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Chrome to take No. 2 browser spot from Firefox (computerworld.com)
179 points by canistr on Sept 29, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 121 comments

Less important IMHO than Chrome vs. Firefox vs. IE is the fact that we now find ourselves in a world where there are three serious competitors for browser mindshare instead of one dominant one. That makes collaboration on standards a winning strategy instead of a losing one: any two browsers can agree on something and push it with majority support, pulling the third along. When it was IE vs. the world, the existence of a standard (a sane standard, anyway) that could be implemented by its competitors was a losing stratagy for MS.


Or it could mean that each browser effectively has veto power over any innovation. If developers know that 25% of their visitors will be using a browser that doesn't support a particular standard or technology, that may prevent them from implementing it... at least "for now". That will prevent widespread adoption, thus justifying the outlier browser to never support it.

That depends on the feature in question.

Some features, like SPDY, can be implemented even though not all the browsers support it -- which means that those that don't will find that their users think their browser is slow.

Some features can be emulated with things like long-polling.

And some (WebGL) can't.

I doubt you will be right about those features that can be replaced or emulated but you are properly right about those that can't.

Then again every day we choose to exclude some customers (you only speak Japanese? Well sorry then).

I doubt many sites are going to bother with all the complexity of implementing and utilizing SPDY when only chrome supports it. To see significant advantage with SPDY vs something like long-polling you need to build your app around it, and if you need to support long-polling methods anyways, not very many sites are going to bother.

I think you are confusing SPDY[1] with WebSockets[2]. SPDY is Google's experimental replacement for HTTP. You don't build your app around it at all - from the application layer it should be mostly invisible.

SPDY can be implemented as an Apache module[3] which could be used only when the browser supports it.

It is true that WebSockets replace long polling, but there are plenty of libraries that abstract the differences out nicely.

[1] http://www.chromium.org/spdy [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebSocket [3] http://code.google.com/p/mod-spdy/

FWIW, someone is working on an implementation for Firefox. There was just a blog post on HN the other day about it.

That's possible, but any browser that refuses to implement a sufficiently great technology will also risk losing users to browsers who give them a better experience. It will be turbulent, but the consumers will win in the end.

That is only true if web authors use that feature. If they do not, there is no penalty for failing to support it.

If web authors don't use the feature, should it be in the standard at all?

webapps help a lot with this though. with websites, where pageviews are king, you can't afford to exclude any big browsers. when you are developing a webapp, especially something that your customers are going to use to generate revenue for themselves, you as a developer are in a much better position to exclude browsers that don't implement standards.

obviously it's not an ideal situation, but i have no qualms about using webGL to implement something labeled an "advanced feature" in my app, and give IE users an error saying their browser isn't supported.

That's why I wish my idealistic notions were practical in the real world. Ideally, web developers would design according to standards, which would force browsers to adhere to the standards or risk losing market share. Unfortunately, pragmatism has to win out, and developers have to utilize every hack and bad practice imaginable to get their content to be accessible on every browser.

I want to agree with ajross but thus far the pattern seems to support fl3tch. WebGL, SPDY, and WebM are all technologies being held up by one browser.

Actually, WebGL is held up by all browsers except one.

Firefox and Chrome both support it, no?

Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and soon Opera.

Yep, great times for the web! They've all been trying to one up each other with performance too - good times for web developers.

> Less important IMHO than Chrome vs. Firefox vs. IE is the fact that we now find ourselves in a world where there are three serious competitors for browser mindshare instead of one dominant one. [..] Bravo!

I like the sentiment and agree with most of it. But we are definitely not in a good place quite yet.

It looks like Chrome will overtake Firefox this year on desktop. It will likely also overtake IE on desktop, simply because the number of people forced to use IE - in big corporations - is small compared to the number of normal users. So IE will continue to go down quite a lot more.

So Chrome will be the #1 browser on desktop. But that's just one side of things. Chrome will also be the #1 mobile browser because it will be bundled on Android, the #1 mobile OS. Combine desktop and mobile, and Chrome will get a dominating majority. (ChromeBooks might also take off, making the control even more complete - but it's hard to say if they will.)

Chrome's rise is the result of a great product and a truly massive marketing campaign. But it looks like it will succeed far too much, potentially replacing the currently open and competitive space with one dominated once again by a single player. And just like the previous dominator, this one has other products it can and will leverage with the browser (as we saw indications of in the leaked Dart memo, and as we currently see with Chrome-only features of gmail and google docs).

Yes, Chrome is mostly open source, so that by itself makes it less evil than the previous browser monopoly. But even an open source project that is controlled by one company, and used to further its own ends - which legally it must as a for-profit - can be a very bad thing. We can't blindly assume that what is good for Google will always be good for everyone else - if that ever was the case.

Doesn't it bother anybody that Chrome is made by ad company?

The way I see it, if everybody started using ad blockers like I do, google would implode almost instantly. So how would they combat that? Control the platform for viewing the web and be positioned to kill ad blockers if it ever became a problem.

Would you buy a DVR controlled by a television network? That would be insane, as soon as DVRs ate too much into their revenues they would just kill the skipping feature.

But because of the abundance of chrome fanboys, this is just what is happening, and everybody is looking the other way.

A little while ago we had a big company doing everything they could to control the "personal computer" platform, even evil things, and illegal things, and now there's another company trying to control the internet as a platform and a lot of you hackers are eating it up, I'm just baffled.

Doesn't it bother anybody

A little, but do be aware that (i) Mozilla is 83% financed [] by search royalties from that same ad company, and (ii) Chromium has a somewhat independent developer community

Making money from ads is also not evil: you are probably served by a local newspaper which is probably both good for your neighbourhood and financed mostly or entirely by ads. This stream of revenue comes with conflicts of interest, but these can be handled better or worse. I think Google has done pretty well in this; at least my criticisms of Google mostly do not lie here.

[] http://www.extremetech.com/internet/92558-how-browsers-make-...

For most people, myself included, it's not about the ads as such, it's more the tracking that goes with it. I'd happily see ads all day if they didn't track me, but they do, so I use adblocking. Should I unblock the sites I like? Yes, I should, but it's just too much work so I leave it on permanently.

Well, instead of adblocking everything, you can use something like ghostery http://www.ghostery.com/ to block all tracking.

If you could be sure the tracking was used only to present more relevant and useful ads to you, would you change your mind?

Yes, absolutely. I actually realize I'm missing a significant amount of opportunity right now by not seeing Google ads for products I could make use of, so yes. However, I don't want my IP or anything identifying me in particular associated with my ads.

Potential opportunity here to make a special adblock which tracks user using an anonymous ID code? Essentially acting as a trustable middleman in the equation?

Doesn't addblock just blocks the adds so you don't see it, but you are still being tracked?

Would you rent a DVR from Comcast? Thousands of people do.


I don't care at all.

If google does something like that it wouldn't take long until someone forks Chrome.

I take it you use Chromium then?

Yes. Most Linux distributions include Chromium instead of Chrome.

I use Chrome because it is an absolutely excellent browser. It gets a lot of things right that others do not, and it is (mostly) open source.

Since you brought up television companies controlling DVR's, I will make an attempt to extend upon that. Would you use a DVR controlled by a television network if it was significantly better than a DVR of any other nature? I have no problems admitting that I would, and I feel that a lot of others would as well. That is how I relate Chrome to other browsers. Sure, its controlled by an ad company, but it's also an absolutely fantastic product that includes a lot of features that make my day much less stressful than using "other" browsers, especially as a developer.

If Google wants to start killing off the AdBlock extension, then they can do that. It's their product and they can do whatever they want to, but that also means I have the freedom of jumping ship and using Firefox. Chrome has gotten its popularity among this crowd because they have made consistently good decisions when it comes to features, ui changes, etc.

Going back to DVR's, if a television company wants to release a product and then take away features that user's have had from the start, then fine. It's their decision. But remember, Sony did it with the PS3 and look how that turned out. There is almost always another choice, and that is especially true in the browser market.

the thing is, imagine a world where Chrome has 70% userbase, IE 20% and Firefox 10%. When Chrome decides of a new features, others must follow or die.

Now, it's easy to think of features that sounds "technically useful" but also "going to bring a lot more ad traffic / much less privacy".

Heck, why not make 3rd party cookies mandatory for example? :>

And if Google can't win through the browser war, they will try other fronts, like they do with NativeClient, which is a good lock-in, because others will not want to implement it.

I do share your concerns but I still use Chrome more often than Firefox because Firefox has some annoying issues on the Mac that don't seem to go away (stalling text entry and scrolling after a few hours of uptime being the worst)

I'm keeping a close eye on what Chrome does in terms of privacy related settings. The moment I feel that Google does indeed leverage Chrome to spy on me more than they would otherwise be able to, I'm back on Firefox. After all, Chrome has some very annoying issues of its own (window switching is broken on pages with Flash vids, and Flash keeps crashing more often than in other browsers)

I'm not convinced that blocking all ads helps my privacy interests though. The alternative to ad funding is a paid subscription model which takes away privacy altogether.

No, it doesn't bother me that Chrome is made by a company that makes money by serving ads. In fact, Google is using some of the ad money to fund the development of the webrequest API [1], which allows me to fully block the ads that they (and others) are serving.

The simple fact is that Chrome serves my web browsing needs wonderfully, so I use it as my primary browser. If the day comes that this is no longer true, I will just switch back to Firefox, or whatever awesome browser emerges between now and then.

[1] http://code.google.com/chrome/extensions/trunk/experimental....

"Look, this is the world we wanted. And this is the world we made." - Mike Shaver, VP of Technical Strategy at Mozilla



Talk about utilizing your monopoly position (in search) to take unfair advantage in other areas (browser) and you won't get a better example than this one.

I can't tell if this is a joke. You know why IE user base is so high, right? Like, because of a better example than this one?


You don't know what a monopoly is. It isn't what you think it is, the currently biggest player in a market.

I'm an avid Firefox user, too, but I'm glad to see this happen. The competition has made Firefox better, faster.

That's a good point. I just hope FF survives the squeeze from IE and Chrome.

It's not the IE/Chrome squeeze I'm concerned about. Webkit(Safari, Silk, Chrome) and IE are the only players on their mobile platforms, that's what makes me sad. FF on Android is so far behind webkit, I wonder if they will ever catch up, or rather, if they should even try.

I've liked FF, but yesterday I officially switched to Chrome. I don't think it's going to be a perfectly smooth switch, but I felt I had no choice.

The stability of FF has been dismal lately. This is largely a memory issue: my system starts to bog down if I leave FF running too long, so I have to restart it at least once a day. But more recently, it hasn't been able to survive more than a couple of hours. It will randomly "tear off" a tab, and then freeze itself using 100% of one CPU core, and must be killed. I assume this is a badly-behaved extension, since I haven't heard the world screaming about it, but I haven't been able to determine which one it is.

It must be an extension, especially given the recent release of Firefox 7 and its vastly improved long-term memory usage situation.

Anecdotally, I routinely have around 100 tabs open and Firefox runs for days on end, if not weeks. It only gets closed for OS updates requiring a restart.

Oddly, I also recently switched to chrome. Firefox started randomly freezing up. Sadly, it looks like some corner-cases have slipped through the FF quality control now that they are releasing faster.

I notice that Firefox 7 has gone to 7.01 today. What's changed? It doesn't seem to have helped me.

7.0.1 was just a small change to fix an issue where Add-ons would disappear from the Add-on list after an update: http://blog.mozilla.com/addons/2011/09/28/issue-discovered-w...

It must be your extensions. Disable all extensions and try FF.

I use FF all the time with 10s of tabs open, and I don't have any issues with stability. My FF window is open for days and some time for weeks.

Agreed.. I restart FF maybe once a week and most of the time it's sitting open with 10-15 tabs. If you're having stability issues with FF it's a plugin IMO.

I'm sure it is an extension. The thing is, I can't easily figure out which one. Since it takes a couple of hours for the problem to occur, it's too much of a big deal to try a binary search of all extensions to figure it out.

Compare to Chrome, which has its own task manager, which shows CPU and RAM usage of each extension.

I remember reading that FF now has something similar. It might be in the nightly or a plugin or something though. Unfortunately I can't find it now :( Sorry

in what way is it unfair? if you owned a popular website, wouldn't you use it to promote your products?

Google has a near monopoly in search. It's the same as when Microsoft used its monopoly to kill Netscape in the 90s.

Isn't a monopoly when you sell a product no one else is able to (natural monopoly) or allowed to (legislated monopoly) sell?

What's preventing people from using other search engines?

Microsoft's monopoly was based on exclusive contracts with PC makers, which made it extremely difficult to buy a PC without paying the "Microsoft tax".

Firefox is broken. It hasn't been stable since 3.x. I've literally been forced, unhappily, to migrate to Chrome. I love FF and want to use it, but it hangs about every 15 minutes.

had the same problem when my FF was 30% browser and 70% extensions

> I like FF and sad to see FF user base going down.

I like HN and am sad to see HN user base going down because the comments are getting dumber and dumber. Sorry you just won the dumbest-comment-of-the-week award.

Even more interesting (if you project out further) is that by this time next year, Chrome will have eclipsed IE to become the #1 browser in terms of market share. But only if you continue to project on the exact paths that each of the three are taking, which doesn't account for saturation or mindshare caps whatsoever. Still, it's satisfying to imagine IE being overthrown in a year from now.

If we project even further chrome will have 200% market share, imagine the results of that!

I can't imagine that happening. It seems to me most people are locked in to IE largely out of indifference or workplace constraints. If anything, IE has vastly improved as a browser over the last few years. If IE was ever going to be dethroned, my money would have been on the mid 2000s when IE6/IE7 were noticeably inferior to Firefox.

That being said, I'd much rather be proved wrong. :)

Two forces that may play against this: there are a growing number of people browsing from non-Windows devices (OSX, iOS, Android) on which there is no IE option, and for businesses that choose to save money by using Google Apps, it's probably preferable to put their users on Chrome to ensure the best possible compatibility and performance. Yes, IE has tremendous inertia in its favor, but most of the trends seem to be washing the other way.

I think you're right about the growing number of non-desktop browsers forcing IE getting on board, but I've always felt the "web apps" angle was overplayed. I've never worked for a company that migrated to web apps, nor am I personally familiar with anyone who has. I read about them sometimes, but really, what company that employs 500 people is using web apps over enterprise solutions?

Hanging hopes on web apps seems a like a startup echo chamber. Sure, the potential is there for lots of things, especially in the collaboration space, but Google Apps is a Mount Everest away from usurping MS Office.

There are in fact a lot of large organizations in the for-profit, government and education space that have moved over to using web apps at this point. Microsoft Office isn't about to disappear, but it's fairly established now that an organization can exist without buying Office licenses for their employees, especially if they don't have heavy dependencies on Excel.

For examples: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/customers/index.html

There are some pretty big organisations that use Google Apps. For example, BSkyB use gmail for customer email accounts, and the University of Cambridge and the University of Sheffield both use Google Apps to some degree for staff/students.

There's a local tech college that uses it for email as well. But that does very little to shake IE's hold in the enterprise. Providing customer or student email is one thing, migrating your staffs away from an MS Office workflow (especially for academics, who's job is publishing), is something wholly different.

I'm not saying that businesses don't use web apps, but counting on web apps to shake IE's dominance in enterprise, at least in the short term, is wishful thinking.

It depends on the region also. In my country IE lost its throne a year and a half ago. http://www.ranking.lt/en/rankings/web-browsers-groups.html

In Ukraine IE is third. Guess who has #1 spot: http://www.ranking.com.ua/en/rankings/web-browsers-groups.ht...

Very satisfying indeed.

Unfortunately, what I foresee happening is home user market saturation reaching 100%, but Chrome never taking a majority thanks to business types (you know, the people still on IE6.) Too much reliance on ActiveX and AD and being able to lock down the homepage and other things that get corporate IT control freaks all hot and bothered.

It's a "security" thing. Big companies pay Microsoft money in order to have a "secure IT infrastructure" that "regulators" will like. Microsoft's lawyers wrote some words that appeal to those folks. Google's stuff is free, and so Chrome doesn't come with any guarantee that it won't single-handedly take out the company's entire technology infrastructure.

Obviously this is very far removed from reality (you can read Chromium's source code and audit yourself. IE? Nope.), but these people aren't operating in the real world. IE is the best browser for the imaginary world that the "decision makers" live in.

(On my work machine, running chrome.exe causes an alert to be triggered and execution is denied. Of course, renaming it to not_chrome.exe allows it to work fine. Secure!)

Hmm, an externally-audited "certified" version of chrome may be an interesting product to sell. Web browsers are a primary source of risk exposure (next to e-mail) for corporations. Slap on a few logos, auditors, and clip art of happy people in suits, and you have yourself some corporate confidence.

I do think the "no one ever got fired for picking Microsoft" is part of it, but it's also a very well developed eco-system for a mid-sized shop that don't have the man power or expertise. With MS you have tools like group policy and tons of vendors do tie ins with Active Directory to make offering single sign in services (VPN, email, extranet, etc) very easy.

People are down on MS because they feel that it's just the "easy" decision, but they also have a mature and well developed product that works pretty well for a midsized business with a small IT staff.

ActiveX can be achieved with the IE Tab extension and Chrome for Business supports things like locking down the home page.


Chrome supports SSO with NTLM/Negotiate. On Windows it will even automatically turn on SSO for sites in your Local Intranet security zone, which is much smoother than the Firefox about:config, network.automatic-ntlm-auth.trusted-uris method.


It is quite profound when you consider that Firefox has been mostly funded by Google via the search page revenue deal.

If you take Firefox + Chrome and credit them both to Google (unfair in many respects, I know) - Google can claim "responsibility" for the majority of web browsing today. They have almost single handedly engineered a competitive marketplace in the browser space (ok, unfair again to the Mozilla devs, but it's still profound to me to contemplate it).

Mozilla got the deal when Firefox was that big, that it was a juicy deal for Google. Google won't make that sort of deal if there's nothing to gain. They're capitalists, not a non-profit organization.

Don't get the deal wrong. Mozilla as a small non-profit gets a lot of money for their size, but the deal still is the hell of a good deal for Google.

It actually played a major part into making Google the de-facto search engine among the community that matters most, us, the techs, the geeks, etc.

Most people switched to Chrome because it's faster than the competitors, but interestingly enough, it's now the slowest: http://lifehacker.com/5844150/browser-speed-tests-firefox-7-...

We all win, because even if Chrome is the slowest, it's not slow.

Chrome is still the fastest in Javascript according to your benchmark, which is one of the most important thing, cold boot for example happens once a day at best. The other benchmarks of your article are a bit dubious as there is no standard way to measure "cold boot" or opening several tabs.

Thanks, interesting link. I was surprised to see your comment since I keep wanting to go back to Firefox, mainly for its better extensions, but find myself sticking with Chrome because it feels faster to me.

Two things this Lifehacker article did not cover that are important to me: creating new windows and creating new tabs. I do a lot of this. I haven't timed it but if I had to take a guess I'd say Firefox is at least twice as slow as Chrome at making a new window. I think that explains why Chrome feels faster to me.

(OS X 10.6.8, Firefox 7, whatever latest stable Chrome is, in case anyone's wondering.)

Chrome without a doubt feels faster than Firefox to me. I think Firefox's performance has degraded over the past 6 months or so. I can't prove it (just anecdotal based on my experience), but it got so bad that I switched back to Chrome (and have been loving it).

That's actually a brilliant way of putting things. Personally, what matters to me most is that the UI very rarely if ever hangs. I don't really mind how long it takes to do things, so long as it doesn't occasionally take 3 seconds to respond to a click (even on a top-spec MBP, I'm looking at you FF & especially Safari). The perfectly streamlined design helps too :-)

Chrome is the fastest where it really matters - javascript, and by a huge margin.

Who cares if browser startup takes 3 or 6 seconds? I start my browser in the morning, and never close it.

And who really cares if some browser eats 50% more RAM? RAM is ridiculously cheap, 8GB of laptop memory with the highest reviews on newegg is $40.

Note that the difference in JavaScript test scores in that article is almost entirely due to differences on the V8 benchmark.

So more precisely, Chrome is fastest by a huge margin on the benchmark they explicitly tuned for.

You're welcome to pick pretty much any real world application, and I bet chrome will be ahead.

Also, Chrome is the fastest in V8 by a huge margin, while similar or a tiny bit slower in other benchmarks like Kraken or SunSpider


> You're welcome to pick pretty much any real world application, and I bet chrome will be ahead.

There are plenty of real-world JS applications where Chrome (well, V8) is much slower than competing browsers. Just browse through V8's bug tracker. For example, here is one I filed,


And I am sure there are even more such issues on the internal (non-public) issue trackers.

Different JS engines tune for different things, we can no longer say that any one of them is simply "faster" than all the rest. It depends on the benchmark.

The sunspider tests are also fairly dubious as a performance indicator because of their very short execution time, the Chrome team posted a modification which ran it 50 times to get a better idea of steady-state performance (http://blog.chromium.org/2011/05/updating-javascript-benchma...). Sunspider does act as a fairly good indicator of any latency overhead the JIT adds, though.

In terms of real-world scripting, almost any script I've benchmarked has always been ~1.5-2 times faster in Chrome than firefox (versions 4 through 6), except when bound by API calls (last I checked Firefox was on-par or better when dealing with TypedArrays). It looks like TypeInference might be a really big win though.

> You're welcome to pick pretty much any real world > application

The last one I tried was 5x slower in Chrome than in Firefox... Sadly, it's not a publicly available url.

It's important for Mozilla to stay relevant and strong. When corporate behemoths are going at it having a nonprofit who is only interested in the good of the web with no ulterior motives keeps everyone honest.

I have to use IE6 at work, and I'm surprised at how much of the Web is simply broken for me. It's kind of bittersweet.

Back when IE6 was released, ten years ago (!!), it was really starting to look like Microsoft had won the browser war. Browsing the web with anything other than IE on a Windows machine was an increasingly crippling experience.

It was a very grim time.

Fortunately, a number of web developers held out of a viable alternative to a Win32/IE monopoly. When Firefox was finally good enough for general use it was embraced by many web developers, Google in particular. By 2005 many prominent new web sites (Gmail and Google Reader, for two) took special care to support Firefox from day 1, something that was would have been unheard-of only a few years earlier. At that point it was clear that Microsoft could not win the browser war, and IE development languished.

I understand your sentiment, as I have to make sure the apps I make work on IE6. But don't ever forget that it's your browser that's broken (and possibly your company's IT policies), rather than the web (in most cases).

Oh, I have no illusions about what's broken. That's why it's bittersweet. I'm sad that I can't view a web site, but I'm happy that IE6 compatibility is going away.

Have you tried Google Chrome Frame? You're exactly who they made it for.

Don't websites have to state in the meta tags that chrome frame is to be utilised for it? I don't think it generally applies for all sites.

I am. Only since the recent release of admin-less chrome frame. Can't say I've noticed much difference, unfortunately.

Problem is people have to enable it on their sites, and probably dont. You can use gcf: to force it though.

Couldn't you use the chrome inside IE6? Or a virtual environment with a real browser? (To be honest, I'm not sure if I'd just prefer going with links instead of ie6..)

I'm using Chrome frame, but it doesn't work that well. Don't have virtual machine access.

The same company also has Symbian as the leading mobile browser OS by a wide margin [1], bases on page views. Not what I would have expected.

1: http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os-ww-monthly-201009-20110...

Aren't non-Android/iPhone phones still wildly popular outside the U.S?

Yep. The view that everyone is using smartphones is just the result of being inside a US-centric bubble. Well, and parts of Europe too.

As is the view that Symbian is not a smartphone OS...

Depends, Android & iPhones are still very very popular in the EU, however pre-iPhone all 'smart phone' would have meant either a blackberry or a symbian.

I've shown Chrome to a lot of people, ranging from "fairly technical" to "what's a web browser?" The response is a near unanimous "wow!" I don't think any have gone back to Internet Explorer, although Firefox might have reclaimed a couple.

Really? I'm fairly technical and I've never had a wow moment looking at a web browser except maybe two instances -- an early look at ShockWave (or something in that family) and Mosaic.

Literally everything else has been, OK, evolutionary.

What did you show them in Chrome that made them say "Wow!"?

My favourite moments aren't the 'wows' so much as the times I wipe and setup someone's laptop after they've messed it up, put chrome on it and hear literally no complaints.

my experience has been the exact opposite. almost everybody i've encouraged to switch has been turned off by a UI that doesn't look identical to IE. they need the buttons to be where they are used to seeing them. hopefully the IE9 transition helps these people get used to a new UI, but i suppose most of them will just not upgrade to that either.

After seeing how all the ads and flash websites slow down my dad's Firefox browsing experience, I tried to switch him to Chrome. After a while, he switched back to Firefox by himself.

The reason? He uses the dropdown box in the location bar as a kind of bookmarking mechanism. Chrome doesn't have such a location bar. And he's not content with using real bookmarks, it has to be the location bar dropdown and nothing else.

Important Note: This is based on StatCounter, which is definitely not indicative of the overall web. Something like Net Applications gives a much more accurate picture and shows Chrome at 15.51% at Firefox at about 22.57%: http://www.webmasterworld.com/r.cgi?f=145&d=4368971&...

It does vary a lot by geographic region. Europe shows higher Firefox numbers. And, if I recall correctly, Firefox is number one in a few countries (Germany, Russia).

It is Opera that is #1 in Russia.

I'm not absolutely sure because Opera, Firefox and all the versions of IE combined have a very close market shares, and yes, Chrome is running up fast too. But I remember Opera held "the most popular single version of browser" the last time I checked.

Chrome now comes bundled with the Adobe Flash updater. This is probably a large contributor to Chrome's climbing popularity. Chrome is also bundled with Google's other applications and with Skype (but I'm sure Microsoft will end that).


As a long time (relative) Chrome user, I've recently switched back to FF. I need video ad blocking (ESPN for example). I'm sick and tired of watching a 30 second video ad, followed by 15 seconds of content. Chrome cannot block video ads do to the plugin being javascript. Firefox is native C code, so apparently it can.

I dont care who is #1 or #2 as long as it isn't IE and IE just goes away completely. I work in a real estate industry and it seems like so many of our customers are still using IE7 and have no clue how to work a computer which just makes it even more frustrating.

I've often wondered how Mozilla's status as a non-profit affects its prospects. I've heard that its tough sometimes to recruit and retain because of the lack of lucrative exit possibilities for employees (e.g. IPO).

Don't know if Chrome is going to overtake IE, but it would definitely be good to see it give it a go.

I'm a Mozilla employee. I don't think our lack of a future IPO has hurt us at all, as far as hiring goes. Mozilla pays really well, and we have quarterly bonuses to offset our lack of stock options. If a massive exit is what someone is looking for, I don't think Mozilla would be a good fit, anyway.

Additionally, most employees work for Mozilla Corporation, which is a for-profit corporation owned by the non-for-profit.

More info: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/careers.html

Does Mozilla have a marketing plan to win back Chrome switchers? Once an IE or Firefox user switches to Chrome, what would prompt them to reevaluate Firefox?

At the moment, they have a technical plan, working on the features and infrastructure that hold Firefox back. For example, they've put a lot of effort into reducing memory foot-print, into optimizing their 2D graphics stack, making it possible to have simple add-ons that work reliably across Firefox upgrades and even small things like "how much screen real-estate is taken up by non-web-content".

Once they've paid off some of the technical debt they built up with long-term supported releases, and they have a product that will wow Chrome users, I'm sure you'll hear their marketing department kicking into gear.

The types Mozilla tends to attract are likely to be FOSS crusaders, who care more about working on free software than lucrative exits.

Also, exits are only a consideration for startup employees. 98% of programmers are working for corporations that have already had their exit, and so the primary considerations (as they are for employees everywhere) are salary, benefits, and options. I can't see Mozilla being too far behind the market on salary and benefits, and stock options tend to be pretty worthless for the average employees anyway due to blackouts and whatnot.

That's correct almost every Mozilla employee strongly believe in FOSS values, but not just that. They all believe in the Mozilla mission and manifesto, aka, each one I have meet so far wants an open web, and a fair future where we don't have any kind of vendor lock-in.

Not only that, but also a choice on our privacy.

If either MS, Google, or any such company gets a large percentage of the user base (75%?) again, the web is going to be locked and not very privacy oriented again. Don't think for a second that Google cares much. They don't do evil, but they'll do as bad as their business requires.

They do use their quasi monopoly right now to promote Chrome and it works extremely well. Chrome is a very good browser but you may understand that such growth is not due to that alone, in fact, being a good browser is only a requirement, not the actual factor of the growth.

Unfortunately it will be used to enforce Google control over the web.

Exactly. Nobody's going to get in on the Google, Microsoft, Apple, or Amazon IPOs either.

Is this desktop-only, or does it also count the Chrome browser on Android? If the latter, this could go a long way towards explaining Chrome's meteoric rise relative to FF and IE, which lack mobile presence.

The Android browser is not Chrome or Chrome-based.

I'm stunned, but I just looked into it and you're right. Oddly enough, it's actually Safari:

Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 0.5; en-us) AppleWebKit/522+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/419.3


edit: Downvotes ahoy! I'm just relaying the information I found when searching. On the Anroid-DLS wiki, it gives a very generic "based on webkit" answer, so that doesn't say much one way or t'other.


It's WebKit, but so is Chrome. "Safari" is merely in the user-agent string for mobile website compatibility. Nothing about it is really Safari related.

Chrome will be coming to Android soon as per the notes made by the Chrome team in the last month.

It's only the desktop browser. The only place I've seen stat companies adding the desktop one with the mobile one is for Safari actually, and skewing the results in favor of Safari.

And no, Chrome doesn't include Safari numbers either, just because it has Safari name in its user agent.

While most of the people are discussing what each browser 'stands for' or its main goals, we should not forget about simple practical aspects.

Apart from deals between mozilla and google, I much prefer to support the mozilla foundations than google. And when on linux I actually use chromium instead of chrome. Furthermore I even think the whole firefox concept focused more on real features rather targeting the dumbest possible user as chrome does.

But even considering all these aspects, I use chrome mostly because it has had a clutter-free UI for a while, fires up much faster and has a proper implementation of incognito mode. Like many people, I use a browser all day, I cannot afford not to be pragmatic in here. If firefox catches up on these important aspects, I will for sure move back. It does look like they got finally they're act together and started to make major improvements. Let's wait and see.

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