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Yahoo Starts Prompting Chrome Users to “Upgrade” to Firefox (techcrunch.com)
460 points by jonastern on Dec 12, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 231 comments

Seems like that has no doubt been an important part of the deal that Yahoo! and Mozilla made. It's an interesting way to get back at Google's heavy promotion of Chrome on their properties.

To be perfectly honest, I'm sick of Chrome being pushed down my throat at every turn (including in emacs-w3m; if I'm using emacs-w3m, I'm pretty damn sure I know what Chrome is and I consciously choose not to use it). Yes, I know it's their baby, yes I know it's their SE; but this headline brought a wry smile to my face. Turnabout is fair play :P

I mean, they probably just detect if your user agent is not Chrome. It'd be silly to complicate it further by checking if it's not some relatively obscure thing that's super techy just for the benefit of excluding people that will for sure not use Chrome.

It's literally their job to run relevant advertising.. it's a testament to Google's advertising that we expect better of them.

That's not what literally means anymore

If you want to be pedantic, get it right ;)

It means both.

I was being silly, technically.

And i'm sick of bad search results! Frankly, I was a lot more annoyed using Yahoo compared to seeing a Chrome advertizement.

First thing I thought of, nice to have some counter-balance to the endless Chrome flagging by Google.

Although I'd rather have neither.

agreed. the term upgrade also brings with it a connotation of being better. I am doubtful that this is this case.

It depends on what you want.

If you're primarily interested in speedy javascript, process isolation across tabs (so busy tabs don't lock out the UI), or debugging web apps, I think Chrome is better. Chrome in particular seems to have a much smoother JS execution profile; it may be down to GC, or something else, but Chrome generally has fewer frames dropped for any given demo.

On the other hand, Firefox is way more featureful, and has a better library of extensions. I find it very difficult to configure Chrome to be how I like it - with a bookmarks menu, zero history, and tree style tabs - whereas Firefox is much easier to shape to my purposes. The combination of tree-style tabs and tab panorama means I can - and do - keep in excess of a hundred tabs open without any difficulty in management.

So Firefox is my primary browser, and Chrome is strictly for testing and pseudonymous browsing.

Firefox's JS is pretty speedy too though, and it's faster than Chrome for things compiled with emscripten due to asm.js, like every Humble Mozilla Bundle game, anything made with Unity or Unreal Engine, anything using stuff like sql.js or other C libraries, etc.

Benchmarks tell me that Firefox's throughput is better at this point, and I have no reason to doubt it, but I also know from direct experience that variance in performance is far, far higher with Firefox.

I don't think I've ever run any asm.js other than demos.

PS: I just ran Octane 2.0. The SplayLatency test looks like it's designed to test what I'm talking about; I get 25k in Chrome, but only 9k in FF. http://developers.google.com/octane/benchmark#splaylatency

A bunch of people reckon it doesn't matter - see e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8519507 - but I think it does. GC pauses are very noticeable when there are realtime constraints, like animation.

Yet in the other latency test in Octane, MandreelLatency, Firefox does about 50% better than Chrome.

Perceived performance depends on a lot of things, not just JS speed and consistency - also graphics, UI responsiveness, etc. Chrome has had an advantage in some of those areas, but the difference is pretty small at this point, especially if you are on Firefox Nightly.

Isn't Mandreel just another Emscripten style test that avoids the garbage collector in favor of typed arrays?

I think we definitely need some GC throughput/latency benchmarks in the standard suites.

Mandreel doesn't avoid garbage as much as emscripten output does, but it does create less than "typical" JS, most likely. However, it still can create plenty of doubles as garbage on the heap, on JS engines without nanboxing, such as v8, which is a factor in why v8 loses here.

Here's the problem with SplayLatency.

SplayLatency computes the root-mean-squared allocation time, and your final score is the reciprocal of that, scaled by some constant. Let's call the RMS measurement the "badness"; more badness is worse on this benchmark.

Say you're allocating 1000 objects and object allocation itself takes 0 time so all that's being measured is the GC. You plan to GC them all before your JS runs to completion. You consider two alternate strategies.

One strategy is to perform a GC run every 10 allocations, each of which collects 10 objects. For simplicity, say each GC has 1s of overhead and takes 1s per object collected. So each of your GCs will take 11s. So you will have sqrt((100 * 11^2 + 900 * 0)/1000) = sqrt(12.1) as your "badness" score on the benchmark, and will take 1100s to finish.

Now the second strategy: one GC every 100 allocations. Now each GC takes 101s, and it only takes 1010s to finish. But the splay "badness" score is sqrt((10 * 101^2 + 990 * 0)/1000) = sqrt(102.01).

So per the benchmark the better strategy is the "GC more often" one. But for animations the _second_ strategy is better in this case, because the animations can't run while the JS is running to completion anyway. So as long as both strategies are collecting all the garbage before run-to-completion finishes, the one that's better for animations is the one with higher throughput. But that's the one Splay scores worse.

Back to the real problem we're trying to solve: what hurts animations is a GC strategy that aims for higher throughput by letting garbage pile up across multiple runs to completion and then ends up with a long GC pause at some point. Having a benchmark that penalized that sort of GC strategy would in fact be a good idea. But Splay is not that benchmark. In fact, the optimal GC strategy on Splay is to not GC at all until the benchmark finishes and then do one big GC that takes forever but isn't measured as part of the benchmark time.

Basically, SplayLatency sets up perverse incentives where the simplest ways to do better on the benchmark involve making animation pauses _worse_.

It's also possible to improve the score on SplayLatency by actually improving the throughput of your GC, but that's a lot more work than the other approaches, and just as likely to regress this benchmark if you do it by chunking your GC more within a single run to completion.

The end result is that improvements to this benchmark's score have little to do with reduction of user-visible GC pauses.

You can see some more in-depth discussion in https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=958492 but the above basically summarizes what's going on. The fix in that bug ended up just shuffling work around within a single run to completion to placate this benchmark, and the hard part was doing it in a way that didn't regress things too much for actual real-life animation use cases...

Yeah, I think the main benefit of Chrome these days is mainly about UI performance more than anything else. They achieve that extremely well with the process isolation. Firefox is moving in that direction to with their electrolysis project, so it'll be interesting to see where that goes.

IME, Chrome is slower in terms of UI responsiveness, especially when starting up (massive disk usage) and switching tabs/making new tabs (pegs at least one core of my CPU, whole browser goes catatonic).

IME chrome is faster when I have enough RAM. I have a notebook with 16G of memory and Chrome runs great on it- seems quicker than Firefox. But on my workstation I only have 8G and usually have more things fighting for it. When memory is low Chrome gets unusable but Firefox keeps going along at its not-quite-as-fast-as-chrome-with-enough-memory pace.

16G and chrome runs great on it. What the shit guys.

Usually chrome's UI stickyness goes away when you either buy more RAM or install a SSD instead of a HDD. Chrome's disk usage is crazy.

I find that Firefox is currently faster for everything except 3D stuff. It may be a driver thing (nvidia on Linux).

I'm personally of the opinion that Chrome has jumped the shark with it's emphasis on perf benchmarking and profiling tools. There's no doubt that Chrome's Dev Tools are superior to anything else out there, but real-world usage has suffered. I've seen instances where certain layouts (eg: position: fixed) cause the visible UI to get out of sync with the DOM, then 'magically' correct itself as soon as you inspect element - no doubt an artifact of over-optimizing repaints. Chrome's Pepper Flash plugin is also considerably less performant than Adobe's plugin, with multiple Chromium tickets spanning over a year. As one of the comments lower down indicates, it's awesome if you're running the latest MBPro with 16G RAM, but should you really need that for a browser? And don't even get me started on Chrome/Windows - have they finally decided to render custom fonts in a way that doesn't look like absolute crap? The Chromium thread on that bug was very insightful as to how the Chrome devs view their user base. Additionally, when it comes to rendering CSS3 effects (gradients, shadows, etc) Chrome really performs poorly compared to Firefox or Safari. Radial gradients esp. suffer from extreme banding, even on Retina displays.

Firefox certainly has a larger library of add-ons and those add-ons are more powerful than ones available from Chrome in terms of customizing the browser. The problem is that once you install all the add-ons you're accustomed to having in Chrome, Firefox slows down enough that it's not even worth it. This was my experience using FirefoxDeveloperEdition for the past month and although I miss Firefox's far superior address bar and customizability, the huge performance hit just wasn't worth it and I switched back to Chrome.

Which add-ons did you have installed?

In Chrome: 1Password, AdBlock, a Gmail checker, a cookie editor, FlashBlock, Ghostery, Hacker News Enhancement Suite, Imagus, Reddit Enhancement Suite, Stylish.

Once I'd installed the corresponding Firefox add-ons, the UI became too unresponsive too often for me to put up with it.

I have most of those installed (plus some others) in FF Nightly and I'm running fine.

It sounds to me like one of the plugins probably has a bug.

Chrome started being annoying for me after version 36, but firefox was bad too.

Recently made the switch to Opera and it has been much better than chrome or firefox. Opera is based on webkit, so it renders just like Chrome, has the same web dev features, and you can use almost all of chromes extensions in Opera. On top of that, I find Opera to take out a lot of the annoyances I've had with Chrome. Also Opera doesn't track you like Chrome probably does, and it's not hindered by Google's politics.

> it's not hindered by Google's politics.

Opera is actually based on Blink, Google's fork of WebKit, so it does inherit Google's politics, and contributes to Google's monopolization of web standards.

> contributes to Google's monopolization of web standards

Make sure to let all the Opera devs working on web standards know this. It'll save them a bunch of hassle to know they're just wasting their time!

You can't advance the open web with FUD.

> Make sure to let all the Opera devs working on web standards know this.

I don't mean to denigrate their work, nor have I forgotten Opera's role in the fight for web standards, but in the case of Blink, their contributions pale in comparison to Google's. Check the graph at http://browserg.nom.es/#commitsByOrganization, and note that the vertical axis is not linear.

Opera's commit volume to Blink is 7% of Google's. Hell, Samsung is landing nearly twice as many commits.

An implementation monoculture is bad for openness and interoperability. We've been there once with Microsoft, and we legitimately risk going there again with Google. See, for instance, Google unilaterally shipping Shadow DOM, on by default, before standardization. "Chrome will be shipping Shadow DOM publicly. [...] If you want to suggest name changes, as we brainstormed a bit at the f2f, do so RIGHT NOW or forever hold your peace." http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2014Feb/0103.h... (HN discussion at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7184912)

I don't want a web where any vendor has that much weight to throw around.

You purposely cut out that they are shipping shadow dom in conjunction with Mozilla. That was literally the next statement where you cut your quote. And if you continue to read the conversation this was all talked about and is basically a draft spec, they just haven't finished writing it up, but all the talking and consensus building was done and documented in the f2f minutes.

> that they are shipping shadow dom in conjunction with Mozilla

With my Mozilla developer hat on, that happens not to be the case. Which you would have known had you either read the entire linked-to thread, or even just read the mail that was linked to, which points that out explicitly in the "notwithstanding your apparently inaccurate statement about Mozilla" bit.

> That was literally the next statement where you cut your quote.

It was also a misrepresentation of what's actually going on. Quite common out of Google these days, unfortunately; we've had to call them on it publicly a number of times. Not that this is stopping them from continuing to claim that others are OK with something they're doing when that happens to not be true.

> but all the talking and consensus building was done

The only thing discussed at the CSS working group f2f was the cat and hat combinators, not the entire shadow DOM spec. And even for those, serious issues were raised later by people who were not present at the f2f.

For shadow DOM as a whole, there is no consensus at all. Mozilla is not really on board with the spec in its current form (and we've said so repeatedly and publicly, though we do at least have a plan for how to get the spec to something that we'll be OK shipping... which won't match what Google is shipping). Apple is very definitely not on board at all with the spec in its current form, and Google is not even trying to get them on board. Microsoft has basically said nothing apart from having concerns.

In addition to that, the spec doesn't match Google's implementation at all, in all sorts of ways that are obvious if you actually stop to read what the spec says.

Basically, Google implemented and shipped whatever they felt like and made a sort of attempt at specifying something or other which totally doesn't match what they shipped. And other UA vendors at best (Mozilla) plan to ship something somewhat different from what Google has shipped and at worst (Apple) think the whole thing needs to go back to the drawing board because it's just broken by design.

If you don't think that's unilaterally shipping before standardization, I'm not sure what you think it is, exactly.

Been waiting for shadow Dom for years now.

What I meant by that was Opera lets users do what they want, and doesn't try to hinder them like google does when certain features are against their interest. Things like:

* Opera's extension store has Youtube Center, which google disallows in it's store.

* When you highlight text and want to search it, Opera lets you search using your default SE, and then a second option to use something like duckduckgo, amazon, wikipedia, etc..

I believe the person you're responding to was referring to how Google inherently wants to track users due to their business model, although I think you bring up a valid point.

Yeah, they both have different benefits.

Chrome seems faster for most high performance sites I visit and crashes less often. However, I prefer to have less of my browsing data recorded and so primarily use firefox and duckduckgo.

Can you recommend any particular Firefox tree-tabs or tab panorama addons ? I don't know how I went this far without this...

Tree Style Tab:


I use it with Tab Mix Plus for extra tabby features, like progress bar on the tab, tracking unread tab state, lots of undo close tab slots, forcing popups to show up as tabs, etc:


The tab panorama feature is built in:


I've been using Firefox again recently - I stopped when it was slower and less stable than Chrome.

These days it often feels faster than Chrome.

I think this can be generalized further:

I've been using $RELATIVELY_FRESH_BROWSER_INSTALL again recently. I stopped when it was slower and less stable than $BROWSER_I_HAVE_NOW_BEEN_USING_A_LONG_TIME.

These days it often feels faster than $BROWSER_I_HAVE_NOW_BEEN_USING_A_LONG_TIME.

Does this apply when all the major browsers (save IE, though it's been a while) update unobtrusively?

Yes, it would. It's not based completely on performance gains you may see in new updates. Profiles bloat up over time with data (history, cookies, cache, etc) and the bigger it is, the more the browser has to process. So, over time, your browser will slow down. A fresh install of a new browser would result in all this data not existing. If it doesn't have to parse hundreds of megs of files, it'll generally be faster.

All of those things are easily cleared, however. If I do a clear history/cache/cookies in Firefox, there's still a lot of miscellaneous data floating around in my profile, to the point where, last I recall, the Firefox team still recommends you outright dump your profile in case of difficulties.

I don't see how it has anything to do with how obtrusive the updates are.

you can always go to about:support and click "Reset profile..."

Browsers aren't like Windows 98. You don't need to reformat or defragment from time to time.

Already covered by other commentators, but this is straight up wrong if they are implemented in certain fashions.

Here is a large history causing slow load times; https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=223476

Here is their recommendations regarding download history, which I myself have experienced (too many downloads remembered forever slows down the browser) https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-hangs-or-not-re...

There is nothing inherent in the design of A hypothetical browser that would make it slower over time, its just a matter of people make assumptions and those assumptions are often wrong, and then performance suffers.

Some things do accumulate. That is in fact the point of Firefox Reset[1].

The support page lists "Extensions and themes, website-specific preferences, search engines, download history, DOM storage, security settings, download actions, plugin settings, toolbar customizations, user styles and social features will be removed."

[1]: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/reset-firefox-easily-fi...

Installing extensions can dramatically slow down browsers. I wonder if the lack of extensions is responsible for the quickness users experience with a fresh install.

Absolutely – there's really common cycle I see repeated all over:

1. “(Firefox|Chrome) is slow” 2. “Did you try removing Ad-Block Plus, etc.?” 3. “Now it's fast again!”

I think we're well past the point where the browsers are going to need to start having some UI around monitoring and exposing slow extensions to make it easier for users to learn this.

Absolutely. When I first starting using FF and all the developer tools, it would grind to a halt. Now that I'm a lot more comfortable with the FF toolset, I have a minimal set of extensions and it feels much snappier.

I also use Aurora which is still super fast to me. I also develop with Chrome Canary and the stable Chrome version. Canary has times when its totally useless or when someone breaks the build and I can't use it for a week so until the next update comes out.

All in all, yes, less overhead means a snappier browser to me.

That's my biggest reason for switching from AdBlock+ to Privoxy + https://github.com/skroll/privoxy-adblock . Same blocking rules but uses a ton less memory, since each tab isn't running all of AB+ .

That's fine for image and flash ads, but provides no support for CSS blocking of elements. My understanding is that the CSS blocking is the slowest part, too.

Of course, if you don't want that, you're sweet.

I've been using Firefox for several months and have no regrets. On Ubuntu Chrome was doing all sorts of weird things, plus being slow. Firefox's tab groups is also a great feature.

On my Linux MINT machine, chrome keeps doing something[1] that ends up locking up my whole machine and I have to hard-reboot. It got to a point where I actually had to set up Ctrl+Alt+K to issue "pkill -9 chrome" so as soon as I see the mouse-pointer movement become non-smooth or music start to skip, I slam on those keys to kill chrome before I have to restart my whole machine. Then I just went to Firefox developer edition[2]. Is it better? I dunno, but I like its cool dark theme, my system hasn't locked up since and now I got all those cool extensions back again.

1. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2203672

2. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Firefox/Developer_Editio...

I had that problem with Linux Mint on some configurations too. I found that by going into chrome://flags/ and disabling everything related to GPU acceleration the crashes went away. YMMV, of course.

Hate to say it, but Linux Mint is a buggy mess.

Chrome works fine on the vast majority of Linux distros. Even if a page hangs, Chrome doesn't crash...

I'm running Linux Mint and I don't have this problem. Chrome runs pretty well for me.

How is that relevant? It doesn't matter if it works for you. It doesn't work for somebody else, which means there is a problem of some sort.

The discussion is about Google Chrome not working on Linux Mint. I said that Google Chrome works for me on Linux Mint. How is that not relevant?

I'm not saying there's no problem, I'm just offering my experience to demonstrate that perhaps the problem isn't just "Chrome runs poorly on Linux Mint", and to offer a counterexample to "Linux Mint is a buggy mess".

I'm on the same page. Chrome locks my computer around once a day on Ubuntu. Startup is horribly slow as well.

I can second the Ubuntu motivation. Chrome is buggy and unreliable on Ubuntu, and I was tired of the Aw Snap several times a week. Firefox appears to be much more stable, and Developer Edition looks better too.

I switched back to Firefox recently as well after using Chrome for years. Mostly it was due to problems on Linux, like Flash not working. I also love the work Mozilla has been doing -- Rust, Servo, and asm.js in particular -- which seem to be very promising vis-à-vis future versions of their browser.

I use FF daily, for work, and wouldn't use anything else.

Firefox still doesn't have per process tabs(yes I know about nightlies), so it's a no go for me.

Firefox won't have a process per tab. Even in the multiprocess versions, it has one process for the UI and one for all the tabs' content. That way it doesn't take tons of RAM for overhead if you have lots of tabs, but heavy tab content can't freeze the UI. You can change the number of tab-processes in about:config under dom.ipc.processCount.

Another advantage of using one process for all tabs is that Firefox can take advantage of security sandboxing of the content process without the overhead of tons of per-tab processes. (Quite a few Firefox users like using hundreds of tabs. :) Eventually Firefox will tweak the tabs/process balance to find a good compromise.

Firefox uses compartments per domain instead, which is a great alternative to process per tab: "Some readers might wonder how compartments compare to per-tab processes as they are used by Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.

Compartments are similar in many ways, but also very different. Both processes and compartments shield JavaScript objects against each other.

The most important distinction is that processes offer a stronger separation enforced by the processor hardware, while compartments offer a pure software guarantee. However, on the upside compartments allow much more efficient cross compartment communication that processes code.

With compartments cross origin websites can still communicate with each other with a small overhead (governed by certain cross origin access policy), while with processes cross-process JavaScript object access is either impossible or extremely expensive.

In a modern browser you will likely see both forms of separation being applied. Two web sites that never have to talk to each other can live in separate processes, while cross origin websites that do want to communicate can use compartments to enhance security and performance."

You can read more about how that works at http://andreasgal.com/2010/10/13/compartments/

"That way it doesn't take tons of RAM for overhead"

Weird; I switched from FF to Chrome specifically because FF was a huge memory hog. I have read that it is better these days though.

-- what does the downvoting mean here exactly? That I didn't experience excessive memory usage in FF and I'm lying?

Yeah, they have a MemShrink team now. https://wiki.mozilla.org/Performance/MemShrink They got serious about memory leaks in their own code, and even took steps to limit hogging by 3rd-party plugins. Now they host https://AreWeSlimYet.com/ to track regressions. Edit: and Chrome really does take a ton of RAM if you have lots of tabs open.

"and Chrome really does take a ton of RAM if you have lots of tabs open."

Yup, it does. My problem with FF years ago was with leaks. It would eventually bring my entire system to a state of paging hell until I killed it. That was years ago though, I've since become comfortable with chrome and haven't found aneed to go back.

Fwiw, it's called Electrolysis: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Electrolysis

It just rolled out in the last update, you have to set it yourself in the settings as far as I know but yeah its not just in nightly releases anymore

It's the end 2014. Has anyone implemented pinch-to-zoom on Firefox yet?

Nope. Pinch to zoom "works", but it's the same zoom increments as Ctrl - and Ctrl =.

I've been using Firefox for a few years (switched back from Chrome), but it's IE for me on the Surface until someone else does proper touchscreen support. The only time I open Firefox on here is when I need a bookmark that's synced from my desktop or phone.

If you're like me, I have a swatch of addons for each browser. In time they all start to slow down to a crawl.

I use all browsers for website testing, but my primary is Chrome at the moment, looking to head back to FF.

Same here, for some reason Google Images doesn't work in Chrome for me. I switched back to Firefox.

I was using Firefox in the past few months because Chrome felt slower after the new update.

I am back to using Chrome however. It's really hard to break the habit even though I made it a conscious effort to use Firefox and have enjoyed it thoroughly.

My only gripe with Firefox would be watching youtube I see a Adobe process that takes up a lot of memory even though I force HTML5, it seems to revert to Adobe.

All in all Firefox is the Chrome browser I once loved, but now that Chrome is working back to what it was doing, I forgot about Firefox.

Anecdotal and all but these days i catch myself killing chrome because the computer fan starts to be loud - and reopen the page in firefox - fixes it everytime (granted, i check it is the issue with htop first).

I remember when this was the exact opposite and had to kill Firefox...

how is having more features and options not being an upgrade?

chrome is removing customization after customization (specially the ones that harm google business model. Referrer preferences, anyone?) while adding stuff for speed and network. So you have a fixed experience browser that is very fast. and not that firefox is not faster in most use cases anyway. Chrome just have better marketing (and arguably a head start on speed a long time ago)

For some heavy users, including me, Firefox has always felt better.

I've honestly tried to switch to both Opera and Chrome but once you are spoiled with real extensions there is always one of them holding you back. ATM the most obvious one is treestyletabs.

This is not to say that there is not a lot of people to whom Chrome is better. Just that you can rest assured that Firefox is better as well, -for some of us, just like Safari is the best browser for some people and others want Opera. (Same goes for Linux, Mac and Windows and I love being able to chose one that I like.)

I wear both glasses and contacts, I regularly upgrade from one to the other because I am annoyed by a particular aspect of each. Much the same with browsers I regularly switch between Safari, Chrome, and Firefox because the upgrades/site/support/whatever become troublesome or advantageous.

When in doubt people should interpret it in a way that is convenient to them and not others. It makes total sense for Yahoo! to promote Firefox as a "Better browser". Google in past too has tried similar tricks.

This is a very broad statement. I use both browsers because each has slightly different behavior in some edge cases that I prefer. To me, firefox is occasionally an upgrade, and chrome occasionally is.

Supporting Mozilla over Google is definitely an upgrade.

Given the number of times Google has prompted me to "upgrade" to Chrome, this is only fair game.

No kidding. (How is this even news?)

You are commenting on 'nothing'?

LOL! Down voted because nerds.

Good for Mozilla. They need some promotion from websites. I've heard that Google use to do this for them but I guess that changed once they made their own browser.

I'm still not going to use Yahoo search as it's really just Google search only not as good. Hopefully one day there will be a challenge to Google.

I've just started using duckduckgo.com. Don't have any complaints so far.

I have but one, and it's that it consistently fails to find me what I need as well as Google does. I made a serious effort this week to use DuckDuckGo and made it my default search engine. I wasted so much time googling stuff I'd just DDG'd to find what I actually wanted. I love and support DDG fully, but Google still does search better, imo.

Apparently !g is a thing though? I may have to give that a try so I can have the benefits of DDG, but the results of google.

Yeah, I usually search with DDG and then add !g to it when I don't find anything good in my first search results

Well, !g will just redirect you to Google Search.

And I've noticed lately that DuckDuckGo has gotten much better at short queries lately, at the expense of longer queries. Any query over about 4 words goes straight to Google.

I use duckduckgo mainly, because I like what they are doing. From time to time I will get search results that aren't very relevant. In these cases, I just prepend '!google' to my search.

Now that I've gotten used to them, I really like the !bang operators. They're incredibly convenient.

A few of the ones I abuse constantly:

!g - google

!bi - bing image

!yt - youtube

!so - stackoverflow

!w - wikipedia

!py - python docs

The exhaustive list is here: https://duckduckgo.com/bang.html

I tried DDG for a while (a month, but probably a year ago now) but found I was always doing "!g <search terms>". So I just went back to using the address bar for searching and just the standard FF shortcuts (called "search engine keywords" IIRC) + a few extras I've added over the years.

On Firefox I have

g - google

ddg - duckduckgo

yt - youtube

w - wikipedia


easy to type without the bang at the front (Google and Wikipedia are defaults, not sure what the other ones are). I gather on DDG you can use them at the end so you need the ! as a delimiter.

you can use startpage if you want Google's results with none of the privacy leakage.

I wonder how they got that deal.

They pass your queries through a proxy, so you have to trust startpage, I guess.

No, I mean, I wonder how Startpage got a deal from Google to proxy their results. What's in it for Google?

A nice thing about these is that they work on Firefox Mobile if you sync it.

Why are bangs good? Why not just go to the site?

Also Stackoverflow's search and many other site searches are totally rubbish. Not a bit, but totally rubbish. Here's an example:

"!so c# read file" => this delivers useless results, the top result being "Reading Excel files from C#"

Compare that to "stackoverflow c# read file" on google, which delivers what you actually want, with the question "Reading From a Text File in C#".

You don't have to load the site (trivial, but not negligible), throwing a bang in front of an already written search is simpler than rewriting the search, and google doesn't build a profile around you as another entity is doing the search.

another entity is doing the search.

What? It redirects your browser to Google, it's you doing the search, not any other entity. They don't proxy or anything.

He means that, for example, "!hn rust" would search hacker news directly for rust, whereas "hacker news rust" on google would do a similar job but via google, informing google of your search.

Sorry, ripdog and icebraining - I got it wrong. I hadn't played with ddg for a while and my memory was in error - I recalled !g returning google results in the ddg interface. My mistake.

I couldn't correct it because of HN's stupid 5-comment policy that applies to comments made in all threads combined, and couldn't edit the original comment with a correction as it had been more than an hour. :/

That's definitely not what his comment says. He's quite clearly talking about !g (not other bangs) and saying (incorrectly) that another entity (DDG) is doing the Google search so Google can't build a profile around you.

> Why not just go to the site?

Setting DuckDuckGo as my default and using !s means I can search any of those sites without having to go to them first.

It takes a step out of the process.

And if you search a programming term in DDG, it'll show you relevant results from SO in-line on the results page, which is pretty lovely.

Didn't know you could just use '!g'. Very cool!

!images goes straight to google images.

You can also use !sp to get Google results without Google tracking.

You can now also use !s which is the same as !sp.

Note that it works as either a prefix or a suffix - it might be easier to put the insertion point at the end of the text box.

If you're using Safari, you can use my Safari extension to do this with a toolbar button or keyboard shortcut: http://horizon-nigh.org/re-search/

I tried to use duckduckgo too. but I gave up because google is a very integrated experience, it can search map and has gmail, google news. duckduckgo needs these additional services to really compete with google. openstreetmap isn't as powerful as google map.

That would defeat the purpose of their existence.

DuckDuckGo is cute but doesn't seem to offer anything in the way of competition. It seems very limited in the results it gets and doesn't come close to offering the features that the big guys offer. There really is nothing significantly better about it that I can think of.

>I'm still not going to use Yahoo search as it's really just Google search

Yahoo is a Bing frontend now. Same as DuckDuckGo.

According to https://duck.co/help/results/sources you are incorrect. DuckDuckGo pulls their results from many sources, including bing, Yahoo, and their own bots.

That doesnt say I'm incorrect. the official pr says that they combine over 100 sources including bing without specifying how heavily they rely on any single source. But I've seen many times comments from ddg staff on here saying its mostly bing.

Yahoo hasn't had a search back-end since about the Bing deal. Most everyone on those teams was laid off while they transitioned over. Yahoo BOSS is backed by Bing.

src: http://searchengineland.com/yahoo-boss-moves-from-yahoos-ind...

src2: I worked on the Yahoo Search team at the time of the deal.

I always joke to my friends that why Chrome didn't bring extension support to Android - Because extension support will hurt Google's mobile ads revenue so deeply if you can install adblock with one click.

So, please also consider support a non-profit organization like Mozilla, when their products are actually not weaker.

I like the Adblock app for Android that runs it's own proxy, thereby filtering ads from all apps, including the browser.

In terms of privacy, I don't like the idea of installing a proxy on my phone that can monitor everything I do. At least for Firefox that add-on has to go through their review process, which is pretty strict.

With Firefox on my Android I'm also using HTTPS Everywhere and Ghostery. Both are a really good idea on mobile phones - HTTPS Everywhere is useful because you tend to connect to a lot of public networks and Ghostery is very useful because a lot of websites are not optimized for mobile traffic and tend to load all kinds of crap, like social buttons, which I don't miss because Firefox on Android makes sharing easy.

>non-profit organization

Apart from when they switch existing users settings over to Yahoo by default.

It is still non-profit if at the end of the year they have ... no profit. If this move allows them to keep afloat, then I don't see the problem.

They put you on Google by default for the exact same reason they are switching over to Yahoo as default now.

That would be pretty scummy, but switching new users - well they have to select some search engine, why not the one that pays the most?

Makes a lot of sense to me, Firefox is an excellent browser. I hope it will keep its independence though.

The switch from a single worldwide Google deal to three regional deals with Yahoo, Yandex, and Baidu feels like a nice assertion of that independence.

Chrome doesn't even work with its own company's social network plugin (Hangouts). I always have to switch to Firefox to use screen share.

I haven't encountered problems with Hangouts. But the new Firefox Hello service for in browser webcam chats is pretty awesome: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-hello-make-rece...

(disclaimer: I do actually work for mozilla)

Seems only tangential, since I don't see anything about group calls or screen share (which are the main features we need Hangouts for).

I believe group calls will be in Firefox 35. Not sure about screen sharing, but it's being worked on and coming soon.

That may be true for you, but I assure you that is not generally the case.

Calling a promo banner a "prompt" is a bit of an exaggeration. Also, the same "Upgrade to the new Firefox" message is also shown to Firefox versions less than the current version (34).

Using the more general (non-computer) verb "prompt", it just means to "encourage" someone. So saying that Yahoo is prompting (or encouraging) people to switch is by no means an exaggeration.

Edit: removed "upgrade" and replaced it with "switch" as to not imply one is an upgrade over the other. Browser choice is very much a personal preference.

Upgrade to the new Mozilla Chrome^w^w Firefox.

And they are rightly so to tell people to upgrade to the latest Firefox.

Well, if you're a Firefox user and don't use the latest Firefox I think it makes sense to show "upgrade to the new Firefox" message.

If this isn't a prompt, what would a prompt look like?

I dunno, something like this: http://imgur.com/HNQWMBq

Yes. To me, a "prompt" is UI that requires user interaction, like annoying flyover ads.

This would be an annoying prompt: http://spacecraftforall.com/

(hint: open in firefox)

Part of a more strategic move I believe for Yahoo! to get back into the search business. When their 10 year contract with Microsoft is up I would not be surprised to see them switch to a new index of their own making. What has always been interesting to me about search though is that the two big players who have a lot to gain by having their own search index (Facebook and Apple) have so far chosen not to go there. Putting on my prognostication hat I see Yahoo! shipping on a new index in 2016 and being bought by either Apple(most need) or Facebook(most likely) in 2017 :-)

Too bad their shitty mail service does not play nicely at all with Firefox. Seriously, Yahoo Mail does not even allow me to attach a PDF when I'm in Firefox.

There's a raft of other functionality issues which drove me to the decision to migrate 15 years worth of emails out of it.

I use Chrome and occasionally log in to my old Yahoo mail...I can't imagine it's that much better than the experience on Firefox. Half the time the page just randomly decides to cut off the search bar (which I use a lot).

For me it has always been about the spam filter(gmail is way better at it) ,and the fact that I didn't have to pay to read my mails in outlook with gmail.Maybe it has changed but the "forwarding" was a paid feature in yahoo mail.

Oddly the lack of a decent spam-filter was the reason I left gmail. It had way too many false positives for me, including some very problematic ones. The last straw was when it flagged an email from my landlord as spam, with the explanation that it was flagged because it was written in Danish, a language I don't normally communicate in. It's true that I don't normally write in Danish. But I do live in Denmark, so it doesn't seem very justified to flag something as spam just because it's written in Danish. If anything, emails written in Danish are the most likely to be important!

I've had the opposite experience - demos of hosting mail elsewhere lead to me getting absolutely overwhelmed by spam. I think being a gmail user since it was initially released has given it a really long time to train to the spam I normally receive.

Very few false positives too. Maybe one or two a month.

One or two false positives a month? You must have low standards. <1 false positives a year is my threshold. I don't believe that throwing out non-spam emails is acceptable.

Not even remotely realistic, in my experience.

The only yahoo properties that I'm aware of that I use are groups and mail, both of which are a buggy mess. When I started noticing the "Upgrade to firefox" spam I cringed a little bit inside at how far firefox has fallen. I'm using Chrome over here, it's the world's most popular and arguably most powerful browser. I don't need to "Upgrade" away from it, makers of yahoo groups and yahoo mail.

It doesn't come across to me as being good advertising.

It's only fair play when Google tells users to "switch to a faster browser" (Chrome) on their homepage.

I don't see any such notice if I try going to Yahoo in Chrome. Perhaps because I'm in Europe where Yahoo doesn't have the search deal with Mozilla. Or perhaps it's just confused with the Linux user agent or something.

Happy Firefox user here though. Glad they aren't so reliant on Google funding now, I expect the Yahoo/Baidu/Yandex deal with get them more money than Google alone, without being too reliant on any one party.

Google deserves every last inch of this.

I love me some Firefox. I do. I am really glad that it is a major browser, and that people use it. I am very grateful for the innovation it brings. But I cannot bring myself to use it. Chrome was late to the party, but it got a fundamental issue right: tabs and plugins get their own process spaces. This is huge for performance. I am lucky to own a newish top of the line computer and I trnd not to have more than a dozen tabs open at once. I cannot do this workflow in Firefox. It gets slower as I go, and it's memory usage creeps up. Flash makes things worse (don't recommend that I turn it off; doing front-end work still involves it from time to time). I fire it up periodically to check it out, but it just does not work for me and that makes me sad.

This is also happening for people who have paid for Yahoo Mail in order to not have ads. I would be asking for my money back if they start showing me ads like that!

Edit: source https://twitter.com/AnthonyPAlicea/status/542670797912166400

Do you mind sharing why you still use Yahoo Mail, let alone paying to use it? (serious question)

I think most of the complaints are about the user interface nowadays. It sometimes does have other problems, but that is probably because it takes a while for Yahoo to change.

After 12+ years of service they deleted my secondary email account because I hadn't visited it in less than a year ("username has been recycled"), then wouldn't let me re-claim the username, and have no support contact for it. I will never trust them with anything important.

You made me launch my old Yahoo account to be sure it's still there.

Then I tried to respond to an email in Yahoo! Mail, and EVERYTIME I HIT THE LETTER 'i' IT POPS UP A CHAT DIALOG BOX WTF. Sorry, but it's really frustrating.

I think they are responding to these kind of problems over Twitter now, though it might be because the user name has already be reused.

Both the user interface and the spam filtering are awful. I only use it for a throwaway address (I personally don't pay for it, rohandhruva) so I've never tried any more "advanced" features. Why bother if it can't get the fundamentals right?

OK, I hasn't looked much at the spam filtering, so...

Why do people still continue to use the crappy web interfaces for email?

If you're also referring to the Gmail interface, it's because all the desktop clients I tried suck - this year alone I tried Thunderbird, Apple Mail, Microsoft Exchange and Mailbox and I can't even remember the apps that I tried on my iPad or on my Android. They all suck compared to Gmail's web interface.

Out of curiosity, have you tried Airmail on the Mac? I tend to agree with your observations about the clients you mention, but Airmail really stands out as excellent to me (although I like version 1 better than the recent version 2).

Thanks for the tip, I'll try it.

"Chrome" in headline.

Doesn't appear at all in the article.

Now this started to look like a fair play.

I don't see a problem with this, its what google has been doing for years.

Ok. Google prompts me to "Upgrade to Chrome" all of the time.

I just don't understand Yahoo's user acquisition strategy here. I updated my Firefox to latest version a week ago and it took literally less than a minute for me to set Google as default search engine. I know that if given choice between Yahoo and Google, I'll almost always use Google for 2 main reasons: Search quality and it is just that I'm accustomed to making specific search queries on Google. The thing I don't understand here is: what Yahoo will gain by this deal with Mozilla? I mean why don't they try to improve the quality of their search product and gain users that way rather than forcing an inferior search as default on Firefox.

I have been running Aurora and when it switched to Yahoo I just kept it. There are a few times when I find the results dissapointing, but I have no special affinity for Google or Google search.

In terms of brand loyalty Google has removed any reason to be "loyal" to their search brand and has been operating on being better then everyone else, however its getting close for most mainstream searches and if I can support a healthy marketplace then I am all for it.

Same here. Amusingly, it actually took me a day or two to realize that the search engine had changed (I finally noticed that the emoticon in the tab was different).

It's true that Yahoo's results are sometimes noticeably worse than Google's. The result I want can often be at the third or fourth position on the page, rather than first (where it most often is on Google). Given that Google is obviously personalizing my results based on my query history (unless the Rust programming language is really the world's most popular interpretation of the term "Rust"...), I'll be curious to see if Yahoo does the same over time.

Being the default is a huge deal. You only need to look at how many people are still on IE (8!).

Plus, search quality is a very subjective matter. I have Bing on my phone for a while (mostly to avoid Google's redirect links), and I hardly notice it any more.

The ie8 thing is because it is the last version you can run on the massive number of pirated XP copies out there.

40,320 isn't very many people at all.


Because most don't even know what search engine they're using, let alone how to change it?

Because it will probably work? A lot of people probably can't even tell the difference aside from the design

You're not the typical browser user. Most people have no clue.

To give it some credit, Firefox is pretty damn good in the past few months after the multi-process updates they've been making.

Funny. And google is prompting me to upgrade to chrome. I wonder what would happen if I would use some MS service.

Despite the browser wars, the newest annoyance is having to use Yahoo's search engine. I figured I would give it a few weeks and see how good it was compared to Google.

Two weeks in and I'm done with it. Almost every search is useless to me. Even just doing local searches was painful.

Type in pizza + your city and I got a bunch of ads and "Top 10 pizza places in (insert your city here)" and a ton of Yelp reviews. All I wanted was a list of pizza places near me.

I have a dozen other examples, but in a nutshell, it was just really poor at returning results I was expecting.

> Despite the browser wars, the newest annoyance is having to use Yahoo's search engine.

Have to? Changing the default search engine in Firefox is as simple as clicking on the search-box dropdown and selecting a different search engine. Two clicks.

Generally, the number of clicks isn't the issue. Its knowing which clicks to make.

Sure, but in this case, we're talking about a dropdown marked on the main UI immediately next to the search box. It's not as of it's hidden. Anyone who realizes the search engine has changed is saavy enough to figure out how to change it.

You would be surprised. "Obvious" UI hints that are intuitive for someone like you or me are not for a LOT of people. Some subset of those people is still likely to be able to notice that their searches now take them to a page that says "Yahoo" at the top instead of "Google".

The odd part here is that Firefox has gone back to being my primary browser. The fact that it now disables/disallows extensions the Play store doesnt like and flat out locks you from doing so manually really annoyed me.

Don't try to out-Apple Apple, it doesn't win you any favor.

While they aren't packaged by default, some of the tools around FF for .js work just as well as on Chrome, and the only thing hat Chrome has that I can see FF doesn't is process isolation.

> The fact that it now disables/disallows the Play store doesnt like...

I assume here you're referring to Chrome, not Firefox?


Google certainly did the same thing to promote Chrome on web search and other places.

I'm not sure if Google used the misleading "upgrade" terminology -- I'm also not sure if most people know the difference between "upgrading" and "switching" anyway, and those who do are obviously the ones who won't be misled anyway.

It still makes them look sleazy to those who do know the difference.

Firefox also automatically updated my default search on every device to Yahoo, even though I deselected that option.

I was pretty pissed about that.

Why isn't Google facing the same issues Microsoft faced back in the Windows + IE dominant days?

An even bigger example would be Apple.

This is just a possibility, but according to Julian Assange, Google works for the US State Dept and the FBI and CIA have unfettered access to users' emails.

No different than when Google was telling me to upgrade to chrome whenever I visited their sites

Not just Chrome users. I am on Firefox and I got this message too. I'm guessing they show it to everyone who's not using FF34.

I don't see that "Upgrade to the new Firefox" link... ah, wait, I am already on the Firefox!

Chrome to Firefox is a large upgrade. No one that cares about their privacy should still be using Chrome.

Tomorrow's headline: Google Starts Prompting Yahoo Mail Users to "Upgrade" to Gmail.

Given that Firefox now uses Yahoo as its default search engine, this move doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Yahoo clearly wants as many people as possible to use Firefox — and with it its search engine (which is powered by Microsoft Bing).

I love Firefox but it is unusable on my Android phone because it uses close to 100% CPU (I tried the latest version less then 2 weeks ago) ...

edit: downvote me, but Firefox is still way too CPU intensive on Android

Interesting. I use it as a daily driver on a lower powered phone (Moto G first gen) and in fact, it's about the only browser that works well on my older Android tablet (Dell Streak 7 on HC).

Works well on my old Android phone as well.

So long as no one is promoting IE I have no gripes (for those saying newer IE is better than older IE, I agree, still please avoid using IE).

Next we'll have Microsoft pushing IE down our throats when we visit Bing... :-)

I don’t think that Apple will follow Firefox. They will renew the contract with Google (as default search engine in Safari). Maybe they get a better price...

if techcrunch thinks my favorite browser should be scorned with quotes on 'upgrade'... i'm on the right path!

thanks for the confirmation, techcrunch!

I'd really like someone to come along and make a Webkit/Blink based browser that doesn't suck. I'd pay for it.

Neither Chrome nor Firefox respects my operating system. Both of them take up the whole title-bar with their tabs, rendering useless the window functions that depend on that area. They have non-standard menu systems and very poor keyboard acceleration. Chrome gives you zero control over things like HTML5 video auto-play and I just can't stand to use Firefox because they keep changing the UI and it gets worse every time.

Using MATE [1] I don't have this problem at all.

1: http://mate-desktop.org/

If Google decides to respond, they should just delete all Yahoo and Mozilla results from their search engine; and if they do it would be just fair (... and Mozilla complaining would be extremely hypocritical)

That's funny, it's been years since I used either of them.

I don't get it.

Unfortunately I stopped using Firefox a few years ago, found it to be more of a distraction than a benefit.

But it's good that Yahoo is doing something to compete with Google, if they don't than who will? I'm personally a big fan of Google, they lead the way of change.

My first question: is this intentional or is it a bug? This wouldn't be the first time a website has mistakenly prompted a user to upgrade their browser.

It sounds like intentional marketing-language to me. It's not uncommon for physical products to be referred to as "The New *" whenever they get some sort of change. In this case, it's a newer version of Firefox, and people viewing this ad on other browsers might not have tried Firefox since its last couple of upgrades.

ITT: If Google does it it's ok, if Yahoo does it it's not.

What are you talking about? There is maybe 1 total critical comment:


Hell, there are more comments in favor of this because Google did the same. Quit playing the false victim card.

Where in this thread did anyone say it's NOT OK for Yahoo to do this?

That would probably make me stop using Yahoo.

Although I grudgingly accept a similar prompt on mobile Workflowy (I use firefox there and are prompted to use Chrome for it) even though it annoys the crap out of me. There is not even a possibility to turn this off.

But for Yahoo I have alternatives for workflowy not (yet).

Yep, exactly. Google would never sink so low as to advertise.

Nor to prop up their own browser on their searches.


lol at your downvotes.

just go to google.com on any browser other than chrome and you see a huge banner asking to install google chrome and experience a faster web or something.

then came back here and tell me how that is not advertising.

I respect Yahoo more than google . just listen to what ed snowden told a while ago , Yahoo was one of the companies who fight against NSA , but google did'nt . please correct me if I am wrong .

And what Julian Assange said. Google is basically part of government - they go to other countries as some sort of US ambassadors and are active in US foreign politics.

Do you use Google search? Google promotes Chrome on their own sites all the time.

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