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Google Play Store: Browsing with Firefox is no longer supported on Android
448 points by gphilip on Feb 10, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 230 comments
When I try to open play.google.com from Firefox on my Android device I get:

  This browser is no longer supported.

  Please use the Google Play Store app to access Google Play.
My Firefox version is 35.0, which is the latest version for Android. So it looks like the walls are going up around that particular garden as well.

This is a dangerous slope.

And I'm sad seeing many of the arguments here - a wild guess is that they've been made by people who weren't here (or have forgotten) the Microsoft/IE story.

Soon it will become: "Why would they invest resources? Firefox is a niche browser, the return on investment is not justified". After all, Firefox's market share is dwindling.

I really hope we're not slowly being boiled like the proverbial frog, by Google.

Weren't we all applauding some startup that had a douche-bagy "We dont support IE" message on their site and everyone here was so excited about it. Now that the bell is tolling for Firefox, its a different story, eh?

There's been this largely ridiculous "revenge of the geeks" after the IE6 days. Now we've fed so much fuel into that fire, that casually telling people to use different browsers is the norm. I'm not saying I told you so, but.. I told you so.

Instead of focusing on your customers' needs, we just ran with what's popular. That's always going to be a losing strategy.

Weren't we all applauding some startup that had a douche-bagy "We dont support IE" message on their site and everyone here was so excited about it. Now that the bell is tolling for Firefox, its a different story, eh?

You're not really giving the whole story here.

A lot of people slapped a 'Don't use IE, it's old and broken message" on their sites because it was old and broken. Generally this didn't show for newer versions – though you're right in that a minor number of 'douch-baggy' sites did.

It was a significant and in some cases crippling workload to support end-of-life browsers that were lacking features such as e.g. transparent image support. Telling users to upgrade was a perfectly sensible thing to do in these cases – if it was suitable message for your customer base.

These days the situation is very different. There's almost definitely no way that the Play store doesn't work on Firefox. It's almost certainly being deliberately excluded from accessing the Play store for what can only be described as malicious reasons.

Exactly right. The big difference is that IE6 was a very old and limited browser -- in fact, Microsoft didn't want people to use it either. It's not the same as blocking a current and very capable browser.

UPDATE: Update 9:05 a.m. PT: Google has informed VentureBeat that the issue experienced by Firefox users on Android is a bug, and a fix will be issued “very soon.” http://venturebeat.com/2015/02/10/google-play-no-longer-supp...

The example I'm discussing was on HN just a few months ago. So when IE11 was active. It wasn't "We arent compatible with IE6" its "Fuck off IE users lol" which is a terrible attitude and one applauded here.

“Anyone who slaps a ‘this page is best viewed with Browser X’ label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network.” – Tim Berners-Lee (in Technology Review, July 1996)

It's browser vendors that are bearing the torch of interoperability and standards compliance. Unfortunately, most vendors are companies with their own agenda. To add to that, all companies and people interpret standards differently. Given this, it's no wonder we don't see consistent api implementation and behaviors between browsers.

The aftermath of all of this falls on the developer's shoulders, which is why so many hours are poured into getting a modern webapp to work across all browsers. Resources are limited, and at some point, developers have to throw their hands up and resign from having support across all browsers.

When you start using a seemingly mature HTML5 api, and find that it doesn't work as expected in all browsers, what recourse does one have? Should we continue to stifle innovation while we wait for the browser vendor to reach compliance? History shows you're going to be waiting for a while, or for ever.

"When you start using a seemingly mature HTML5 api, and find that it doesn't work as expected in all browsers, what recourse does one have?"

File bugs. Chromium and Firefox are not black boxes.

or here's an opportunity to start contributing to open source!

One option is to ensure that functionality you're relying on can fall back if the feature isn't enabled. While that's not the hip-and-cool thing to do, it is a very valid option and doesn't take considerable time if it's a goal from the outset.

There is potentially a critical difference here. The "We don't support IE" mini-movement was a reaction to Microsoft's refusal to use the web standards that every other major browser supported. In this case, it appears to me (admittedly without research) that Google's motivations must be different, and two possibilities spring to mind: (1) Google doesn't like the competition from Firefox or (2) the Play store uses non-standard features not supported by Firefox's overwhelmingly standards compliant browser. If either of these is the case, we've got a very different situation, potentially one in which Google has begun to play the part of Microsoft, implementing and using their own non-standard features, even if it's in a less intrusive and less inconvenient way.

Not really. Since IE10 a lot of the standards argument has been bunk and I've run into a lot of sites lately that tell me, "Oh this html5 feature is only on Chrome, so use that" when I use Firefox. Or if I'm using IE11 for work, suddenly I hit a site that either tells me to get lost or warns me that I'll get a better experience with Chrome.

The problem is we let web culture degenerate into a "my browser or the highway" attitude thanks to the fuel uber-geeks poured on the IE6 fire. Now we're constantly reaping this negativity. I won't even go into the issues I've had with Opera, AOSP browser, dolphin, midori, and others. This "my browser or the highway" attitude is still very strong and we need to stop pretending its a legitimate way to manage the web. No wonder people are clamoring for walled-garden app stores and dumbed down apps. Maybe they're sick of the geek-led browser wars that flare up every so often. Google knows this and is using this to its advantage with its long-range plan to lock people onto its proprietary Android-based services. Now here's another reason to not use Firefox and to stick with Chrome.

> Google knows this and is using this to its advantage with its long-range plan to lock people onto its proprietary Android-based services. Now here's another reason to not use Firefox and to stick with Chrome.

Based on your argument, I think it's time for the opposite.. stick with Firefox

I hate to repeat this, but it's just not true. I see far, far less "use this browser" enforcement that used to be prevalent on the web. Yes – some advanced demos are Chrome- or FireFox– only in particular, but using these as a yardstick to measure the web in general is broken.

> a reaction to Microsoft's refusal to use the web > standards that every other major browser supported

Take your points, but in fact, Microsoft didn't refuse to support web standards.

IE6 was more standards-compliant than Netscape when it came out. The main problem was that Microsoft stopped developing browsers (for complicated reasons that must include the US anti-trust suits). That put it years behind in standards support.

Then when it started to catch up (with new browsers in Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8), it couldn't move users on to later more standards-compliant browsers, even though it tried.

Please elaborate why the anti trust suits did MS stop from developing a standards compliant browser.

Never said they did.

(3) Firefox for Android misses true Intent Filters support, which causes annoying experience for the average user.

Might have to try it then. Google Chrome for Android's handling of intents is really annoying. Sometimes I have to tell it to open a link in the browser rather than the associated app three or more times, as it redirects between different pages or domains and prompts again for each one.

I've never had issues with intents on Firefox for android, including in the play store. If there are issues, then users of Firefox chose to take them on. Who knows, maybe they value their software freedoms more than the ability to open a link in a different app.

If there is a problem, then file a bug! It's an open source browser!

'every other' turned into one or two. But anyway.

There were good reasons for not supporting IE because they weren't adhering to standards. That's not the case with Firefox. That was closer to saying "we shouldn't support Chrome because it breaks standards" than "we shouldn't support Firefox because it has small market share".

The main reason for not supporting IE was its anti-standards stance, not its market share. I think that's a perfectly valid reason, just like saying "I don't want to support Chrome because of its promotion of DRM in browsers".

Exactly. Internet Explorer was very far behind and failed to adhere to standards. This sentiment largely disappeared with the release of IE10, and I've seen more people defend IE11 than anything else.

See my comment above https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9029208

It's simply not true that IE wasn't adhering to standards, or had an "anti-standards stance". It is true that IE6 didn't support standards that were developed after it was released, but that's also true of every program released (until it's updated).

Not saying Microsoft didn't make mistakes, but that wasn't one of them ;-)

Yup. Holding a ten-year grudge against Microsoft is going to bite people in the end.

I'm still nursing a 20-year grudge against them, yet find myself gainfully employed doing .NET application development again. There's being observantly pessimistic, and there's tilting at windmills.

The whole point behind not supporting IE was because it was broken. Firefox is largely not broken. That's the difference.

i disagree. i think what we all must do is tell everyone exactly that.

"don't use Google play store, it's like ie6. use fdroid and be happy". and then we all drop support to it, just like we dropped support to ie6 and it's bullying tactics, even though we own ajax to it, there's so much abuse one can take.

do your part for free software. but yeah, i know that building your startup on top of a free software stack means nothing when you can give in to a walked garden and sell your closed source app for 99c

+1 because the existence of fdroid had not penetrated the rock under which I live before now.

I've wanted something exactly like this for my Kindle since getting it. Amazon's store isn't bad, but it's missing a lot of weird little things you find on less restrictive platforms.

right on. just like non IE was still unkown to most users until recently! in fact, even today you see the ocasional reddit post asking why they should not be using IE.

Hi Google.

Remember those non-evil days where you said you cared about web-standards and actually acted according to those claims?

Those days were great. Feel free to get back to those.

Months later, inbox.google.com still requires Chrome, despite it working perfectly well in Safari when spoofing the UA, and claims that it was held back by "performance issues on some animations", and while I've had a few occasional bugs running it in Firefox, it seemed to be altogether quite fine. Anyway I stopped using the thing a month ago because I simply dropped Chrome†.

† slowly becoming too much ChromeOS-and-why-not-a-browser (including terrible memory use) extending its tentacles in ugly ways into my desktop of choice.

I'd like to take a moment to focus on that last point: Chrome has become the memory hog that caused us all to leave firefox but for the much more egregious reason of trying to be something it's not.

Now when I close chrome it wants to stay open like an over eager registry cleaner that hopes to hide behind the always on functionality and thus obscure that fact that it's done nothing, only Chrome's reason is the slightly more nefarious "we'll keep you informed while tracking all your desktop mouse movement" it also has the unintended consequence of making it difficult to restart the browser in cases of memory leaks.

For me, Chrome uses half the memory of Firefox for the same number of tabs. If you're having memory issues with a browser, your problem is almost certainly extensions - the #1 culprit being AdBlock [Plus]. Give µBlock a try. (The reason why my Firefox uses more memory per tab is in fact almost certainly extensions.)

I was careful to not say that Firefox uses less memory than Chrome, because for me it doesn't but Chrome was sold (to me at least) on the promise of speed, which is no longer true.

Though I do use uBlock over the other two main adblockers.

I switched back to Firefox 18 months ago because Chrome was crashy and consumed too many resources. But you're right, switching from Adblock Edge to µBlock saved more RAM ;)

And welcome Firefox OS.

I read an old blog post recently, that Google published in 2009. It felt like a eulogy of the company I once adored: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/meaning-of-open.html

Although I don't support what they're doing I can guess the response here based on past responses:

They are using new technology that's currently only available in Chrome but available to other browsers to implement and therefore they are pushing the web forward.

I'm not sure if that applies to this specific case but that's usually the excuse.

Yeah, that's also how ActiveX were sold...

Cannot agree more. At least they need to justify this statement. If there is a legitimate critical missing feature in FF, I am sure the FF devs will get on it pronto. But this lack of communication is worrisome.

Yeah, the communications piece is awesome. We (Mozilla) have run into Google properties that send Firefox on Android degraded content because "it's missing some features our mobile site relies on, so it's not Tier 1". When we ask them what these features are, the response is "we can't tell you what things need to be supported to be Tier 1".

and flash

Yeah, but also AJAX.

I'm not sure my comment applies to the parent comment or to the post linked but nevertheless I drop my opinion here. Thanks.

What are they supposed to do if they want to implement features which are not supported by Firefox?

> What are they supposed to do if they want to implement features which are not supported by Firefox?

If the features they want to use are not available in standards-compliant web-browsers they should not be released on a public facing production website.

I thought that was blindingly obvious, but the Chrome-effect is evidently taking quite a hold.

Degrade gracefully?

BTW, for those playing at home, the Play Store website loads just fine if you claim to be running Firefox OS instead. If there actually are features the Play Store site uses that work in Firefox OS and not in Firefox for Android, I'm sure Mozilla would like to hear about them (probably via Bugzilla).

They could at least not intentionally block the browser and let it render to the best of its abilities. The Google Play site is still functional in desktop Firefox anyway, and it's difficult for me to imagine that it's not at least still mostly functional on Mobile Firefox.

Perhaps they should inform the user that they've designed the site for a particular browser in such a case, though. A little animated GIF that says "This page works best in Google Chrome" would do the trick.

follow standards maybe?

That approach is what got us XHTML 2.0 and a "lost decade" for web technology. The things Google adopts (vp8, dart, spdy) are things it releases and publishes as open standards, and therefore significantly more standard and open than e.g. javascript, or even the <img> tag, were when first introduced.

> are things it releases and publishes as open standards

Publishing working code (even as Open Source) and possibly a white paper does not make something a 'standard.' It may be 'open' but not a 'standard.'

And yet it also completely disproves the argument of anyone claiming that Google is trying to make another ActiveX.

The idea that nobody can do anything cool on the web unless all browsers support it seems like a great way to encourage stagnation.

>The idea that nobody can do anything cool on the web unless all browsers support it seems like a great way to encourage stagnation.

But that's the entire point of open web standards. If you don't like using a runtime that is the lowest common denominator across all platforms then why are you using the web in the first place?

I really don't understand people who claim to support the web and web standards but then moan about vendor X or Y not implementing this or that. That's the single biggest defining feature of open web standards; things don't happen unless everybody agrees. If you don't like it that individual vendors have veto power over things then you don't like open web standards. If you don't like technology that moves slowly and by consensus then you don't like open web standards. These are the costs of creating a platform that is defined by open standards.

Arguing definitions is a waste of time. How about this: I like published formats that become standards as and when they gain multiple implementations. If you try to standardize first and then implement, you get CSS2 (or, my first example, XHTML2). The web features we use are there because one vendor or another implemented them, experimentally (again I refer you to javascript, or the <img> tag), and they became standards some time after that. For non-web examples consider something like python - at first, the implementation was the spec; as it matured and things like jython and pypy began to be important, the spec took on more of an independent existence.

This is the model that works, and google is trying to continue it. Best of luck to them.

> How about this: I like published formats that become standards as and when they gain multiple implementations.

That is how the standards process generally works these days.

> The web features we use are there because one vendor or another implemented them, experimentally (again I refer you to javascript, or the <img> tag), and they became standards some time after that.

That was a long time ago, when there were few browsers and the Web was much smaller. Nowadays, whenever a browser ships anything, content immediately starts relying on it, and it becomes frozen for all time. None of your other examples have billions of pieces of content; the probability that some content starts relying on the random corner cases of whatever you ship is almost certain. That is one of the most important reasons the standards process exists: to allow multiple vendors a seat at the table in order to create something that makes sense, as opposed to sitting down, writing a pile of code, having content depend on the random bugs and corner cases in your implementation, and forcing all other vendors to reverse engineer your code. (Being open source does not make reverse engineering free, and doesn't even make it that much easier: the HTML5 parsing algorithm was reverse engineered from IE6 without looking at the source code.)

> This is the model that works, and google is trying to continue it. Best of luck to them.

It's also what got us quirks mode, the content sniffing algorithm, the gratuitous complexity of HTML5 parsing, marquee, blink, and the incredibly underdocumented and hideously complex tables specification. I could go on.

You're portraying CSS2 as a failure, but CSS2 is actually a great example of something that is implementable by virtue of being standardized. CSS2 only looks bad because you can go to the standard and look at the complexity, but automatic table layout (what we had before) is much worse, being defined by a pile of C++ code that few people in the world know, with corner cases and weirdnesses a mile long. To this day, table layout is essentially implemented by reverse engineering Gecko. As someone who has implemented both features, I much prefer the former.

There's a significant difference between implementing something in your browser, publishing the source, putting out demos, etc. and making it a critical part of a primary business web application to the extent that you explicitly wall-off browsers that don't support it.

You want to add new functionality to the web? Great, implement it, make some demos, show us why it's awesome and something we should all implement too. Advocate and demonstrate all you want. But don't make your applications break for anyone that doesn't support your new fanciness.

Lack of competition for Internet Explorer got us the lost decade – Microsoft was perfectly happy with the web not being competitive with unportable desktop apps.

Was that the "lost decade" when we got LinkedIn, Skype, Second Life, MySpace, Flickr, Facebook, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Pandora, Twitter and many of the other things on which we now depend?

Read the comment I was replying to and note that it says “web technology” rather than “web sites”. While people built some great things they did so with significant limitations and had to use features which were not standardized. XmlHttpRequest is a great example – it was used by most of the sites you mentioned but wasn't even submitted as a standard for a full 7 years after it first shipped.

See comment from jordanlev above: "Also hints at the idea that the stability of IE6 for a while actually created a good environment for innovation in the web app space to take place"

Came along and made the point I was making....

1. There is no comment from jordanlev in this story. You're thinking of https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9034177 in the Memoirs from the Browser Wars thread

2. Note that immediately before your quote, he made the same point I made: “Microsoft intentionally let IE6 development come to a halt because it was no longer strategically beneficial to them”.

3. In addition to reversing your earlier position on the first point, you never stated anything like his second point – just a tangent from the topic in question. You could have fleshed it out into something similar but never did.

4. There's potentially an interesting discussion about the benefits of API stability but that's not conclusively proven – there are many confounds – and there's a separate question of actually specifying behaviours and fixing bugs in the various in-the-wild-versions. As anyone who was working on the web in that era remembers even IE6 wasn't reliably a single target since key features depended on the combination of Windows patches installed on the client. There would have been zero downside had Microsoft more aggressively promoted updates so IE would consistently support HTTP compression, SSL, caching, etc. rather than marking them as minor updates.

For reference, this is being tracked by Mozilla's webcompat group in https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1131601.

And it was apparently "blocked by mistake and will be fixed very soon": http://venturebeat.com/2015/02/10/google-play-no-longer-supp...

Come one, don't be naive... https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=668275

The whole point of web standards is to create a - you know - "standard" basis everybody can build upon. If your webapp doesn't work on a given recent browser (firefox latest is both recent and decent), you're doing it wrong.

And Google has been doing it wrong for years (since 2011 for Gmail). Not only is it wrong in the sense that it's poorly developed, but it's also wrong in any other sense of the word (evil, bad,...).

We're talking about a company that develops a web browser and that, in 2015, serves barely usable version of their services when the UA doesn't match its own.

Edit (for the sake of completeness): if you don't spoof the UA of firefox mobile, you can't use gmail except for painfully reading e-mails.

Sloppy user-agent matching. This string:

  (Android) Gecko
triggers the message, with both "Android" and "Gecko" being required components.

I don't see any benefit to this. It's just stupid.

On Android, clicking a link in the browser generally takes you to the default application for that type of url. If there is no default set, then it will give you the choice of what to use to go there (possibly including the browser in the case of a link like this).

Firefox doesn't support that, and would instead take you to the play website, that really doesn't perform well on a lot of mobile devices. I'm guessing this factored into their decision to discourage its use.

I don't necessarily agree with this decision, but I think it is an exaggeration to imply that there is some evil intent here. It's not keeping you from doing anything that you could do before, and if you are really eager to get to the site just tap "Request Desktop Site" and it will still load.

This isn't true. As I mention in a comment below, Firefox gives you two nicer ways to switch from the web to an app:

1. The droid in the URL bar once the page has loaded.

2. The "Open in an app" alternative in a link's long-press menu, which often tells you which app when the destination is clear.

The point here is that it's not a lack of feature but a lack of user experience. Android Intent Filters [0] should work like that: the user starts an action and the system executes the default behavior (or prompt a choice list). Think about the average user, both ways you described seem poorly user friendly.

Sure Google solution is crap, right now following a link to a Play Store app generates this [1], you really need to be a Firefox Power User in order to tap the droid in the URL bar (on this point Firefox should prompt a tip, at least the first time).

[0] http://developer.android.com/guide/components/intents-filter...

[1] http://i.imgur.com/X43Izy3.png

Google made the intent system annoying in Lollypop. Previously you could just touch (well, double touch) the icon of the app you wanted and it would open using that without setting any preference. Now if that app happens to be the top-most one you have to squint at the small light-green-on-white buttons as if a touchscreen were some sort of precision input device.

Honestly, the intent system really sucks for the use case that you mostly want to set a default app but occasionally want to do something different. Basically your choice is "be annoyed all the time" or "never have an option again until you install a new app or go in and delete all the default app's intent preferences".

Long-press/right-click for rarely used obscure options is pretty standard.

I definitely would not hold up Google's intent design UI in Android as some sort UI panacea.

> I definitely would not hold up Google's intent design UI in Android as some sort UI panacea.

Yeah, I completely agree with this. Both Google and the hardware vendors have tried many different ways to both select and change the default. They are all terrible, just in different ways.

I had a Samsung phone (T-989) that would open a popup after you selected a default app informing you of how to change the default later. It would do this every single time, so picking a default always took at least three taps. It was by far the worst implementation that I have seen.

The AOSP behavior in Kit Kat is still the best so far, IMO, but it still isn't friendly at all to non-technical users.

It's a hard problem. If it wasn't someone would have solved it already.

As a technical user of Firefox who didn't know about either of these, I think I can say that they are not intuitive. I don't consider them to be "nicer ways" than the default behavior.

that really doesn't perform well on a lot of mobile devices

Maybe not on their default browsers, but you're trying to show the site in Firefox, which worked fine, until they intentionally blocked it. In fact, that's one excellent reason to use Firefox for Android in the first place.

I switched user agents on Firefox on my mobile to see. It was not a good experience (it was actually quite slow, and I have a relatively fast device).

Interestingly, it works if you request the desktop site: they're explicitly blocking Firefox Mobile.

They probably just don't want you accessing the store from a browser on mobile when you can be using their app.

I don't think this is some malicious betrayal of trust, even if its a stupid thing to do.

You can access the store from Chrome on mobile

Gave you an up-vote, not sure why you're being down-voted for making a perfectly logical assumption.

It's annoying if in fact it's very specifically Firefox Mobile and nothing else, but I agree, if the app has the better experience, they likely want to funnel everyone that way.

Edit: aaaand down-voted. What is the actual problem here?

Because as qntmfred said, you can access the store from Chrome.

Which, as LiroXIV said, is missing the point. If they publish the Google Play store as a web site, it should work on all standard-compliant web browsers.

If they want it to be accessed only from the Android app, fine, but then don't make it available to the Chrome browser either. That kind of "only-works-with-products-from-the-same-vendor" bundling is what got Microsoft convicted for monopolistic practices back in the day.

I think you're misunderstanding me. I'm not using that to justify Google's actions, I'm explaining to him why he's being downvoted. By virtue of it being available on Chrome, his argument that this action is intended to funnel users to the app is weak. I suspect that's what qntmfred meant too.

I think you guys just illustrated why one line comments are high school cafeteria meatballs (you're never sure if you're getting asda ground beef or the jock's latest bm).

I was sure (until I read the explanation) that qntmfred was telling zanny that it was a malicious betrayal of trust and LiroXIV was enigmatically defending google's choice, but then you guys are saying that actually the two of them (and all children) were agreeing without realizing it.

This isn't 4chan please take more than 2 seconds to compose your comment.

That's a shame. I love Firefox mobile and use it pretty much exclusively, so this just means I'll spend less time browsing the Play Store.

Might I recommend the F-Droid market for all your Android app needs.


It's a pity f-droid doesn't support payment, and doesn't seem to aspire to being a full, polished replacement for Google Play for the average consumer.

I would've thought lots of people would be willing to pay the price of a coffee for a well built open source app, without the hassle of building it from source or downloading APKs from dubious sources, then having to manually update them.

And many average consumers would be willing to sign up to a user-friendly marketplace, with reviews and a polished UI, which promised much more curation than Google Play.

According to their wiki, they support donations via Bitcoin and Flattr as long as the developer of the app adds the option.

why in god's name would you browse the play store in Firefox instead of the app?

The great thing about the web is links. Some times you click them and they take you places. If the place it takes you asks you to open an app instead... that's a bad experience.

This is an issue on the i* - Imgur would frequently run ads which would, on an Apple mobile device, switch out of the browser and open up the App Store.

Bad Experience is an understatement. The app stores were not designed with easy and fast switching, so being shunted to them from your browser is a usability nightmare.

Maybe this is an issue on iOS, but on Android you would just hit the back button. It's not the ideal experience, although the last time that I viewed the Play Store from a browser on mobile that was also pretty far from ideal.

Yeah, iOS does not support "back" across applications. There are gestures which allow you to switch apps back and forth, but they don't work until the app has completely loaded.

I'm curious as to why you think it is a bad experience?

Off the top of my head: The back button doesn't work right, saved passwords don't move over, clicked links (if they work at all) keep you in the new application instead of your browser, the places you're taken are left out of your browsing history, you can't bookmark the destinations. Basically all browser functionality that isn't "render the page" gets lost -- it's the same problem you'd run into if you use Chrome for everything and a link from Outlook pops up the page in IE: It _works_, but the ecosystem you've built up for yourself is gone.

Why would you think it's a good experience?

I can't count the number of times I'm annoyed when I click on a link to a website - say, clicking a link on news.google.com or a link here - get moved to that website and BAM there is a "you want to use our app. Click here to download it."

No. I don't want your F(!&^NG app. I want your website. Don't show me that.

The next time I go to the same website? BAM! Go To Our App page again!

A news page, blog or a forum doesn't need an app. I don't need to be constantly badgered to use said sh&%^y app.

Just my 2c rant.

That's not the same thing that is being discussed here. What's being discussed is that you click, for example, a youtube link in your web browser and android opens up the youtube app to view the video. Android will give you the choice to open it up in a variety of supported applications, including the browser, you can set your permanent preference if you want to not be asked again.

"The great thing about the web is links. Some times you click them and they take you places. If the place it takes you asks you to open an app instead... that's a bad experience"

This is the grandparents quote to the person I replied to. Looking over the quote, I think there's some ambiguity.

One one hand....

there is clicking a link in say Messenger that someone texts you... and "Which app do you want to use? Firefox, Chrome, Youtube, ...". That, I think, its a necessary "evil" and not inherently bad. If you have 5 browsers and youtube, where do you want that link to go? "Use this app every time with this kind of link... or just this time?" is a minor annoyance but expected.

This is to be expected in an environment where you have options. It would be jarring, in say iOS, because they don't give you options. Links open in Safari. Videos open in iVideo (or whatever it's called).

In Android, you have apps installed that make you have to choose - and generally you only have to choose when you say "This time only" or after you install something new.

On the other hand...

How I read it initially: there is clicking a web link, having it open in the browser and having a "You should really install our app. No really." box pop up every time. Not a redirect to an app, but a web page that points you to super-awesome-zomg-your-so-stupid-for-not-using-it app.

It's bad user experience, in my not so humble experience, to constantly be badgered to install apps - whether it's Youtube, LinkedIn (one of the worst offenders, again IMNSHO) or on a link leaving Google.

How does one override this? It's especially annoying with e.g. youtube links in twitter - twitter hides it behind a URL shortener, takes me to the browser to load the URL, discovers it's youtube and tries to bounce me into the app. I'd much prefer to be left in the browser.

You can clear it in settings for the app that currently holds the default.

That's not what is happening in this case. The app is not opening when you go to the play store in Firefox. It just goes to this page that says "this browser is not supported".

It only asks you once and you can set play URLs to open in the app. I've never browsed into the store on my phone.

I don't use the app because of the permissions it demands. Firefox works with just access to the internet.

Web browsers have nifty features like tabs. The official Google Play Store app doesn't. This is a common problem with standalone apps actually.

Is it just me, or did anybody else see here a comment from a Google dev just one minute ago, stating this was "just a simple bug", going to be "fixed in short time"? I refreshed the page and now it's gone.

Edit: well I don't really know if the comment came from a Google dev, I guessed so because it looked very authoritative.

It was published on an Android fan site but didn't identify a specific developer:


Now might be a good time to mention that Firefox on Android has a built-in marketplace which allows you to install most FirefoxOS Apps as full Android Apps, with access to most of the device APIs.

Unfortunately, I find that most of the apps aren't very good at all (and in no way is it a replacement for Google Play) but it's something interesting to keep an eye on.

Why this is bad: Google is saying "I don't care whether or not your browser can view this site, I won't even let you try."

If more online properties go this way, we effectively give Google the exclusive ability to develop and drive the Web platform at a fundamental level. For instance, Servo, an experimental, highly-parallel rendering engine written in Rust, won't be able to improve the efficiency or security of the Web as a whole if it's not allowed access to the Web in the first place.

What makes this so bad for consumers is that if you search for an app via Google, you can't even open links directly.

If you visit Gmail with Firefox on Android, Google will serve up a low-fidelity, non-ajax version of the site/app... a very poor user experience vs Android Chrome. I feel like this is done intentionally as Safari on iOS gives the same user experience as Android Chrome.

Also, Google search omits many filters and feature options in Firefox and again, it seems intentional since Safari on iOS offers the same UX as Android Chrome.

Doesn't appear to be related to Firefox. I tried it from Chrome on my desktop (with dev-tools emulating a Nexus 5). See screenshot. Looks like if you're on a mobile device at all they want you to use the app instead of your browser.


That is quite disappointing. I do wonder if there is a valid reason. In which I mean I hope there is one.

Yes, there is a valid reason - market share wars

I don't see how mobile browser access to play.google.com constitutes a significant portion of the Firefox Mobile user bases core competencies. I don't think I've ever tried going to the store via browser on my Android phone just because its slower than using the native app.

You get there if you click links. It's not only this incident, Google often "accidentally" block other browsers for a day or two and then claims it was an "accident". Chrome seems to be immune to such accidents, though.


Without evidence its not really worthwhile to sling mud like that. Chances are they implemented some feature in the Play store that FF mobile doesn't support. When a FF mobile user goes to the site and its broken who would they blame most likely? Google? or Firefox? Experience tells me they'd blame Google.

And rightly so, because it was Google that fucked up by implementing crap only supported by their proprietary crap browser.

I just wanted to say, as I have said before, that Hanlon's razor is a rhetorical reference tool that should be relegated to the dustbin of conversational history. It is by definition a logical fallacy, is not conducive to intellectual conversation, and should not be used by any logic respecting person. Every time I see it referenced almost in the exact same way, eg, as an excuse to cover someones ass for them.

Stop using Hanlons razor as lead in to why someone isn't malicious when you aren't in a position to know one way or the other!

edit: I would appreciate a response along with the downvote.

The same message comes up on the default Android browser. I'm using Android 4.4.2 on a Galaxy S3.

Is this payback for the Mozilla - Yahoo deal? Or am I reading too much into things?

Surprising that you're the first to mention the most obvious answer which is that with the search deal ended, there is less affordance to "play nice" with competitive browsers. This is not at all unusual and perhaps before there was more consideration given to have their mobile offering work on one of their largest commercial search partners.

Also, lot's of people are lamenting the seeming betrayal of "don't be evil" but I think it really hasn't been about that for a while. Google has bigger ambitions to change the world now as their investment in driverless cars, medical devices, VR, etc. has shown. Those ideas require large capital investment and anything they can do to generate more revenue to fund those truly game-changing ideas are probably seen as fair (regardless of whether they adhere to an open internet/standards based approach). One day, we'll all see that the "ends justify the means" or so we hope.

Sightly off-topic but:

Do we really need user agent? What are good reasons we should keep on using them? I could find none...

Disabling the user-agent breaks quite a few websites as of today, but I agree, it's a good way forward to break the hegemony of certain websites and browsers.

Title should specify this is on android and not desktop. Firefox is accessing the store fine for me on OSX.

Fixed, thanks.

For those lazy but curious, hurl: http://hurl.eu/hurls/75bc3ea92343cf38b3711597c5bd4a2e25bed84... (GET of `https://play.google.com/store` with User-Agent header of Fx 35 on Android)

I wonder what caused this. That would be a step back...

Google broke Youtube with IE mobile years ago by simply refusing to serve up HTML5 to it. It's just the way they do business.

Relevant items on HN: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=youtube%20windows%20phone&sort...

luckily, firefox has a useragent plugin. you can change it to 'i hate chrome because chrome is stupid, and so is google play' and you can access the google play store again. or you can simply use apkleecher and bypass that as well. this is why firefox is king. adaptability for whatever idiocy plagues you.

have you seen firebox for android? it's years ahead of chrome.

you can have extensions to begin with. from ad blockers to stylish, which let people with poor vision actually use the browser.

also it allows you to disable all sort of asinine tracking that is forced in chrome.

expect Google to play a Microsoft on Mozilla harder and harder now.

Firefox for Android also has nicer default fonts and MathJax works! (MathJax on Chrome for Android renders with parts of formulas overlapping other parts and overlapping surrounding text.)

I sometimes wonder if browsers are going to become runtimes. For Google services you obviously use Chrome. For others they choose to support runtimes Chrome and Firefox. Microsoft supports IE as the runtime for there services.

It's awful, but it seems like the direction things are going.

It used to be that way, but it's been getting better over time. The browser teams are working on standardizing more seriously and more quickly than before. Each team has their own experimental stuff, but they all aim for standardization instead of proprietary features.

It used to be that way, but it's been getting worse over time.

Seriously, the last 5 years have undone much of the "web standards web" that took a decade to accomplish. If you use Google services, you're going to suffer if you don't use Chrome. Thinking about it, maybe it's only Google that has "regressed" because IE and MS have been getting better at it.

"For Google services you obviously use Chrome" What makes you say that? It is like saying that for going to work you need a red car, but for going to the shop you need a blue car. It's insanity. It is how internet and the web were supposed to not be. It is what shitty companies like Google try to push for the greater glory of their profit margins. It is /very/ bad for customers in the mid- to long term. It is what we should put serious effort into to kill off. For browsing, I use Firefox, and Firefox only. If it does not work in Firefox, it is /broken/ and I walk away within less than a second. I might return in a few months to see if the particular site has already been repaired.

"...companies like Google try to push for the greater glory of their profit margins. It is /very/ bad for customers in the mid- to long term."

Oh, I'm right there with you. I just think that, as a company, you spend millions of dollars making a web browser, making a great Javascript runtime, and your web sites run better when you use this browser, there isn't a lot of incentive to make it work on other browsers.

Working for me now (14.08 GMT).

I'm not jumping on this bandwagon. What are you looking for - plugins for the Firefox browser? Go to the Firefox store. And hey, Firefox is my backup browser. But I haven't seen any anti-Firefox campaigns from Google, though I've certainly seen anti-Google campaigns from Firefox, and I thought, they need to choose their battles a little more carefully. You start a war, there's always a chance you'll become a casualty.

This seems consistent with the other poor design decision in the play store: no anonymous app reviews.

A team that forces you to compromise your anonymity in order to write a positive app review has no qualms about forcing you to use a different browser. That team must be filled with former MS employees.

> That team must be filled with former MS employees.

Nah, just people. People are the same everywhere.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Upton_Sinclair

Can you browse the App Store on iOS using Firefox? Seems like a bit of a red herring issue to be honest.

No. You can browse the Play Store in any browser except Firefox for Android. You cannot browse App Store with any browser (also you cannot run an alternative browser engine on iOS)

As one commenter said, you can use it in Chrome on android. And until recently (it's in development now) it was mozzila's decision not to make Firefox for iOS.

What would it mean to make Firefox for iOS? My understanding was that iOS requires all browsers to use the same rendering engine under the hood, so "Firefox" there wouldn't be much more than a different skin for Safari. (Has that changed?)

No. It will be a skin around the Webkit runtime - but with Firefox Sync and similar enabled. Maybe a few extra APIs, too...

In other words, more of a SafariFox than a Firefox.

Did apple allowed foreign engines? Or everyone still pretends that re skinned safari is a different browser?

What about asm.js and the likes

This was an unexpected move from Google.

I am guessing they are trying to have singleton system around their app market but this is not how it is supposed to be done.

They can give users a unique email address with play store domain and ask them to sign in if they want to give a different user experience to Google users. And you need to have installed Google OS or Chrome in order to get that email address.

With this way, Google is no different than the 90s enterprise companies whose sites were only supporting IE in order to function.

This is not the first time Google is doing this, and I am guessing this will not be the last one either. Since they got Eric Schmidt on board, they are focusing more on revenue than being the Internet hero. I can not really blame them though..

> This was an unexpected move from Google

> This is not the first time Google is doing this

Really, this should be no surprise precisely because it's far from the first time; numerous Google properties use UA-sniffing (many in combination with whitelists, which is nothing but badness for the open web, where any standards compliant browser should be fine!). An increasing number are supporting Chrome only at initial launch, which really is sad.

The fact that Opera, who nowadays build on top of the Chromium Content API, have a comment in browser.js after dodging the UA-sniffing saying the following says a lot:

> Google, please make sure your obfuscator does not change class names, so our patch continues working (or stop browser-sniffing as we both use and contribute to Blink!) - love, Opera.

(from https://github.com/operasoftware/browserjs/blob/ceef10b34f63...)

Im surprised we dont have to sign in to Google+ to use the Play Store.

> Update 9:05 a.m. PT: Google has informed VentureBeat that the issue experienced by Firefox users on Android is a bug, and a fix will be issued “very soon.”

i.e. "whoops, we got caught"

Does it work in Chrome?

Yep, just tried it. Firefox not supported, Chrome works fine. It's like Microsoft in the early 2000s all over again.

Hehe, I was just thinking of the 90s.. http://www.anybrowser.org/campaign/

This can't be intentional, can it?

Even if it is intentional, they'll still claim it's an unfortunate mistake and just backpedal from it if the pressure is high enough.

Edit: there really isn't a downside for Google. If no-one complains, then they get a clean shot at locking out a competitor. If they people complain loudly enough, they can just revert the change and pretend like it was a mistake. Within a week the whole episode will be forgotten and they can just cook up another scheme.

Clickbait headline. As bad as this is, the headline make it sound like Firefox was removed from the play store all together, which is far far worse.

I think we're just making a big deal out of this. As someone pointed out, they're likely using technologies not implemented in other browsers yet. Has the OP tried using play store on Aurora? In any case, I feel Google has the ethical and moral right to use whatever they see fit for their own web applications.

And let this be said people, this isn't something new. Not even from Google. Inbox doesn't work on non-chrome browsers.

Even apple restricts using iCloud anything other than Safari. So, why the commotion?

>Even apple restricts using iCloud anything other than Safari.

Are you sure? I can login to iCloud just fine on Firefox (35.0.1) and Canary.

I stand corrected. Maybe it's limited to mobile browsers (doesn't work on Chrome mobile).

Try Chrome mobile. Had an emergency once and got stuck :-/

For the person who just downvoted me, I'd like to know why. Since when is making our opinions heard a bad thing on HN? I never said agree with me. Shouldn't downvoting be restricted to offensive posts?

I am not that person, but I can probably explain anyway.

The whole point of the web is to be a common runtime. You can use it from any browser and any device. You avoid the situation where you prefer browser X because it has some feature that is critical to you, but you have to use browser Y for some web sites. (So in the end, you'll use browser Y for all sites so that your user agent can actually be your agent by eg remembering your history/passwords. Or worse, you will be forced to use multiple browsers due to multiple incompatible websites.) You also avoid the situation where a new hardware platform or browser engine can never be released because there's no way to make it compatible with the current web.

In short, if a "web site" does not work in a strictly standards-compliant browser, then it's not part of the Web. It may be linked to from the web, and it may almost be part of the web, but it's really something else hanging off of it.

There are many such things. Flash apps are a common type. Heck, PDFs are too and until recently all videos were. There's nothing inherently wrong with them existing, as long as they aren't claiming to be part of the Web.

In this case, it may only be a QA shortcoming with respect to a 0.7% market share device. Inbox is not so benign, since the compatibility delay is a pretty strong indicator of corporate priority and policy.

And that's the danger, and the probable reason for the downvote. If you accept non-web things on the web, only thinking of the convenience and added functionality you gain (because your particular user agent is fine with it and makes it appear to be part of the web), then lockin will gradually set in, standards will lose their meaning, browser makers will start having to implement each other's half-baked experimental features that don't interoperate with everything else, cats and dogs will start living together, and there will be no reason not to gain the extra 10% in performance and functionality you get from a native app because your web sites don't run universally anymore anyway. So developers get to start maintaining half a dozen separate code bases because we've pissed away our opportunity to make a single codebase work everywhere. The blasé acceptance of that possibility is what earns downvotes.

The movement in this direction is already well under way on the mobile web, so I'm not just dreaming up imaginary hypothetical scaremongering.

(disclaimer: I am a Firefox platform developer)

"Embrace, extend and extinguish" comes to mind. They've played the long con.

Personally not against it, I see Chrome as a better product.

The Chrome Webstore used to act similarly (I believe it was because of WebP support, but I might be wrong). It works now, though.

time to switch to f-droid, as an open-source app store.


It works from mobile safari (iOS 8.1.3)

I tested it with Cyanogenmod's stock browser customized with an iPhone user-agent, and it also works fine. It seems like Google is trying to coerce "eligible users" into using the Google Play app, but won't prevent others from accessing the site.

I suppose this way they can control access to the store of users coming from AOSP devices. Firefox is available in 3rd party app stores, Chrome isn't. So AOSP users who are not aware of other browsers (=average non-techies) can simply not browse the Play Store.

For twitter users: Google play seems to be @GooglePlay. Tag with #ChromeIsTheNewIE and ask if it is malice or incompentence (those are the only two I can come up with : )

Nothing happens right away.

Plz gogel play store working right now



Is this a reasonable complaint? Why would you be browsing the play store from Android in a browser? If you try to open it in the Chrome browser, it just forces you to the play store app, which rather makes sense.

Every platform and browser requires support and attention, and in this case they chose not to support an edge case that really makes no sense, and simply causes usability issues (so how do you install an app from the Play Store in Firefox?). But cue the typical "don't be evil" sorts of comments.

EDIT: Wow, five downvotes within 2 minutes. The Google hate is strong in this case (and is probably a coordinated effort), where an app ignoring Android URL intents is used in a comically irrelevant fashion....don't be evil, hurr durr.

And the decline of HN continues.

> Why would you be browsing the play store from Android in a browser?

Because you're browsing the web in your web browser (that's what I do with mine, anyway), you end up on a webpage with an app review, so you click the link to check out of the official screenshots and reviews, and all of a sudden you're browsing the Play Store in your browser! What a crazy random happenstance!

It's almost like that's how webpages work or something.

It's not crazy, it's Intent Filters [0], IMHO the Android killer feature as an open platform. As an Android user I love the ability to select my default app in order to open an image, share an image, share a text/link and, of course, open a Play Store app record. It's the Android way and Firefox is breaking it.

[0] http://developer.android.com/guide/components/intents-filter...

As a recent iPhone switcher, yes, I love intents. It's great to be able to set what I open mailto: links in, etc.

Not sure I understand the connection here though, could you explain? What intent is Firefox breaking, and why is it OK that Chrome can go to play.google.com (in the browser, it doesn't bounce me to the Play Store app) while Firefox is blocked?

Apparently if you open a link to the Play Store, Firefox just opens it normally and lets you reopen it in the app if that's what you want, rather than immediately dumping you into the app and randomly breaking stuff like tab support in the process.

Hey, we talked about this here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9027332

...in this case they chose not to support an edge case that really makes no sense.

There's a difference between "not supporting" (e.g. not caring that an icon is positioned wrong) and "completely turning it off". All those sites that used to catch hell for switching on user agent string and telling us to "please install IE in order to use this site", justifiably caught that hell. I'm normally as big a G fanboy as anyone, but how is this different?

Because you're on a device that is guaranteed to have a better mechanism of utilizing the Play Store. You can't install or update from the browser. You can't see that you even have it installed. If the site sees you are in Android in a browser, it uses a URL intent to redirect you to the app, which makes enormous sense but when some people want to cry it out.

And for all of the nonsense through this thread (again, this seems coordinated), Chrome on Android simply punts you to the Play Store app (despite people manufacturing a fiction to pitch their outrage). And, if you really care, you can set Firefox to desktop mode and happily browse it, even though it makes zero sense to do that.

Talk about much ado about absolutely nothing.

You can install from the browser (the play store will push the apk to the selected device). You can see what you have installed on each device, not only on the current one. You can see compatibility for each device, not only the current one. And you can see info for apps, that Google for some reason blocks from you in the app (incompatible device, you happen to be in the wrong country, etc). For example, the only way for me to see Google Play Books description is to put in the link into the browser - the app will not show it.

It can also happen, that you are on device that lacks com.android.vending. With browser, you can at least have a look, what's there.

Chrome on Android simply punts you to the Play Store app

This isn't true at all.

Edit: It's interesting that you shout about coordinated anti-Google sentiment, then put forth obvious falsehoods in your posts.

There's some irony here. Chrome unpredictably punts you to the app when browsing the Play Store (actually I think it has to do with whether the link to the store involved a redirect, but that looks unpredictable from the outside). This is a mess.

Firefox, OTOH, lets you reliably browse the website and easily switch to the app (via the Android in the URL or via the Open in an app option in a link's long-press menu) whenever you want. This is much cleaner, but...

At least we have Phony.

> But cue the typical "don't be evil" sorts of comments.

If this were an isolated incident, I could see your point. But Google has been steadily closing off services and putting up walls over the past couple of years. It's becoming a trend, and not a good one. In a time when even Microsoft is accepting and supporting open source, Google is increasingly looking like the bad guy with every move like this.

The even broader trend seems to be that the market leader does this. Microsoft did it with IE, Office, etc. Google is doing it with Chrome, Android, etc.

It's possible there'll be something else "more open than Android/Chrome" in ~5 years, and then ~5 years after that it will be getting locked down in the same way that Chrome & Android are now.

It might be a cyclic phenomena in the tech industry. Potentially startups can even exploit it by looking at what is in the process of being locked down and producing a more open competitor to it.

"So how do you install an app from the Play Store in Firefox?" Same way I install it from my desktop browser. The site displays a list of my android devices and I select a device to install it on. Sometime later, the Playstore app receives a push notification from google, downloads and installs it.

It works in Chrome browser on Android. Works in Chrome and Firefox on a desktop. It even works from Firefox on Android when requesting the desktop site. So why block just the mobile firefox user-agent? I think it's a perfectly reasonable way to install. If it's not, Google should block all browsers, not just mobile firefox.

There's more to the play store than apps. It annoyed me no end when trying to buy a Nexus 5 that it constantly tried to redirect me to the app... which doesn't sell them!

This. One thing I hate about app versions of webapps is that they aren't always full feature compatible (and sometimes there's no way to even get the desktop site)

Uh, I don't think Firefox actively ignores URL intents, it just prompts about them. Which is what it's supposed to do.

Many phones don't have the play store.

Android ones? Care to name a few?

Nokia X. Every Amazon device. Everyone running a custom ROM who didn't separately flash the "Google Apps" afterward.

All of those sold in China.

Some of those sold in Russia.

Many of those also sold in the United States, Canada, England, Germany, etc.

You can make your phone Google-free (as much as it's possible) with Cyanogenmod.

Dear firefox, please make built in user agent switcher. Thanks.

Firefox for Android supports extensions, and Phony provides this.

You can use about:config for this. There are useragent overrides.

wow. hope --Maemo--, er... --Meego--, er... Tizen can gel, or I guess we can wait on Firefox OS to show up on a device that isn't terrible in the US.

This isn't about Firefox OS. It's about the Firefox browser app on Android. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.fi...

Take the Nexus 4, a device with decent specs even by today's standards, and load up Firefox OS. It's mostly a usable (if slightly buggy) experience, but it still isn't "good enough" to replace Android, iOS, or Windows Phone in my testing even on good hardware. I would call it something between a modern feature phone and a smartphone. It's getting better, but it's still not there yet.

Why throwing baby with the bathwater?

Android is a good os, with many existing apps and libraries... why redo everything? Just cut the bad bits.

Blackberry 10

Nobody uses firefox anymore anyway so who cares?

I'm using Firefox and I care to have a browser, that does not spy on me.

Oh no, not the spying argument again...

The following Google APIs are used by Chrome and Chromium:

- Chrome Remote Desktop - Chrome Spelling API - Chrome Suggest API - Chrome Sync API - Chrome Translate Element - Google Maps Geolocation API - Safe Browsing API - Speech API - Time Zone API - Google Cloud Messaging for Chrome - Drive API (Optional, enable this for Files.app on Chrome OS and SyncFileSystem API) - Google Now For Chrome API (Optional, enabled to show Google Now cards) - Google+ API

Source: http://www.chromium.org/developers/how-tos/api-keys

Google has a nice source of behavior data there. They also went out of way with annoying the user, if his build does not use the Google APIs (a notification, that cannot be permanently dismissed).

I would like to understand you but I don't yet.

Why do you refuse an argument just because it was used in another occasion? That appears to me to be a logical fallacy. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The heart of the argument - that is the demand not to be spied upon - seems to be to be perfectly reasonable and justified due to economic and security aspects. Care to weigh in?

Looking at English dictionaries I found two main meanings of spying:

1) Observing a target with hostile intents.

2) Acquiring and tracking information.

Google has never been hostile towards me. I've never lost money because of Google, or had health damage, or had naked pictures of me released to the web, etc. No "harm" done to me by Google, either literal harm or figurative harm.

So, number 2. If people are complaining of Google tracking information, 99% of things in your computer track your information. Even a simple 'sudo ls' in linux is tracking SOME information to allow you to run other sudo commands without inputting your password again for a while. A computer software that does not store information is usually quite limited.

What harm (and I accept a loose definition of harm here) comes from Google remembering what search you did yesterday or when was the last time you logged on to gmail?

What do you mean again? Did it ever go away?

I switched back to firefox after google turned evil.

As do I.

Edit: realizing this was a very short out of context comment. I use Firefox exclusively on Desktop and >50% on Mobile. Seeing the browser market start to fragment again is quite concerning.

I use firefox and I care.

According to your link, Firefox has 0.7% market share in mobile, which is the relevant metric to this post.

The Play Store (LOL) claims there's about 50M-100M users. It's up to you whether that counts as "nobody" or not.

Downloads, not users.

If you want to install extensions on a mobile device, there is no much choice.

I use firefox and I care a lot.

On Android I would probably use Chrome if it weren't for a particular bug. I mean Chrome comes with my tablet and cannot be removed, so I'll use it unless I can't. But MathJax doesn't work in Chrome for Android and works just fine in Firefox for Android (it works in the desktop versions of both browsers).

If faced with a choice between giving up a browser or giving mathematics, I'll choose the browser every time! :)

And I!

Jeff Atwood's App-pocalypse Now gets more relevant every day http://blog.codinghorror.com/app-pocalypse-now/

Chrome deleted. Default search engine in firefox set to duckduckgo. Will be moving all my gmail/gdocs to a self hosted solution this weekend. If anybody can recommend an open phone or a cheap/throwaway I would appreciate it.

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