that my site works everywhere.

as a user i want new features to work and be taken up quickly. i don't want to be told that a website doesn't work in my browser, or worse, have it fail silently.

different browser are fine for the UI, tab handling, bookmarks, extensions, etc. but rendering a website should work uniformly without fail.

the reason why we need multiple rendering engines is because monoculture is bad for security and it's also not a good idea to allow a single company to define how the web works.

however, most users or developers don't care to much about that.

if that rendering engine would be developed and maintained by an independent consortium like mozilla, then this would actually be sort of acceptable, as it would at least solve the monopoly problem (if a resource is best managed as a monopoly, then that monopoly must be owned by the community at large, and not by a company with selfish commercial interests.)

it wouldn't solve the security problem however.

Meanwhile your Firefox suffers from really, really bad governance in a suit-dominated organization. The CEO is milking way too much from the sinking ship. The priorities are somewhere else from what people want.

that's other stuff but the privacy principle is still there and we only care about that right? Its the software we care right not their management stuff?

This strategy would have been worse for Microsoft and furthermore it would have been ineffective at achieving your own desire.

Old Edge was already getting the same treatment from web developers as Firefox. If they picked up Gecko they might as well have just stayed with old Edge for even less effort.

> Microsoft now finds themselves in the same position their competitors found themselves in the IE6 era.

Could you please give some examples ? Did windows ever blocked a competitors product ?


> The AARD code was a segment of code in a beta release of Microsoft Windows 3.1 that would determine whether Windows was running on MS-DOS or PC DOS, rather than a competing workalike such as DR-DOS, and would result in a cryptic error message in the latter case. This XOR-encrypted, self-modifying, and deliberately obfuscated machine code used a variety of undocumented DOS structures and functions to perform its work, and appeared in the installer, WIN.COM, and several other executables in the OS.[1]


> Microsoft had several methods of detecting and sabotaging the use of DR-DOS with Windows, one incorporated into "Bambi", the code name that Microsoft used for its disk cache utility (SMARTDRV) that detected DR-DOS and refused to load it for Windows 3.1. The AARD code trickery is well-known, but Caldera is now pursuing four other deliberate incompatibilities. One of them was a version check in XMS in the Windows 3.1 setup program which produced the message: "The XMS driver you have installed is not compatible with Windows. You must remove it before setup can successfully install Windows."

I think question was about ie6 era, which is like 2001.

In 2001 US v Microsoft was still ongoing and Microsoft was just about to sign their consent decree with the USDOJ[1]. Those kinds of shenanigans weren't really possible for them until the consent decrees expired.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft_Cor....

1999 and 2001 are only 2 years apart though...

They find themselves in the same position of being a minority with a powerful, majority market share competitor that has the ability to put their products front and center (e.g.: on google.com and other Google properties).

I think the IE6 era was bad for the web for a lot of reasons, but fortunately the investigations into Microsoft made it harder for them to abuse their overwhelming marketshare.

It was incredible to me how aggressively Microsoft came out supportive of the Chrome team and how loudly they discussed the wonderful amount of collaboration the two companies had been up to since starting work on the new Edge.

I've seen Googlers responding to Edge developers about how they'll get some mishandling of Edge fixed internally at Google. But really, this is just the same story as before:

The "oops" have begun: https://www.zdnet.com/article/former-mozilla-exec-google-has...

Pretty interesting article.

> "Google Chrome ads started appearing next to Firefox search terms. Gmail & [Google] Docs started to experience selective performance issues and bugs on Firefox. Demo sites would falsely block Firefox as 'incompatible'," he said.

> "All of this is stuff you're allowed to do to compete, of course. But we were still a search partner, so we'd say 'hey what gives?' And every time, they'd say, 'oops. That was accidental. We'll fix it in the next push in 2 weeks.'

> "Over and over. Oops. Another accident. We'll fix it soon. We want the same things. We're on the same team. There were dozens of oopses. Hundreds maybe?"

> "I'm all for 'don't attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence' but I don't believe Google is that incompetent. I think they were running out the clock. We lost users during every oops. And we spent effort and frustration every clock tick on that instead of improving our product. We got outfoxed for a while and by the time we started calling it what it was, a lot of damage had been done," Nightingale said.

You can do a lot more damage as a trusted friend than you can as a known enemy.

> Google Chrome ads started appearing next to Firefox search terms

Why don't webdevs fight back and put "best viewed on Firefox" pop-ups on their pages (whenever the user is using Chrome).

Microsoft can and does do this now in retaliation, they own enough web properties that this makes a difference. Firefox doesn’t have a huge web presence though, nothing anywhere on par with Google advertising their browser in their search engine and email client.

Unfortunately, from my experience many third party web developers only test in Chrome, and hence actually encourage Chrome use even when there’s no incompatibility with Firefox or Edge.

If browser market share trends are comparable among webdevs & non-webdevs, a majority of webdevs are still using Chrome as their primary browser.

Perhaps Firefox should invest more heavily on developer tools then.

I’ve started doing this. In the case of CCPA, GDPR disclosures and “do not track” requirements I suggest uninstalling Chrome and all Google software and switching to Firefox with proper as locking software enabled. I think Google is compliant with neither, and if a user is actually concerned about their privacy they definitely shouldn’t be using Chrome.

It would be great to understand the downvotes on this.

Chrome/Chromium phones home, period. Last time I've personally checked this [1] was still true.

It's hard to argue that Google doesn't have an interest on collecting as much data it can. Especially, since their heavy focus on ML, where the algorithms are very data-hungry.

[1] https://old.reddit.com/r/Chromium/comments/3fgabt/privacy_is...

Netscape Now!

browser is too important piece of everyday computing for the masses to leave in the hands of Big Corp. This is why my family uses Firefox

> Why don't webdevs fight back

Seems to be fairly common to see a “works on Chrome, my job is done” attitude. Especially with SPAs.

I worry that we’re going to see another generation of crappy line of business apps that only work (badly) in one browser because of this attitude.

As someone who uses neither a Chromium-based browser nor Firefox, I certainly would not like that. Web devs shouldn't be deciding what tools users use to view their pages. They should strive to create sites that work on anything.

I don't see how that would be a true statement in almost any context, barring specifically using features that you know Chrome doesn't work well with or going through the chromium bug tracker to find things to do that break Chrome.

If developers use Firefox instead of Chrome you do get some rendering bugs in Chrome. Standard compliance have gotten much better, but at one point in my last project Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox where all doing different things while I was trying to fix an odd CSS issue.

I had something similar, then I dug into it and found that my CSS was not specified correctly. After looking into the spec, I realized that what I thought Firefox was doing wrong, was actually the correct behavior. Chrome and Edge just covered up my mistake is all.

Yes. It's easy to end up being confused by different applications of Postel's Law.

This is part of the reason I use Safari as my default browser

I hope this is a joke. Safari is easily the worst of the big four, and view web standards as suggestions that are to be ignored at any time. My company doesn't support IE anymore, but safari, not edge, is the new hated browser for web dev for sure.

Compared to what, Chrome? It took them how long to get position sticky, backdrop filters, etc? Meanwhile Google views web standards as their property they can willy-nilly do with what they please.

I’m still irritated that only Safari implements tail call elimination as specified in the ES6 spec.

Talking from the user perspective ? The chrome/ram meme are enough to explain the issue And I’m sure macbook owners care about battery more than what you think !

And for the argument of Safari is the hated browser I’m more than okey with that at least they still test for it (I feel sorry for Firefox because the oups we didn’t test blablabla

I use Safari so that someone captures user issues that result from developing for Chrome. Other people on the team use mostly Firefox/Chrome so we have coverage of all the major browsers we target.

Why? Safari is the worst out of all of the current options as far as CSS rendering goes.

So not everyone on my team is using Chrome to view the sites we’re working on.

But also, ime, Safari has the best UX of all the browsers I’ve tried.

> [Google] Docs started to experience selective performance issues and bugs on Firefox

As a firefox user, the thing that annoys the hell out of me is the inability to use the mouse menu for cut and paste in Google Docs unless you're using chrome. I don't understand why it forces you to use the keyboard shortcut. I'm an emacs user, and find the windows-y keyboard shortcuts foreign, so I have to think about them, and prefer just using the right-click mouse menu.

> I'm an emacs user, and find the windows-y keyboard shortcuts foreign, so I have to think about them, and prefer just using the right-click mouse menu.

it's a little surprising to me that you can't remember cut, copy, and paste that works on any computer in the last two decades but can remember all of the esoteric emacs shortcuts, which include references to a key that doesn't even exist.

Emacs is unchanged muscle memory for the last 30+ years. Cut is ctrl-k (or ctrl-w depending on your perspective), yank is ctrl-y. How many WYSIWYG editors have risen and died in that time? How many desktop environments?

And the "cut copy and paste that works on any computer" -- on a windows pc its ctrl-blah, and on a mac its cmd-blah.

I just tried this in Firefox and it worked fine?

I think it was recently fixed, because I remember getting the messages gp mentions but haven’t for a while now.

For me, Copy works but Paste results in dialog telling me to use the keyboard.

I used to have this problem but the behaviour has changed and it works fine now.

I just got it today, with firefox 73

This whole thing seems somewhat ridiculous to me. If there is intent here (which evidence seems to dictate that there is), then Google is playing a very short-term game and Google’s strength has been it’s long-term thinking.

There’s not even much to argue about: web tech is standardized, and each vendor can (and should) be held to an objective measurement o how well they implement the spec. When MS chooses to make spec-compliant sites, they should be easily (and even publicly) able to say “hey your browser is out of spec, and this is why”.

Just so odd to think that these sort of classroom politics still happen.

> All of this is stuff you're allowed to do to compete, of course.

Is it though? It blows my mind how Google gets a pass on stuff like this. Way back when MS got slapped for monopolistic practices the key argument was that by bundling IE with Windows they were leveraging their dominant position in desktop OSs to gain an unfair advantage in another industry (browsers/web, via IE).

Meanwhile Google leverages their position in search, email, etc. to push Chrome and whatever else, and no one bats an eye.

Presumably there's an investigation ongoing in the US: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/sep/09/google-an...

That's besides the EU's investigation and fine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_vs._Google#Andr...

Or bundling Chrome and Android

Supposedly they now ask users in the EU which browser they want to use: https://www.blog.google/around-the-globe/google-europe/suppo...

I can't say I've ever seen that dialog, though.

I got a popup telling me I could install other browsers, and some directions on how to do so. I knew it had to be in response to the EU case, but you couldn't tell from the phrasing that they did it involuntarily.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

> Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Ironically, it seems Google did just that to the detriment of Mozilla. Browser Wars are such shit-shows.

>Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Whoever said that didn't have many enemies.

- Stannis Baratheon

> You can do a lot more damage as a trusted friend than you can as a known enemy.

Reminds me of the Young Pope's first episode.

"Friendly relationships are dangerous. They lend themselves to ambiguities, misunderstandings, and conflicts, and they always end badly. Formal relationships, on the other hand, are as clear as spring water."

In my opinion, it's very difficult to use a Windows machine as your daily driver as a Software Engineer at Google. Windows VMs are banned by corporate policy. Getting an extra Windows laptop to test things requires a business reason and approval from a VP.

> "When I started at Mozilla in 2007 there was no Google Chrome, and most folks we spoke with inside [Google] were Firefox fans," Nightingale recollected in a Twitter thread on Saturday.

> "When Chrome launched...

... many of those same folks started to use Chrome, making it easier to miss Firefox bugs?

Jonathan Nightingale is claiming a company-wide conspiracy ("coordinated plan" in Jonathan's words) across "hundreds" of different product teams could be executed without any Firefox users or other internal Mozilla sympathizers picking up on it.

We're talking Google here: they have a hard enough time coordinating internally when they're openly trying.

This seems like a very complicated theory when the natural consequences of everyone switching to a different product provide an obvious and ready explanation for what we're seeing.

Ideally developers ought to test everything across different browsers, I agree, but we know in practice developers are only human and humans are lazy. And testing is still no substitute for using a browser day in and day out.

I want better support for Firefox and other browsers, but blaming lack of support on a conspiracy is an easy cop-out that doesn't help us address the real issues at stake.

> We're talking Google here: they have a hard enough time coordinating internally when they're openly trying.

Yet for some reason each oops only resulted in Google's favor. It's like slipping on banana peel and doing a perfect backflip. Every time.

> We're talking Google here: they have a hard enough time coordinating internally when they're openly trying.

Which is an interesting point here: is Google a drunken master pretending to be an incompetent but way more coordinated than they appear or is Google simply an incompetent company whose left hand never knows what its right hand is doing, but yet has been extremely lucky at pretending to be competent?

(Either way, given such history how can you trust anything about Google if they seem so uncoordinated and prone to so many "oops"?)

If you replace "friend" with "courtesan" or "prostitute" your analysis is correct.

>The "oops" have begun...

Try running gmail in firefox. It's abysmal. A single click takes a few seconds to open email. This is malice, not incompetence. And I'm not even going to get into the whole endless captcha on firefox 'feature'.

Another thing: every single time I use Google to search for a Firefox extension such as uBlock Origin or anything else that is available on both browsers, the equivalent Chrome extension is consistently the first result.

It knows my user agent. It knows very well that the Firefox extension is the relevant result. This is 100% done out of malice.

I really, really, suspect that the Google search isn't even close to that smart, that active malice comes in. Pure statistics would put the Chrome version of something higher than the Firefox version due to sheer weight of user-base.

Nor are user-agents in any way reliable.

Nor are user-agents in any way reliable.

Reliable enough to constantly break, penalize and nag me for using Firefox in other ways, apparently. This happens and is well-documented, not a conspiracy theory.

I agree with you. Given the current browser market share it would make sense for Chrome extensions to be more popular than Firefox's without any special-case meddling.

It does surprise me how unpopular this sentiment is. Maybe people don't like the idea that most of the algorithms that they interact with a pretty stupid and just weight things by frequency? It does seem like people attribute considerably more intelligence to algorithms than there actually are there.

It's not uncommon that I'll have a customer try to tell me that some search or selection algorithm in our product that I wrote is making use of unknowable information to bias it's results.

I don't really get it either, I don't think it's super controversial. I think there's an angry mob going after Google and anything not going in that sense is aggressively downvoted.

I think that the anger is justified but it doesn't justify making up poorly substantiated conspiracy theories. The hard facts are enough to see what Google is doing anyway, no need to write fanfiction.

Speaking of hard facts, I'm sure that before you decided to call my claim a "poorly substantiated conspiracy theory" you have verified that Google does not alter search results based on user-agent, i.e. by doing the same searches in blank installs of Firefox and Chrome on the same computer, right?

"Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by malice" -Hacker News

This is a systematic issue with many of Google's services. They have the money and manpower to test their interface on Firefox. We're talking about a modern, generally standard-compliant browser here, not IE6. Getting those websites to perform decently on Firefox shouldn't be a problem for Google.

I can believe that they don't purposefully break Firefox for the sake of it, but it's clear that they make no effort to make their websites compatible and they don't appear to consider these issues like bugs. If it works on Chrome then it's good enough. I suspect that internally compatibility issues with Firefox are not even considered bugs at all, it's just the way it is and it's up to Mozilla to fix their browsers to be compatible with Chromium (I have no insider knowledge, but it's the way it feels from the outside).

It's an artifact of how they develop and test software. And ultimately Firefox suffered these bugs because their product wasn't compelling.

Googlers push new code to production regularly, with the cycles getting faster all the time. It used to be biweekly (as the article alludes). Then it was weekly. Then it was daily. Then it was "push on every green build".

If you push to production literally the moment your test suite passes, then your browser compatibility is a function of two things:

1. What the engineers developing a feature use.

2. What is easiest to build automatic test suites with.

In both cases the answer was Chrome and Chrome. Firefox has never had good support for API driven embedding. Embedded Gecko never took off. The automated GUI test drivers that became popular were mostly WebKit/Chrome based, with some support for IE and using it via RDP to a VM. Nobody forces Googlers to use any particular browser but Chrome was the best so that's what they used.

Also, Google culturally is always on the bleeding/cutting edge of HTML stuff. So it's more likely to hit edge cases than others.

Result: occasional glitches where Firefox bugs or Google app bugs intersected. They always got fixed quickly when reported. Only crazy people would think this was some conspiracy involving tens of thousands of developers who mysteriously never leaked their evil plan.

Mozilla would have done themselves a world of benefit if they'd been pushing hard their own CI/integrated Gecko based test suite and made it the best.

> They always got fixed quickly when reported.

Having been involved in a number of these reports, this is flat-out false. Basic "fix your CSS to not rely on this Chrome bug; here's the exact diff you want to make it work both in browsers that follow the CSS spec and in Chrome" things regularly take 2-3 months to apply on the Google side. Basic "your browser user-agent sniffing is broken _again_ in the same way as three months ago" things take a month or two to fix.

Disclosure: Mozilla employee, have been cced on far too many of these bug report threads over the years.

The article where the Mozilla guy complained said two weeks, but, yes. Months is possible. Maybe we have a different definition of quickly.

Disclosure: former Google employee, I did many pushes and fixed browser compatibility bugs whilst I was there.

In the timeframe we're talking about most products were on a biweekly push cycle. In the ideal case where there was no delay at all between you reporting a bug and it reaching the right person inside the company who could fix it, if that day happened to be on a branch cut day then that's a minimum of a two week delay to reach production unless the bug was so severe that the entire product was hosed for all Firefox users. Minor glitches in rarely used screens wouldn't count for a rollback or emergency push, for instance.

But sometimes pushes fail. There's a severe bug, attempts to fix it are too slow and the push window closes so the servers are rolled back. Now the latency is a month.

That's only software bugs. Now include the time taken for the bug report to be triaged, mis-directed, pinged, rerouted to the right person. Now include delays incurred if that person goes on holiday, gets sick or has other higher priority tasks, as bug handoff works about as well there as anyone else. That can easily add more time.

Finally, regressions are to be expected in an environment where the extent of browser testing is a function of engineer interest rather than centrally mandated. If they weren't testing Firefox well enough before they weren't testing it well enough after either. If Google had a central rule about which browsers had to be supported then I didn't know about it. There was just an assumption you'd try to support the browsers people used as best you could.

I'm not saying it was awesome or right, just that this sort of thing was not Firefox specific and there were plenty of IE or Safari compatibility bugs too.

I think we might in fact have a different definition of "quickly", yes. I think we may also have different definitions of "entire product is hosed". If gmail is significantly worse to use (not "doesn't load", just "loads with obvious visual artefacts"), that's obviously enough to get people to change browsers, all else being equal.

And just to be clear, there are certainly cases when things got fixed quickly. But "always" is really stretching it; this was the exception, not the norm.

> regressions are to be expected in an environment where the extent of browser testing is a function of engineer interest rather than centrally mandated

Sure. The problem is the environment and corporate policy, not individual engineers. They're just responding to incentives as best they can, and in my experience are generally quite helpful within the constraints of the system.

> just that this sort of thing was not Firefox specific

Indeed, I don't think it was. It was not-Chrome specific.

Here's a thought experiment. Say someone at Google who did _not_ test in Chrome committed a change that degraded the visual experience of gmail in Chrome and it got shipped. How would fixing that be prioritized vs a similar visual degradation in Firefox or some other non-Chrome browser? Assuming there is no emergency push involved, if the fix was not ready by the next push cycle, would it just slide, or would the original commit get rolled back?

In the early days there were quite a lot of bugs that affected Chrome and not Firefox from what I recall. The problem was Chrome didn't run on Linux or Mac in the first versions, but Google engineers (by policy) didn't run Windows, they almost all ran Linux. So there was a huge testing gap. On the other hand it was helped by the fact that Chrome was basically Safari at that time so Mac users within the firm tended to notice bugs during dogfood/canary periods.

I can't quite recall the timelines, but I remember it felt like years before the Chrome team shipped a native Mac/Linux version. They also fixed a lot of bugs that broke features of the various apps, e.g. lack of printing was a big one for a while.

I imagine you're talking about later when Chrome got really big. But it's hard for me to say what would have happened because when the features are themselves being developed in Chrome there are hardly ever cases like that when it works in every browser except Chrome and this is somehow not noticed during the canary period.

The idea that google web apps are frequently released, and the fact that there is high latency between identification of a defect and it being fixed 100% in production, are not conflicting facts.

Disclosure: xoogler with my name carved in stone outside Mozilla HQ.

Sure, I didn't say web apps are not frequently released. I just said that the claim that bug reports "always got fixed quickly" is false...

"If a company I like has plausible deniability, then their intentions are definitely innocent" -Hacker News

How about: "Sufficient levels of stupidity are indistinguishable from malice"

Indifference is not stupidity. "My feature is done. I don't care if or how it hurts the user."

I think indifference is a perfectly good substitute here as well: "Sufficient levels of indifference are indistinguishable from malice".

Yep, that works too.

Possible a bad example, as that one sounds incredibly stupid. ;)

I remember when it was Microsoft's browser that everyone feared. They, too, had a remarkable run of incompetence that only ever seemed to flow one way.

The problem with IE was that Microsoft intentionally coupled IE versions with Windows versions so you had a lot of ancient versions in use. So you had to ensure that all web apps you wrote were compatible with IE6-IE10 at the same time which was a huge pain. That wont happen with chrome since it is not coupled to any OS, people can just update whenever they want for free getting all the latest features. Microsoft being pressured to stop that practice is a boon to the entire industry.

> The problem with IE was that Microsoft intentionally coupled IE versions with Windows versions

I was there. That was the headline cause of their legal troubles, but far from the only thing Microsoft got up to. They intentionally broke other sites, threw misleading messages and tried to play games with standards.

In other words, many actions that look familiar today with different actors.

Gray's law applies: "sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice"

"Google is a small indie company. Don't be so hard on them." -- Some guy on HN

I have been using gmail for quite long time. It is getting ridiculously terrible these days (in the past couple of years I guess!)

My old laptop fans go crazy when I launch chrome. It’s too much heavy for a mail client.

It’s remarkable how we suck at writing software in the past years.

I will have one browser window open, but in my task manager will have like 17 concurrent chrome processes running, slowing things down so much. I understand there are certain things running in the background but it is extremely hard to close out of certain tasks and stop plugins without terminating my entire browsing session.

I haven't used webmail ui in years, and couldn't be happier. All native application deliver far superior experience, are more performance work offline etc.

If only IMAP worked decently in Gmail.

> It’s remarkable how we suck at writing software in the past years.

You might enjoy this talk if you haven't seen it: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19945452

IMAP still works, you could use a local client

Personally I don't run Gmail in the browser — people complain about running Gmail on top of Firefox, but it has performance issues on top of Chrome too.

You get a much better experience with a native app, like MailMate or Thunderbird.

I just don't understand people using webmail on their workstations, especially Gmail. It was cool doing that in 2004, but it got old.

Maybe it is about your setup?

I actually got curious and tested Firefox with my personal gmail account (using it for >10 years, so it has tons of emails, filters etc). I did not notice any big issues, text rendering seems slightly different, maybe chrome version is slightly snappier but that's it.

I'm on the latest version of Firefox and G Suite mail is quite performant indeed. I don't see where you're getting this.

I don't use Gmail anymore as a primary address, but when I do check my old address, Gmail takes up to 30 seconds to load on Firefox. Emails often take several seconds to delete, and if I close the tab a few seconds after deleting the emails, they don't actually get deleted, even if they appear to.

I am not sure what exactly Gmail does on Firefox, but it makes using AOL.com in 2020 feel like a better email experience.

That’s something broken with your Firefox install or computer then. It’s very performant on any of my two G Suite and one Gmail accounts on Firefox as well as Chrome.

Or something broken in how Gmail handles a wide variety of Firefox installs/configurations (this is a common reported issue). The fact that you personally haven't seen it ("works on my machine!") doesn't mean the issue doesn't exist.

Interesting. Are you exaggerating a bit here or being accurate with those timelines? Cos Gmail is really slow on Firefox for me too, but it doesn't take half a minute to load. More like 10-15 seconds, which in this day and age is a nonsensical amount of time. Similarly operations have a 2-3 second lag. Noticeable to normal users but people like my parents wouldn't be able to see it.

Another voice of an unaffected FF user here. Emalis open in sub 1 sec in FF for me, both free Gmail and paid GApps accounts. EVen went back a we pages of emails and clicked at random, all <1 sec easily.

late last year gmail started complaining I had used up all its storage space of 15 GB and asked me to start paying for more storage. That was the last straw, if I am going to pay for email I might as well spend my money and not give away my data for ads and privacy. I signed up for fastmail. Now outside from Android and maps and keep, I am pretty much off google.

> Try running gmail in firefox. It's abysmal. A single click takes a few seconds to open email. This is malice, not incompetence.

That goes both ways. I’m categorically not replacing Firefox with Chrome, and when Gmail became unbearable in Firefox I switched to something else.

Gmail is hardly a unique product, nor uniquely good in 2020, and it haven’t been for quite a few years.

This is one of those mysterious things that hits certain people's accounts and not others. Here's a thread with suggestions from 2012. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4477361

On the plus side, I keep a Chrome instance just for gmail and now I'm never logged into Google on my primary browser. You will see additional dark patterns from Google properties trying to steer you to log in but this is a battle where I'm the winner.

Open gmail once with noscript and it will give you the option to switch to the classic interface that actually works.

I had to help someone with something the other day and saw the current version of gmail in safari and I feel sorry for anyone that has to use that.

I use FF exclusively and GMail works just fine - no delays.

Not sure what the captcha on Firefox 'feature' refers to but nothing springs to mind as not working in that department either.

I wonder what would happen if you used Chrome, but changed your user-agent to Firefox? Would the issues reappear?

well g-mail still barely works in chrome after the update they did, so i am not sure it's malice in this case.

I love Firefox, but it has had an especially bad habit for years of perf tanking across version upgrades. You should try a full uninstall/reinstall along with a full delete of preferences and cache before assuming that Google has anything to do with Gmail perf on Firefox.

I don't why people bother with claims like these are are trivially disproven. Anybody reading this can open up Firefox and go to Gmail and see for themselves that it works perfectly well (FF 73, Gmail frontend gmail_fe_200213.13_p5). So whatever your problem is with gmail is either imaginary or caused by some other software you've inflicted on yourself.

If you're ever wondering how much data Chrome sucks out of you, the amount of effort Google goes through to try to keep people from using even Chrome-Edge, let alone Firefox, should give you a rough idea.

Microsoft probably won't be much better though in the long run...

This is why I switched to Firefox years ago and have never looked back. I already have enough low-grade anxiety from trackers and whatnot sucking my data, I can't deal with an entire browser that exists solely to gather data.

The fact that so many of us in the development community, who are particularly sensitive to privacy concerns, unashamedly use Chrome continues to baffle me. I had one guy on Reddit tell me he feels really bad about knowing how little privacy he has using Chrome, but that he continues to use it because the font kerning on Chrome is slightly better.

If you read a lot on websites font kerning can be a big issue.

I reckon Microsoft can be even worse considering how much data they gather about you through telemetry built in Windows. Imagine if you're web dev using windows and edge along with vscode. Oof.

Microsoft is way less interested in selling your data to third parties than Google - ads are not the majority of their income

Have you seen the amount of telemetry built in Android/Chrome or any Google product?

Windows is only now trying to level the playing field to that which Google already assumes.

> along with vscode

For those who don't know about it, VSCodium is a community-delivered build of Visual Studio Code with telemetry removed.


Very helpful links, thanks.

I work on Windows (speaking informally here, these are my own opinions and not those of my employer, etc.)

We care a lot about GDPR and privacy, and there's been a big top-down push to reduce the amount of telemetry collected, including giving good justifications for anything we want to keep collecting. We have to make sure all the data is kept in GDPR-compliant systems that can handle the deletion and security policies, and we regularly take training to tell us what is and isn't compliant use of customer data. My team uses it mostly for seeing the success rate of our feature across different hardware, firmware and OS versions, which helps us identify issues and poke certain partners to improve ecosystem reliability. I can't speak for the Edge/Bing/Whatever teams, but I'd hope they take it as seriously as us.

I definitely wish users had more control over data collection without resorting to group policy, and I wish users had more visibility and control over more of the OS in general, but I feel we've learned the wrong lessons from Apple so everything must be unconfigurable and only give vague feedback like, "Something is happening..." (but I digress). In terms of caring about privacy I'd still give Apple the crown, but I don't think it'd be unfair to give Microsoft second place.

I think the issue that people still have with Microsoft's telemetry approach, is that I'm generally happy to forward error messages or logs or whatever, but I don't like the agency to not do that taken away from me. I get that default-enabled and non-disableable telemetry provides better statistics, but that can't be worth the cost of what Microsoft did, which was take all of the goodwill they'd recently built up and light it on fire.

As you aren't management, I get that you can't really do much to impact that. But I think the idea that "seeing the success rate of our feature" can't possibly be worth the risks and harm to goodwill and trust that Microsoft's telemetry approach took.

Side note "Something happened" as an error message when trying to upgrade Windows 10 is my favorite go-to example of bad error messages. It didn't even give you the paradoxical 0x80000000 error code that you had to use a search engine to figure out what meant. It was just a notice that something went wrong.

I appreciate telemetry. Just give me my taskbar and start menu junplists back.

Microsoft may not be any better, but at least they don’t pretend that they are after anything but profit. Google still tries on occasion to put a socially responsible, caring, small indie front, despite the fact that everyone should know better by now.

— I am making no judgment calls on the validity of profit motive, nor am I saying that Google is any more evil for having one. It is the blatant doublespeak about what Google is and does that grates my nerves.

That makes me not want to use Chrome :/

If Google were truly behind open web standards then they would have nothing to fear and no need to promote one standards conforming browser (Chrome) over another (Edge, Firefox or whatever). This just shows that the ultimate desire of all these corporate backed browsers is some degree of vendor lock in, which is why they feel the need to advertise their browser when their competitor's is almost 99.9% identical in functionality and a drop-in replacement.

These are different teams within Google, and it's kinda not fair to say that Google is not truly behind open web standards.

Their whole web developer advocate team is behind open web standards, and pushes it forward everyday. The engineering team actually working on Chrome is behind those standards, and pushes it forward. They work closely with other browser vendors. and try to make everything work everywhere.

Then there is the Chrome marketing team which has to goal (OKR) to increase the reach of Chrome. They might still support the open web, but their goal is to get more users using chrome.

Okay, I get it, but in that case the marketing is doing engineering a disservice when they implement needlessly aggressive and redundant advertising of Chrome on properties and user agents which ought to be almost 100% identical functionality in Chromium based (if not web standards compliant) browsers. To put it plainly I can understand if Google promotes Chrome when there is a genuine technical feature on one of their properties that needs Chrome to function, but in most cases this is not so, which means the marketing is not for technical reasons but merely to capture more market-share for its own ends, which would make sense if they were selling their browser but that too is not the case, so why? I mean, the ultimate aim of all companies are to grow and profit, but the playing field is neither infinite nor the audience stupid, so they should take care not to keep damaging their reputation.

> marketing is doing engineering a disservice

I've never seen a company where both marketing and engineering agree on something. Marketing thinks we are a bunch of nerds and we think marketing floors have a much less density regarding neurons per square meter (so, in way we are both right).

By the way, marketing always win. They are closer to upper levels, the credit for success is (supposedly) theirs. They suggest all the bad tactics, technically and commercially. I can bet that a move like Chrome suggesting to ditch Edge is purely their idea, approved by upper levels and executed by engineers that can't say no.

Do they even know that Edge is Chrome based?

Good question. Probably all they know is that Microsoft released a competing browser and just asked the engineering team to do them a tool for showing annoying messages to the users based on the browser. I am sure marketing doesn't know/care if it was done with Chromium, 1994 Mosaic or matchsticks.

This is Google we are talking about. I would imagine they started working on competing strategies even well before Microsoft announced officially they are going to use Chromium.

You people seriously undermine the tech awareness of marketing teams, of Google no less.

This reeks of smug engineering superiority.

I promise you the marketing team does serious competitive intel and probably knows more about the competitive landscape than the engineers themselves. That's true at my place of employment (also a bay area tech company), and I'd be shocked if it's not true at Google.

> so why?

Presumably so users get Google as their default search engine, which translates into more revenue. Google isn't running a charity with Chrome.

This is a naive view of how things work in big corporations. They work hard on many levels to make sure different teams are aligned under the strategic interests of the company as a whole.

Sure, different teams might get in the way of each other now and then. But not at a strategic level and the managers don't let the veer too far off the main course. Unless I miss my guess, Chrome isn't just any product to Google. It had great strategic importance to them just like Android. I'm not sure if the main purpose of Chrome's existence is to drive open Web standards.

I'm out of the loop. What is "OKR" in this context?

"Objectives and Key Results", that is how Google organize their priorities. Every level of management creates OKR's for and every employee can see the OKR's of their team, the product, the org and entire Google and are supposed to align their efforts with this.

The upper OKR's are usually things like "Product should make XX% more money", or "Become the foremost user-choice for task X". The lower OKR's are usually just things like "build feature X".

"Objective and Key Result". See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OKR

When leadership acts unethically, the employees who stay tacitly approve. You can't tell me that Google engineers are hurting for opportunities.

it's kinda not fair to say that a large org should have enough internal coordination to align incentives and coordinate between different teams? It sounds reasonable to start with, but really gets to the whole making-excuses-for-them kind of thing if you think harder, no?

Google is very bottom-up and hence super uncoordinated, that is a part of who they are. Leaders sets some vague goals, but lower rung people still have a lot of freedom in how they go about things. The last time Google did some large scale coordination we got Google+, I don't think they want to try to repeat that anytime soon...

Those are "oopses", as someone who used to work at Mozilla called it in some article. If MS were to phone Google about it, they'd hear "oops, our mistake, we'll fix it asap."

And it'll happen often. An oops every few weeks. Every oops bleeds users to Chrome. Everytime a googler says "just a mistake" and they might not even be trying to be dishonest at it.

It's Google's corporate structure that enables this.

i think they take their lesson from industry experience of microsoft embrace and extend strategy to take open standards and lock users into their proprietary extensions. as an example do you not remember IE?

EDIT: because of microsoft decades long behaviour, they have good reason to be wary

Yes... but their whole spiel was that they were the anti-MS. But now they are becoming a more insidious version of the MS they railed against.

I don't get why you're being downvoted. They're just out-microsofting Microsoft :-)

are they taking open standards and putting extensions on them that are proprietary so users can only access certain services with chrome? if not, then they are not doing any microsofting of any kind

Google don't need to keep their in-home standards proprietary. For them it's enough to pump as much different features into Chrome as possible. No one except them can implement those standards simply because no one have development team of comparable size.

Then they just going to state something like: our service dont support Firefox because Chrome-only feature X is not fully implemented.

Right, Google is going the "regulatory capture" route of standards, where they're the only place capable of meeting the standards they wrote.

This is just not true... What Google is concerned about is decades of bad behavior by Microsoft. Prior to the last decade Microsoft used embrace, extend and extinguish very aggressively to take control over nearly 96% of the desktop market and web platform via IE6. It's only fair the same developers who worked on Netscape, IE, Mozilla and now Chrome should be a little concerned with the history and motivations of a company such as MS. There is a reason people refer to them as M$. All that said, I think the world has changed and IMO Edge migrating to Chromium rendering engine is a really great thing and most likely these fears are mis-placed since the incentives are more aligned for MS to want to benefit from the web platform with Azure and Bing driving more $$ to the company now days... So maybe MS can be aligned with Google and focus on a better web platform.

Google did the same "embrace, extend and extinguish" play to Java on mobile (Android) and to Firefox on the web (Chrome): "hey, we love you, all on the same boat... Well, I guess we are a bit better now... Alright, now we call the shots".

Anybody worrying about '90s Microsoft should be much more wary of Google by now, and anybody working at Google pretending this is not going on is simply deluded.

If Google is only trying to stop the evil Microsoft empire why are they also trying to gently smother Firefox? It seems clear that Google wants to own the platform, which is perfectly understandable but doesn't fit in with the narrative of Google fighting to maintain the open standards of the Web.

PSA: if you are not already using it, and you care about the future of humanity, then give Firefox a(nother) go. Its actually quite good these days.

Moved back to Firefox after the Quantum release in Jan 2018. There were a few hiccups, and I still have to use Chrome or Safari or Edge for some of my local DRM-infested video streaming sites, but by about Q3 2018 I've never had any reason to use another browser.

Containers is a game-changer, paired with Sync I've been able to easily segregate work, personal, and client environments with ease. I work for many large organisations under NDA at any one time - and being able to colour-code and name my tabs has been invaluable to me. Also the Dev Tools, are great for debugging or sniffing traffic. I'm not a web developer but often need to debug client implementations that consume API's and it's just as good as Chrome. (Imagine that, FireBug used to be the standard, then Chrome came along and became "just as good", now Firefox has natively caught up.)

Finally - speed. Quantum finally killed Chrome's performance for me, and they've finally caught up on power-consumption on MacOS which as someone who regularly has to take multi-hour flights without charge ports available is a god-send.

The DRM issues piss me off, but it's the modern version of browser-restrictive Flash or Silverlight apps. I'll wait for someone else to get fucked off enough to create a bypass for Firefox, or maybe I'll get to a stage where I develop something to do so.

Chrome is dead, long live Firefox.

Yep, I consciously switched away from Chrome to Firefox. In benchmarks, Chrome destroys (or at least destroyed when I tried it) Firefox, but I personally have never noticed any slowness from Firefox. I still have like 20+ tabs open every day, and I can do the same things I did on Chrome.

So, Firefox it is for me.

My major issue switching to FF is still the lack of a Chrome-style translate function. I live in a country where I don't speak the language, so rely heavily on translating. Copy/pasting into Google translate is too slow for general browsing, and being able to switch between translated and un-translated near instantly means that I can still navigate the site when inevitably the translation breaks the JS navigation. Switching also allows me to very slowly learn the language. I'd love to use FF, but this is still a blocker

There have been some recent updates where my manual settings in about:config seem to be ignored (I have all the dark theme/gtk theming options set to false or otherwise disabled) and it still uses this trash dark theme on some sites, like DDG and GitHub.

As well file and custom URIs are completely broken when installed as a snap. I cannot view any file on my system by manually typing in file://path/to/file whereas the uri functions fine in chrome. Custom application URIs require manually setting Firefox to open them in the given application, which is actually non trivial since it can't seem to find any application in the default browser, and it doesn't respect any system configuration.

Meanwhile chrome just works. These are issues I have only with Firefox on some installations, I can't seem to recreate them all the time.

Its still not great though :( (relatively speaking)

I had been a hardcore Chrome user since the comic book days and switched back to Firefox last year.

Imported my passwords and bookmarks and the transition couldn't have been smoother. I still have Chrome installed but haven't opened it more than a handful of times since.

What about your experience hasn't been great?

I can't speak to the experiences of chapium, but my issue with Firefox is that I always experience a slowdown of some sort after it's been open and in use for a few hours. I have to go into about:profiles and "restart normally" to make it go away for another few hours. I never had this problem with Chrome. I'm on my third or fourth attempt to switch to Firefox in the last year and it's still happening. I'm tempted to switch back to Chrome, but I really, really don't want to.

It's not my computer either - my work PC, at least, is a powerhouse.

Also, I find Chrome's dev tools to be marginally better - but I'm not sure if that's just my familiarity with them over Firefox's.

Quick edit: there are some other problems I have with Firefox, but they're all relatively minor and don't bother me nearly as much as the random slowdowns and short freezes.

I always seem to run into performance hitches or glitchy behavior. Both Chrome and Firefox use very aggressive prefetching, but I find that the UI response time feels better in Chrome. Edge (the chromie version) is my go to for stay out of my way browsing.

`about:restartrequired` brings you to a screen where you can just hit enter, allowing for a restart without using the mouse.

That said, I don't think I use it much more often that I had to use `chrome:restart` when I had to use chrome.


Too much.


- Syncing:

1. Very often hangs on "slow" networks. Syncs for minutes at a time and stops the browser from loading new pages (annoying)

2. Mangles bookmarks. Merges folders I don't want merged and adds bookmarks I've deleted before

- RAM creep

1. Memory leak? Firefox consistently takes up more and more memory the longer I use it

2. Poor suspend/dump functionality on Linux. If you have multiple tabs open, Firefox can quickly freeze your entire system (swap makes no difference). I have to use a 3rd party addon to have inactive tabs "suspended" so my system doesn't freeze

3. Unlike chrome, I don't think Firefox runs seperate processes for tabs. OOM killer never triggers.

- Slow

1. It's just slow. Even on a great laptop with a gigabit connection, it's slow.

- Long startup (self-explanatory)

Why do you choose to use the built-in web browser password manager?

I'm still using 1Password, but the built in one is starting to look pretty good. They even have an Android app for your passwords now. It's not just "browser passwords" like practically everyone else.

Really convenient.

I use KeepPassXC, but Firefox PW is streamlined very well.

The rewrite of Firefox on Android is just not there yet. Yesterday it updated and now it crashes frequently at random intervals, when you open a new page it scrolls down to the center automatically, you can't copy the text of links, the text editing cursor can suddenly jump around when typing after moving it, the highlight search action is hidden behind a context menu because Wikipedia is given priority, you can't copy links that don't use the http/s protocol, you can't use sites like MEGA because it doesn't support the downloading APIs necessary, and there are many other features I wish were there but aren't like full WebExtension support.

On desktop it isn't compatible with physical smartcards, so it is impossible to do my job using Firefox or a browser with an engine besides Blink.

I was wanting to contribute code but haven't found time for it yet.

However, what I can stand even less is a Blink monoculture and the web's standards being controlled by a single entity.

The real reason I switched to Firefox was because Google intends to make API deprecations to WebExtensions to make uBlock Origin incompatible, probably in order to retain more revenue in their ad business. At that point I would be forced to switch in the future anyway, so I decided to get used to Firefox's warts early on.

The exposes about Chrome automatically signing you in in the browser if you sign in with YouTube happened afterward, and I only felt more justified in switching. As a side note, I can no longer find the "identity consistency between browser and cookie jar" toggle that allows disabling this anymore.

My usage of Firefox is for political, not technical, reasons.

Firefox does 'gah! your tab just crashed' on my amazon tabs at a rate of about 1 in every 4 times. Once it decides to do that on a particular tab, no amount of refresh or reopen, or restart-firefox fixes it.

I'm using Ubuntu 14.04, and this has been happening consistently for the last 5+ years.

Every. single. goshdarn. effing. firefox. release.

(sorry just wanted to vent. I've tried every solution I could find on askubuntu, stackoverflow, what not. Nothing fixes it. I know I should be filing a bug report, and/or upgrading my OS, but I don't have the time, patience to deal with that. I need to finish school first.).

> I'm using Ubuntu 14.04, and this has been happening consistently for the last 5+ years.

Might help updating to a modern version of Ubuntu with a modern kernel and modern (and less buggy) GPU drivers?

Browsers are increasingly using GPU-acceleration these days. If your GPU drivers are buggy, that can probably cause a whole lot of “fun”.

Or I could be a happy camper of Chrome/Chromium for as long as I like.

Ubuntu 14.04 is no longer supported by Canonical. No security patches etc.

I've used Firefox since I cannot recall when, on Ubuntu 16 and 18, and Windows 7 and Windows 10.

Although I've experienced very rare crashes, like I have with Chrome/Chromium, my experience is that Firefox is stable and does everything I need, including some basic web dev/debug.

Future of humanity. Yes, Firefox will save us all.

I am wary of Mozilla, a completely suit-ruled shitshow that is technically incompetent because of that, as much as I am wary of Google.

Microsoft do the same tricks to push users to switch back from Firefox/Chrome to Edge : https://twitter.com/WindowsLatest/status/1226184938552098817

We kind of expect this from Microsoft. But we're still in denial about Google

Also the effects are worse when the actor doing those ads has more than 30%, 50%, 70% market share.

They reinstated "don't be evil," so we're all good.

I'm surprised MS doesn't get into more trouble for this, especially after US v Microsoft. They only defense for MS is Edge isn't the dominant browser. Google's only defenses are freedom of speech, and no one's forcing you to go to Google properties.

Some of this is tricky, though. If you're Google in 2009, it's not unreasonable to tell IE6 users that their browser is a drag on the internet, and not in a way to drive users to Chrome--IE6 was just shit. Or if you're MS, Windows needs to ship with a browser, but what do you ship? Is there a setup option to switch to Chrome? How do you qualify to get on that list? What types of applications should this apply to? Did Windows Explorer unfairly kill Norton Commander? What about third-party solitaire developers?

Yup, Microsoft won't be left behind in shady practises by these comparatively young web companies. /s

Healthy check and balance Microsoft is performing. Strategically this has been a master move, not paying for the engineering costs while profiting from labor fruits. It is admirable for a company to admit the technology of the main competitor is superior and the only way forward is improving their output. Sets a great example for everybody.

I don't think engineering costs are an issue for msft.

Empirically, the source of msft's quality issues seem to be managerial / organizational.

I called for Microsoft to fork Chromium in their next browser over 5.5 years ago. I'm not surprised Google is worried.

My HN comment from over 5.5 years ago:


Um, More like Google embraced extended exstinguished the original gangster! Microsoft would have been much better off being Mozilla's patron than capitulating to Google.

Back when Google Chrome came out I switched from Firefox to Google Chrome because the scrolling felt better and more responsive.

Microsoft Edge with Chromium engine has better scrolling in my opinion: it is relative to size of window. If I have smaller window it scrolls less. I switched to Microsoft Edge.

It's about the product for me, although I have turned all the knobs to prevent trackers etc.

I agree. While I'm primarily a Firefox user, Edge Beta is the best experience on my Windows machine. I'm surprised that it seems faster than Chrome when they're utilizing the same rendering engine (probably the built-in tracker blocking?).

Edge's ability to convert any site to a PWA is pretty awesome too.

I haven't spent much time with the new Collections feature, but it appears to be useful.

I can't get used to edge's lack of information on slow loading sites. No spinner, the url bar goes blank when you click on it, acts like it didn't even send the request yet.

They're probably just user agent sniffing for non-Chrome browsers. I see this plenty when using Firefox or Safari. That said I wonder if all the State and DoJ investigations about anti-competitive behavior will force Google to stop promoting their own browser on their properties.

To be fair, even Microsoft does UA sniffing for their own products. I remember there being a post on HN about onedrive website not working in Firefox, but working with a different user agent.

What is UA sniffing mean in this context? :)

User Agent sniffing. :)

The user agent is equal to Chrome with "Edg" (not a typo) appended:

> mozilla/5.0 (windows nt 10.0; win64; x64) applewebkit/537.36 (khtml, like gecko) chrome/76.0.3800.0 safari/537.36 edg/

Certainly not an accident, unless they tried to save one byte by not checking on the full "Edge" token.

They serve this UA on purpose to some sites to prevent being detected as the "old" Edge (which was not Chromium-based).

Very well could be an internal project/component name in MS.

Microsoft's purposely changed Chromium Edge's User-Agent string to say "Edg" [sic] instead of "Edge". They wanted to give sites a way to identify Chromium Edge without accidentally treating it was the old Trident Edge (whose User-Agent string says "Edge"). No one would have written User-Agent string sniffing code that searches for "Edg" instead of "Edge" before Chromium Edge was released.

Thus, Google sites are explicitly targeting Chromium Edge because the only way to differentiate Chrome from Chromium Edge is for the server is to search the User-Agent string for "Edg". If they just searched for "Chromium", then Chromium Edge would be successfully match.

The sad thing is when Google websites refuse to work on Edge Chromium. Switch your user agent to match Chrome's, you're all set.

Out of curiosity, which sites are these? Do they also similarly break with Firefox or other non-Chrome browsers or only MS Edge?

Non-Chromium derivatives are blocked as well, yes, but neo-Edge is a Chromium derivative.

Which websites?

Same with Firefox.

They shouldn't be blocking Firefox either, but let's be clear-- Chromium Edge makes even less sense given it's a "cousin" of Google Chrome.

I wonder why Microsoft isn't doing that, they could just use Chrome user agent for all Google websites.

I agree. Perhaps the old user agent sniffing, from that recent age when Edge was NOT Chromium, is still mostly in place. This seems like the more likely reason to me.

These are new changes. Edge based on Chromium has been available for over a month publicly and in beta much longer. And these examples have just happened, and been introduced in the past week.

Google is actively writing checks for the new Edge and implementing new scare tactics claiming their nearly identical browser that gives them data on you is more secure.

I don't get why promoting your product would be an anti-competitive behavior. Anti-competitive behavior would be not letting Edge users use google or gmail.

It's anti competitive for the same reason auditing companies are not allowed to have consulting arms or if they do, they should not both work for the same customer at the same time. Channel 1 (auditing) vs channel 2 (consulting). At least in theory.

There's a conflict of interest at the heart of the issue.

Google offers a service which is supposed to be neutral (search) and then on top of that it also sells another (ads) which is at odds with search. Good search results should bring the best result but ads are a way to bypass that with cash.

Microsoft had the same problem with Windows (level playing field) + Microsoft made apps on top of Windows (which didn't want a level playing field).

That's a conflict of interest, not anti-competitive.

Yup, search for "Google Chrome" on bing and a loud Edge promotion awaits you.

I’m honestly surprised people still tolerate Google. Just stop using shitty software from a shitty company that treats its users like shit. I did and so can you.


Nope. Mostly I just got bored of the Google flavor. Plus it’s been getting progressively worse over time. Variety is the spice of life, they say.

Microsoft may experience firsthand what can happen when you build your business on competitors platform. I'm exaggerating of course but essentially it may happen. The good news is that MS is probably the only company which can actually maintain its own browser in a case if Google goes completely hostile on them. Then this mythical thing called Chromium may materialize as an independent entity from Google, making different decisions and implementing different core features (which is not true today).

They did maintain their own browser. It was called Edge.

That was my point - they have real experience creating and maintaining browsers, unlike most other corporations.

Chrome was originally based on Webkit, and that's a fork of KHTML, so Google at least knows all about building on a competitor's platform.

Yes, but now Google took over and did so very thoroughly. Chrome=Google now.

Remember when Google deprecated an API used by uBlock Origin in Chrome, does anybody know if this same API is deprecated in the new Chromium based Edge as well?

If it isn't, I'd actually choose Edge over Chrome on Windows as my daily driver.

The author said that the best platform to run ublock origin is Firefox, why not use it ?

I only use Chrome for Goggle related stuff anyway, all my browsing goes through Firefox.

This is an ongoing change in the extension manifest v3. You can keep track of it here - https://developer.chrome.com/extensions/migrating_to_manifes...

This is not the default yet, even in Chrome. I hope Edge does not adopt this feature or, if they do, simply continue supporting the extension manifest v2.

Microsoft has turned Google's own weapon against them, crazy. Once they bundle it with W10, it's really going to take off. It's smart they changed the logo too.

YouTube and Google Maps are much slower for me in Firefox versus Chrome. Many times the page basically freezes for half a second, and then suddenly continues. It looks like they intentionally are doing something to make this happen, I can't think of any other site where I've seen this obvious difference.

The hardest part of leaving Google is admitting: I was wrong about Google, but it's OK, everybody makes mistakes.

I really really hope Microsoft can push for a sort of Chromium-foundation.

Google owning the chromium development is what is going to make any sort of protocol-level privacy impossible, while Microsoft doesn't care much about internet add revenue.

It's really really concerning to have an internet ad company have this much control over the web.

I switched to the new Edge because of Google's abusive practices such as logging me into the browser when I log in to Gmail. There is a settings option to prevent this, but it is FAKE. It doesn't change anything.

A comparable behaviour can be seen for years now on iOS. Chrome for iOS is advertised where possible, even if you would like to open a hyperlink from the show notes of a YouTube movie: You are offered to open this link with Chrome ("download"), Google App ("download"), or even with Safari ("open"). There's no real use for the user having Chrome on iOS as long as it has to use WebKit as a rendering engine, the same engine Safari uses. But there is surely a usage for Google, monetizing the user's browsing profiles.

Let's remember that you still can't make Google Hangouts calls from Firefox.

Google fixed Hangouts to work now in Firefox.

Let's remember that you can't attend Google Meet calls from any browser besides Chrome.

Works fine for me on FF 73 (Linux)

Microsoft is also not cool to be honest their product skype still don't work on firefox. Both are bad players to me . Slowing down youtube and google product on firefox, not allowing skype on firefox are cheap strategy used by both company.

I don't see a problem with advertising your product, and clearly laptopmag doesn't see a problem with advertisements either.

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