Blogger Gives Up on Chrome, Goes Back to Firefox

Blogger Gives Up on Chrome, Goes Back to Firefox Web Browser As a blogger, I spend 80% of my day in a web browser, so when I this morning that Eric Limer had posted a rant about Chrome I made sure to take some time to read it.

Limer has used Chrome for several years now, but after having one too many indignities visited upon him by Google, he's decided to switch to Firefox:

I've been revving myself up to switch for a while now, as Chrome has steadily gotten worse and worse. The writing has been on the wall for years. In 2011 Google was already "aggressively looking at options to bring down the size of Chrome distribution binaries."

Of course the install size is nothing compared to the memory usage problems. A cursory Yahoo! search (Yep, I am really using Firefox right now!) turns up all kinds of complaints and pleas for respite, sprinkled across the years. But more damning is just opening up the task manager to see for yourself.

Add in frequent crashes—of Chrome on the whole, or just the Flash player—lock-ups, and a half-dozen tabs that auto-open on launch thanks to the dozens of extensions I've accumulated over the years, and I've had enough. I just can't take it anymore.

I've known things were bad, but what pushed me over the edge to actually switch was when I fired up Safari yesterday, to make sure that an issue I was having with Gizmodo dot com was not Chrome-specific (BECAUSE I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED IF IT WAS). It blew my god damn hair back. It was... fast!

I can feel his pain. I've only been using Chrome for 6 months and I'm already wishing I could go back to Firefox. (Hell, I regretted the switch after about 3 weeks - no joke.)

But I haven't.

Limer's right in that Chrome crashes, and that it's a memory hog, but do you know what is keeping me in Chrome?

There's the auto-translate feature, and also that Firefox is just as bad (on Windows, anyway; Limer has a Mac).

I used FF for 7 or 8 years before trying Chrome, and I can confirm that the Windows version of Fire fox is nearly as bad as Chrome. It's just as much of a memory hog and it's possibly even more unstable. What's more, I've had similar FF-specific browser issues (this is what forced both Limer and myself to jump ship).

So as much as I dislike Chrome, I don't see an immediate reason to switch back.

But I'll be honest; I'm probably just a single crash away from switching, myself. All it would take for Chrome to crash and lose all my tabs and I will probably give up on it.

This browser is really that frustrating, yes.

But let's face facts here; the problem is not so much that the programming is bad as that Limer and I are asking the web browsers to do a heck of a lot. We do so much in our web browsers that it is more of an OS than a web browser.

In a hypothetical day, a blogger could use a web browser to play videos and music, write posts, open and edit word docs, play games, and send correspondence.

There was a time that you could only do all of those things in an operating system, and not a web browser. By shoving all of those activities into an app - and then denying the app closer control of hardware and software management which an OS has - you're setting up the web browser to fail.

P.S. Has this inspired anyone else to go try a Chromebook?

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

34 Comments

  1. Meryl Yourish13 February, 2015

    That’s funny, because after two solid days of 100% CPU hogging by Firefox, I was ready to switch to Chrome. Instead, I dumped two new add-ons, both of which allow you to download videos, and the memory issue went away. I was on a video-heavy site (Imgur) today when the CPU usage shot up, and I think I was on Imgur the last time, too. Had to do a full reboot to clear the crap from memory, too.

    Maybe you can lose some of your FF extensions?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder13 February, 2015

      My usual trick with FF was to kill all the processes and restart it. That usually recovered a GB or so of RAM (out of 4GB used). This trick doesn’t work so well with Chrome.

      Reply
  2. jjj13 February, 2015

    You don’t need to use only one browser, i use 4, each for different things. Why do people use just one anyway?
    And you can force multiple instances of Firefox for example but that’s more annoying than it should be.
    Keeping it clean with no extensions and all that bloat helps too, for the browser that needs to most stability.

    Reply
  3. fjtorres13 February, 2015

    I’m waiting to see what Spartan looks like, performance-wise.
    Because there isn’t a browser I like on Windows or Android.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder13 February, 2015

      I’d like to see it too, but I’m not planning to upgrade from Win7.

      Reply
      1. fjtorres13 February, 2015

        Last gossip I heard at ZDNET is Spartan will be a multiplatform app, not an OS feature tied to Win10.
        Odds are it’ll make it to Android at some point.

        Reply
      2. Rob Siders14 February, 2015

        I’ve been reading Win 10 is actually pretty good. My buddy Nels says “it’s rad.”

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder15 February, 2015

          I’m one of those people who holds on to Windows long after the replacement arrives. I still used Windows XP at the end of 2010.

          I plan to repeat this pattern with Windows 7, which means i could be using this OS in 2020.

          Reply
  4. Bart Anderson13 February, 2015

    I’ve been using Chromebooks for about five months, Nate, and I’m very happy with them. Very fast to boot up, little or no maintenance required. My non-tech wife loves her Chromebook and learned to use it quickly.

    It’s great for what most of us do 95% of the time – browsing the web, email, writing, listening to music, watching videos.

    There are certain applications which are not available (Calibre, for example).

    I think Chromebooks (or something like them) are the wave of the future. Traditional computers just require too much hassle for what most people use them for.

    I haven’t had problems with the browser – but then again, I usually have fewer than 12 tabs open, and we don’t have the Chromebooks with the lowest specs.

    Reply
  5. BeeTee-Ess13 February, 2015

    I’ve been using Firefox for almost 10 years. I always upgrade to the latest version as it become available. I do have a number of extensions, but the list has been stable for years. The only thing from Nate’s list of functions that I do NOT do, is play games.

    I cannot remember the last time it crashed.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder13 February, 2015

      Limer and I usually have 40 plus tabs open. That introduces its own stability issue.

      Reply
      1. Lori G.14 February, 2015

        I usually have between 10 – 20 pages open at any given time on Firefox. The most I ever had was 67, and I had no problem. I tried Chrome for 2 days and went back to Firefox. Too buggy, CPU hog, very slow. I have not had any issues with Firefox. But then again, my laptop is 4 years old, so that may explain why Firefox works so well.

        Reply
  6. hob13 February, 2015

    Try Opera, it’s much better. You can use Chrome extensions on it too: https://addons.opera.com/en/extensions/details/download-chrome-extension-9/

    I liked the old Opera more (Opera 12.16 was the last); it was actually more of an “Internet Suite” and had lots of features most of the users didn’t know even existed! I remember having 50 or even 100+ tabs open at all times and it managed them all easily without consuming much of system memory. One good thing about it was it’s cache; imagine having 50+ tabs open and switching between them and having them there loaded from the cache after restarting the browser without any need for reloading those pages. You could also prevent prevent images on a page, a whole website, or for all the websites from loading (or just GIFs), it had it’s own ad blocker, and you could even change the identity of the browser in the settings! 😀 One of the things I loved about the old Opera browser was that you could change the place of EVERYTHING in the UI, either from inside the program itself or by editing the ini config files! I had my address bar placed on the bottom of the screen which was absolutely fantastic and I miss it so much. 🙁 ( https://i.imgur.com/rLzBRS2.jpg https://i.imgur.com/p7ZPgKY.jpg https://i.imgur.com/HVyvq99.jpg and now it’s become this https://i.imgur.com/SCiGouC.jpg no tab stacking, no customizable ui, no advanced options, all thanks to Google and the chromium shit!)

    Some of the developers of the original Opera desktop browser are working on a project called Vivaldi to bring the beloved Opera browser to life: https://vivaldi.com/

    Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and many more are now Chromium-based and use the same engines and code base. Between these, Opera is still the best imho. It also remembers the open session and reopens all the tabs that were open when you last closed the browser (ofc you can disable it or change the settings) and it won’t get closed if you close the last open tab, just goes to the Speed Dial page!

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder13 February, 2015

      I’ve seen Vivaldi. It’s on watch list; I plan to try it after it matures a bit.

      Reply
      1. zuhfgv14 February, 2015

        You should also watch Otter (http://otter-browser.org/), whose first stable release is scheduled for June (http://thedndsanctuary.eu/index.php?topic=718.0). Some would consider it the better alternative to Vivaldi. Presto-based Opera’s retirement left an empty space that is yet to be filled. It looks like Otter is on the best path to it.

        Reply
        1. hob14 February, 2015

          Nice! Thanks zuhfgv.

          As I see it’s based on Blink but they want to work on the UI and settings to make it like the old Opera and even better. Vivaldi uses Blink as its engine too and it’s a good thing not wasting time and energy on building your own engine or maintaining an old one like Presto.

          I hope to see both of these projects succeed and become better replacements for the original Opera browser.

          Reply
          1. zuhfgv14 February, 2015

            Actually, Otter is designed to support multiple backends. Blink is relatively new. It started with QtWebKit, which, I believe, is still the default. Support for QtWebEngine (Blink) was added one month ago. Further backends might be supported in the future.

            Reply
    2. Samael15 April, 2015

      Firefox is not Chromium based.

      Reply
  7. Anthony13 February, 2015

    I’ve been using a Chromebook as a secondary computer (to my late 2012-model Mac Mini) since last summer, and it’s worked fine for most of my computing purposes. (The Mac can handle things requiring more horsepower.)

    On the Mac, I have Firefox and Chrome installed, and usually use Chrome. I’ve noticed the Mac feeling sluggish lately, though wonder if it might be from OS X Yosemite and/or not restarting as often…

    Reply
    1. Ingo Lembcke14 February, 2015

      > OS X Yosemite and/or not restarting as often

      Restarting does not help, they changed at least one basic underlying function (DNS), read the Ars Technica Article, it is bit dated, as with Beta 10.10.2 (now GA), and Beta 10.10.3 they try to solve this, but imho it is not solved.
      Then again, maybe not all Yosemite Users experience it.
      It may be that WLAN is also at fault, and the new AirDrop&Handoff features.
      Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, sorry Appleworld.
      Link to Ars Technica

      Reply
      1. Ingo Lembcke14 February, 2015

        Forgot to mention it, if you experience these kinds of errors, like sluggish DNS resolving, every browser should (!) show this behavior, so changing browsers, killing the browser and starting it new, disabling plugins/extensions will not help in the long run, maybe temporarily.

        Reply
  8. Ken Mitchell14 February, 2015

    Try the PaleMoon web browser. It’s a Windoze-only fork of FireFox which is somewhat faster and more stable than FireFox is.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder15 February, 2015

      Thanks. I’ll give it a shot.

      Reply
    2. anothername15 February, 2015

      It also exists for Android and is an improvement over FF for Android. Less page fuzzing and freezes.

      Reply
  9. Name (required)14 February, 2015

    Nate, your article about switching to Chrome inspired me to try it. It was much better experience than my previous try thanks to a plugin that is similar to tree-style tab on FF, but still not good enough. I returned to FireFox.

    I have installed some plugins to my FF to bring back user interface features that FF developers ditched when they were “improving” user interface.

    One of those days when the new FF update brings yet another interface change I am going to install PaleMoon.

    Reply
    1. fjtorres14 February, 2015

      It types keep “improving” software until it breaks.

      Reply
      1. fjtorres14 February, 2015

        That should be IT types.

        Reply
  10. reichsputin14 February, 2015

    The S3.Google Translator add-on (https://addons.mozilla.org/ru/firefox/addon/s3google-translator/) implements automatic translation into Firefox just like it is on Crome.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder15 February, 2015

      Thanks!

      There’s a bookmarklet which you can use to have gTranslate convert a webpage, but it’s messy. The way Chrome does it is a lot neater and cleaner.

      Reply
  11. Rob Siders14 February, 2015

    If you stick with Chrome, I recommend uninstalling any add-ons you don’t use and installing one called OneTab, which saves all current open tabs as lunks on a single page. That single page even saves the historical link list. I also tend to open up a crap ton of tabs at once and OneTab is perfect for helping me manage them when they get to be too much.

    Reply
  12. Feda14 February, 2015

    I’m happy with IE 10. Would be using IE 11 if they hadn’t removed the option to disable tabbed browsing.

    Reply
  13. Fritz G14 February, 2015

    One thing I’ve encountered that seems to create problems, at least for me, is when I have multiple tabs open on web pages that constantly want to refresh themselves.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder15 February, 2015

      I hate that (Twitter is particularly bad). It’s not just they’re wasting RAM and CPU cycles, they’re also wasting bandwidth.

      Reply
  14. Claude15 February, 2015

    I’m on Mac and I’ve tried all browsers.

    Safari remains the best option.

    Second best? I think Opera will be the next best thing, when they’ll figure out a way to sync evertyhing between platforms.

    Chrome has become slow. Firefox is faster now.

    Reply

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