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Quitting Chrome: Because Google+
61 points by badloginagain on June 10, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 60 comments
This weekend I made a fairly major change to how I interact with the web- I consciously switched default browsers. Fed up with Google's constant ramming of G+ down my throat, I've decided to hit 'em where it hurts: their marketshare. So I've switched to Firefox, and while noticeably slower, I feel it's a browser I can put more trust into.

Google should be employing a strategy of invisible control over how people interact, not forcing a centralized interaction layer on something that is inherently decentralized. They should be quietly creating and controlling channels of communication that I cannot live without. Apply the strategy that grew their search engine to all Google initiatives.

Or I will find alternatives.

This sounds backwards to me. If anything, you should be quitting Google, the search engine, rather than their browser. Google can live without you being a Chrome user, but it hurts them if you switch to Bing or duckduckgo.

Yes, but switching to Firefox also hurts me a lot less than switching to Duck Duck Go.

DDG is great. The instant answers feature is awesome, honestly I prefer it.

Agreed. I have been using DDG for ~two years. Maybe once or twice a week, I actually ask DDG to search in google (with awesome "!g" or "!img" bang-commands). DDG works consistently great, and the new DDG is even better, with auto-completion, images and video tabs. And I'm using Firefox as well.

Save yourself half the keystrokes!

!img == !i

Huh, and all this time I've been using !gi

You, sir, have just increased my productivity by 33.3%.

Let's not forget that DDG uses google and sanitizes the results. So google doesn't get your personal information, but it does learn something from the DDG queries.

DDG is great! They've come a long way in the last year, and I've switched to using DDG as my primary search resource on iOS, Linux & OS X. The amount of times I can't find what I need on DDG and have to revert to Google Search these days is less than 10% I'd say.

Being a Chrome user means they get even more of your delicious data...

  > Google should be employing a strategy of invisible
  > control over how people interact, [...] They should be
  > quietly creating and controlling channels of
  > communication that I cannot live without.
Wait, what? You don't mind a third party controlling how you interact, but you hate being told about it?

It sounds to me more like, "Make it so good it's indispensable to me, rather than trying to force me to use it"

Using Google doesn't require an account of any kind, and a Google+ account is only required for social features such as posting comments or sharing links.

The launch state of Google+ provided an extremely hostile experience due to policies such as "one social identity per account" and "use a government-approved non-ethnic name", but these issues were resolved years ago with the Pages feature.

I dont understand when people find firefox noticeably slower. I wonder if thats related to OSX.

Regardless, I agree with the move 100%. Thanksfully, while Firefox may not be the best, its very good/useable for everything.

If ever it isnt good enough anymore and there is no other replacement - this is when we'll really be cornered

> I dont understand when people find firefox noticeably slower.

In my experience, people who think Chrome is faster than Firefox never have hundreds of tabs open.

I like Chrome and I use it for development, but I use Firefox for general web browsing because it handles hundreds of tabs much, much better. Not only is Firefox's performance better, but Firefox extensions such Tree Style Tab and Session Manager are vastly superior to the tab management extensions that are available for Chrome. For example, I'm still waiting for a Chrome extension that supports the basic task of appending the current window to a previously saved session.

I swapped from Firefox to Chrome, in chromes early days.. but switched again because Firefox has lazy loaded tabs = no lag at startup yay.

Funny enough, on Win x64 I experience it exactly the other way round. I guess this may be related to the fact that I don't have much RAM and Windows might be more efficient in swapping out unneeded tabs as each tab is its own process in Chrome, while Firefox mixes everything together in RAM.

Browsers that use several child processes (like IE, Chrome, Safari/WebKit2) are faster, have less latency, crashes involve only one tab and the child processes run with limited OS priviledges ("sandbox") than browsers with only one process (Firefox, Safari/WebKit1).

Mozilla is working on a multi-process Firefox, one can activate it with a hidden flag (it is still not production ready, and it will break several old plugins).

With multi-process browsers one can have hundreds of tabs open for weeks (if you have enough RAM like 8+ GB).

> Browsers that use several child processes (like IE, Chrome, Safari/WebKit2) are faster, have less latency, crashes involve only one tab and the child processes run with limited OS priviledges ("sandbox") than browsers with only one process (Firefox, Safari/WebKit1).

It's more complicated than that. For one thing, "have less latency" is often the opposite: a keypress in a multiprocess browser has to travel from the user-facing process to the child process, then the effects have to travel back. In a single-process browser, there is no need to cross that boundary back and forth. You can see this in action in games for example, where you can sometimes see more input lag in multiprocess browsers.

Regarding speed, depends how you define it. Definitely multiprocess gives you responsiveness - one slow tab doesn't slow down the others. But throughput, not necessarily.

Overall though, multiprocess is a good thing. I'm just saying it isn't a win across the board, like everything it has downsides.

I uninstalled AdBlock after reading this[0] and found it really did make a difference. Esp on sites that loaded a dozen odd ads in different locations [news sites I'm looking at you].

[0] https://blog.mozilla.org/nnethercote/2014/05/14/adblock-plus...

I agree that it might be OS X related. I switched from Chrome to Firefox about a year ago, while I was still using Mac. I did notice a minor performance drop, though not enough to be too upset about. Since December I've been using Linux full time and haven't noticed any lack of performance from Firefox. I tried Chromium about a month ago to see how it would hold up, and didn't notice any performance boost over Firefox.

Granted, I am also using different machine with similar but newer processor and (integrated) graphics hardware, I am using a several-versions newer Firefox than I was last year (I was running v27 nightlies at the time and now I run v29 stable). Still I think that some performance drop in Firefox on OS X might be attributable to a lower-performing graphical backend.

So due to this I tried Firefox on OSX and its not all that good indeed. I use Firefox on Windows and Linux where I have zero perf issue.

Meh. Good thing I don't use OSX. ;)

I've tested Opera a bunch, I was pleasantly surprised with it's performance. I haven't given it a dedicated run though.

If I find 'Zilla performance to be a continuing issue, I might give Opera a real chance.

On my Windows machine, I switched to Chrome from Firefox years ago largely due to better (perceived) performance. I switched back to Firefox this year and haven't noticed any slowdown as a result.

Firefox does seem slower than Safari on OS X, but I don't use Chrome enough on my Mac to compare Firefox vs. Chrome.

Nope, on Linux here and it's slower. Maybe it's how people use it? I leave long-running tabs with gmail open. I think firefox goes into a GC performance-suck cycle.

I've had performance issues with Firefox all the way back to Firefox 3 on Windows. The perf issues don't depend on the OS, in my experience.

I've done the same.

I use gmail a lot, I have an Android phone and I was using desktop Chrome for years. However I started to notice things that worried me, for example I would be using Chrome on my PC but definitely not logged into Gmail / Google+, then I would see that my recent google searches from the desktop Chrome would appear in my recent searches list on Android within seconds. I could somewhat accept that if I was logged in to Google, but I don't accept that if I am logged out.

On one hand the functionality is pretty impressive, on the other hand my gut feeling is they have gone too far.

Chrome logins are separate from Google web logins; go into your Chrome settings and sign out.

This sounds like you have Chrome syncing turned on still.

I switched browsers for a different reason: I installed OS X Yosemite beta and it seems like the Safari browser uses far less COU resources, noticeable by longer battery life.

Chrome (browser) is becoming its own operating system. On windows there is about 10 processes running in the background when I have Chrome open that take up massive amounts of memory and are using the CPU.

Safari is simply a browser, probably using far fewer resources.

Each tab and plugin has its own process, plus another process for the browser itself. Take a look at Chrome's Task Manager for some more insight.

My apologies for the off-topic, but I wanted to ask how you are finding Yosemite - is it stable enough for me to switch over my dev machine?

Yes, is pretty stable on my old MacBook white. The only thing that crashed was Xcode Playgrounds.

You also will see some pixelated rounded corners for some contextual menus... but hey, this is beta.


How are you running Yosemite on a white MacBook? Is it a 4,1 2008-ish MacBook that maxes out at 4GB of RAM? Just curious, because I have one of those but I'm still running SL on it because I figured Mavericks would be a dog.

I have a MacBook White Unibody (13-inch, Late 2009) with 8GB of RAM. This have a 64-Bit architecture and I can run the latest OSX without any problems.


> two SO-DIMM slots support up to 4GB

... confused

I think the reason Apple specified 4GB is max is because four years ago there were not any 4GB sticks for testing and Apple does not retest years later for a discontinued product.


I have it too...it's really slow and it just has a general feel of instability to me. Everything takes pretty long to load and there are some weird graphical glitches with scrolling. Missing textures also abound, but that's a comparatively minor complaint. Handoff is even functioning on a rudimentary level, albeit only if you install iOS 8, which is far, far worse bug wise than Yosemite is.

I'd honestly wait. I put it on a separate partition so I didn't have to deal with it if it pooped out.

It seems fairly stable to me on my MBA.

It also helps, of course, that Safari (or Firefox for that matter) doesn't crash whenever you mouse over a scrollbar (or cause a scrollbar to be displayed by scrolling the page if your mac is configured that way).

Worthwhile noting that even if you have the Flash Player Plug-in installed in Safari it runs much smoother & is less resource intensive than Chrome. Apple seem to have done a great job on the latest Safari.

I don't understand why Chromium isn't a more popular alternative to Google Chrome. It's the open-source basis of Google Chrome. It runs noticeably faster than Firefox, while being similarly trustworthy. It's a great browser, available on all conventional operating systems. What's not to like?

Chromium doesn't have stable builds, and the official snapshot binaries don't auto-update. This isn't so bad if you're using an OS with a package manager such as Debian, but it makes Chromium completely impractical for Windows and MacOS users.

Firefox is faster these days. If you find it slower then you probably have addons that are slowing things down.

Try disabling your addons and enable them one by one to find the culprit.

Make sure to turn off things like the google autocomplete thing in the address bar then, because firefox does that too. I was surprised, looking at wireshark lol.

I switched from Chrome as my default browser after two years of using it just two months back. Sometimes Firefox isn't able to render certain websites and rather spits out the html, but aside from that, I haven't had any issues. I think it works noticeably faster for me. I use it on both OS X and Windows, and it works great on both. It is also a lot more customizable and lets me run my own sync servers.

I find the problem you mention very odd. I've used Firefox for over a year and have never seen anything like that. Is it possible that you have some configuration messing it up? Otherwise all I can think of is that the sites are sending html content with the Content-Type header of "text/plain" and Chrome is deciding to render it as html based on other clues (which would be non-standard behavior).

  Google should be employing a strategy of invisible control
Uh, no thanks. I'm not interested in being controlled by anyone, and I chafe at the idea of any corporate strategy that attempts to do so.

I simply don't use Chrome because it is a closed source browser from an advertising company.

I've tried chrome/mozilla, and did not like either.

I use Opera and highly suggest it!

Issue I had with chorme is when I would open up a new tab it would flash to a white screen quickly before loading the background image of my home/speeddial page.

I am using Safari because it's faster for multi tabbed browsing and I can use WebKit's "FTL" JavaScript JIT compiler.

Well, what is the point so? You're dropping Google Chrome because you think google should control you more?

I would switch if I could find a way to use multi-user profiles. Is there a way to do this with Firefox ?

You can create several profiles and even run them simultaneously. Each profile can have its own collection of bookamrks, add-ons, etc.


    firefox -ProfileManager -new-instance

I have switched once my laptop started lagging when Chrome is opened. Even mouse pointer stopped moving.

Iron browser = Chrome without Google.

Opera = chrome - google

Try EpicBrowser.com -- built on chromium but designed to protect your privacy with everything Google ripped out.

I like the idea, but I'll wait until they publish the source.

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