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Firefox is Dead to Me; Long Live Chrome

Chrome-logo-2011-03-16[1]I have been an enthusiastic user of Firefox for over 9 years. I’ve convinced dozens of people to switch from IE, I’ve guerrilla-installed it on other people’s computers, and I have generally been a fanboy.

But as of this evening, Firefox is dead to me.

I can live with Firefox being a memory hog, and I can live with the increasing instability (it crashes about once every other week), but earlier this evening Firefox  crossed the one line I cannot ignore.

As of two hours ago, the Firefox web browser on my laptop stopped being able to access the admin pages on my blog. It returns a 400 error, which will not go away no matter what I do.

As much as I hate change, I cannot cope with an app which is this screwed up. Firefox has to go.

And so I wrote this post in Chrome.

I’ve already moved my bookmarks, confirmed the the logins details transferred, and I have installed several of the plugins I can’t live without (Adblock Plus, Ghostery, etc). Over the next few days I plan to transfer one activity or task at a time, and once I have fully migrated to Chrome I will gleefully delete Firefox.

I’ve had Chrome as my backup web browser for several years now, and I have been intending to switch to it for at least a year now; I’ve even said that "I am one bored weekend away" from junking Firefox. Thanks to the latest utter fuck-up from Firefox I am switching sooner rather than later.

And I am not the only one to make the switch.

The latest data from Adobe tells us that Chrome is the leading web browser in the US. With a 32% share, Chrome edged out Internet Explorer (31%) and handily beat Safari (25%). Firefox, on the other hand, came in a distant 4th place with under a 9% market share.

As I reported back in June:

With 8.7%, Firefox come in a distant but not too surprising 4th place. Mozilla’s web browser has suffered a steady decline from nearly 20% market share three years ago; Adobe says that the decline is due to the lack of a mobile browser, but I say it a result of Firefox becoming increasingly less pleasant to use.

Chrome is readily trouncing Firefox and IE, and we need look no further than the global data offered by Statcounter to see that Chrome accounts for 38% of the web browsers tracked by the analytics. IE comes in second with 15.5%, and Firefox is still holding on to a distant third place, but as you can see in this chart Chrome is trending steadily upward while FF and IE are trending downward.


This might be news to you, but I for one am not surprised.  My user experience with Firefox has grown steadily worse over the past few years, so I can easily imagine that users are abandoning it in droves.

What about you? Have you made the switch from Firefox to a better web browser?

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Robert Nagle August 18, 2014 um 11:30 pm

Wow, this is close to home. I find strangely enough that on Ubuntu with my old hardware that chromium’s youtube totally sucks, but Google Chrome for ubuntu is somewhat better. (UPDATE: No it is not. I tried watching the acclaimed Hulafantastica video and it totally chokes on linux Google Chrome as well as chromium with my video card).

Now that LastPass, Adblock Plus are on both browsers, I guess I could be comfortable living a Firefox-free life. Despite my PC hardware being a few years old, it has 8 gigs of RAM and Firefox rapidly approaches that limit almost every day. I blame it on Flash and probably Adblock plus. On firefox, those annoying greeting popups that appear whenever you go to a media site take forever to load. I suspect that a few of my problems are more linuxy than firefoxy, but still ….

Nate Hoffelder August 19, 2014 um 12:05 am

I rarely had FF take the entire 8GB of RAM on my laptop, but that is mainly because I kill the app when it reaches 3GB and then restart it. It has always been a memory hog.

Kevin August 19, 2014 um 2:01 am

Just tried the link to Youtube vid and I had absolutely no problem playing it on Chrome (nice). My vid card is an older Nvidia GT640. I have 12 GB ram on computer and am running Linux Mint 16.
I use FF and Chrome but Chrome is used 90% of the time. Just some RSS feeds that Chrome will not display properly whereas I have NO problems with FF.
Just my 2 cents.

Peter August 18, 2014 um 11:35 pm

Honestly I tossed Firefox ages ago (it maintains a rump presence on my system in the form of the Tor Browser Bundle because I’m too bloody lazy to set up Tor/Vidalia manually).

Then again, I was never much of a FF fan in the first place, I ended up tossing Opera under the bus for Chrome.

Robert Nagle August 18, 2014 um 11:38 pm

(for the record, my previous comment was not intended simply to spread the word about the Hulafantastica video — though I think it’s beautiful on many levels — but that is just the HD video I use to test browser performance . On another subject, I have noticed that on my hardware on linux, full screen mode in Firefox seems to freeze often — I am 80% sure that it’s related to the stupid interstitial ads that Youtube is always showing — despite AdBlock Plus being installed. YMMV though.

BeeTee-Ess August 19, 2014 um 12:09 am

I’ll not be switching to Chrome until Tab Mix Plus is available.

Quasar August 19, 2014 um 12:10 am

I’ve come back to FF in recent months. I find it better than Chrome now, I’m just a bit frustrated by Googles chrome only stuff, that as a user of Google services makes it a bit annoying.

Ray August 19, 2014 um 1:15 am

As Chrome still doesn’t have some plugin that I need, such as Tab Mix Plus (which I consider as the most important plugin in Firefox), I am not changing. I use Firefox on home computer, company computer and smartphone. I love it!

Angela Booth August 19, 2014 um 5:27 am

I was a faithful Safari user (Mac), because Safari interacts so well with many of my other apps. Then it started behaving oddly, a few months back.

Even though I cleared all the settings, nothing helped. So I moved to Chrome, and it’s become my default browser.

I still use Safari. I’ve also got Firefox on my system, and use it once a week to access a collection of tabs I created years ago, and can’t be bothered to set up in another browser.

Name Required August 19, 2014 um 5:38 am

A few years ago I was SO pissed of by Mint Linux team hijacking the Firefox search box that I decided to switch to Chrome as my principal browser – I use all major browsers from time to time.
The lack of anything even remotely resembling Tree Style Tab plugin drove me back to Firefox. I had to learn how to un-hijack the search box 😉

OOOOKaaaayyyyy … let me check the state of tree-style-tabs-like plugins on Chrome …
HA! I have just discovered Sidewise Tree Style Tabs
I will test the use of Chrome and Sidewise Tab in following days. There are, sadly, more annoyances with Chrome. I shall see when I try to use it more in following weeks. The Tree Style Tab was flaky recently in my Linux version of Firefox

Feda August 19, 2014 um 7:03 am

I’m sticking with IE 10. It’s the only browser left that lets you turn off tabbed browsing.

Nate Hoffelder August 19, 2014 um 8:16 am

To each their own. I think tabs are the greatest browser feature since the back button.

Feda August 19, 2014 um 11:37 am

I find them redundant, but it’s just a matter of preference. I just hate it when developers try to force things on people. It usually doesn’t go well. Just ask Microsoft about Windows 8.

Juli Monroe August 19, 2014 um 7:10 am

I’ve been primarily a Chrome user for some time now. I find it cleaner and faster than Firefox. I still use Firefox to log in to a client’s Google and Facebook accounts so I don’t have to switch out of mine. Other than that, I never use it.

Nate Hoffelder August 19, 2014 um 8:15 am

Indeed. For many years I used Chrome for the same purpose as you use FF: I didn’t have ad blockers installed or any accounts set up, and that offered a different view of the web.

Sarah Ettritch August 19, 2014 um 7:26 am

I primarily use IE11, with Chrome as a backup. I read all my RSS feeds through IE, one of the reasons I stick with it.

Merry Bond August 19, 2014 um 7:42 am

I’ve been loving Chrome for many years now. I’ve got it synced on all of my devices so I can access all my bookmarks wherever I am. But there are still some websites and plugins that just don’t work with it (just got a really nice new one with my updated website), so I do have to keep returning to FF whether I like it or not.

Summer Stephens August 19, 2014 um 8:51 am

I was forced into a relationship with FireFox about four years ago while taking college classes online. Hated every minute of it. (Using the browser, not the classes!) I used Opera for all non-school-related stuff. When I finished classes, out of curiosity I pulled up Chrome and never looked back. It’s my default on all devices, and I even own a Samsung Chromebook which I shamelessly adore, and travels with me. Long live Chrome, indeed!

kurt August 19, 2014 um 11:46 am

switched back to IE from Chrome myself
way too often Chrome would state that it can’t display a webpage but then try IE – no problem at all

DebbyS August 19, 2014 um 12:00 pm

This is a timely story. Yesterday a client wanted me to upload an important document to a state website, which I discovered could not talk to my IE11 (eleven), but only IE10 and earlier. I have that on my XP computer but it’s no longer hooked up to the internet (for obvious reasons). The state employee suggested Firefox but I had no time to download it, set it up, learn it and use it while the employee waited to talk me through the website. My client went to plan B, so I didn’t have to worry. Sadly, by the end of the year the state will make e-filing mandatory; I hope they update their software! I did download the Firefox exe file but will now disregard it and if I need another browser I’ll check out Chrome.

Skippy2057 August 19, 2014 um 12:19 pm

I get frustrated with Firefox performance on Linux from time to time, but I *really* like the live bookmarks; I don’t think there is anything similar on Chrome/Chromium, and I sort of dislike using an RSS reader.

BillW August 19, 2014 um 12:35 pm

I have done the reverse. I’ve moved back to Firefox in the past year after trying to live with Chrome. Just couldn’t do it. I found Chrome to be the bigger memory hog, and it just doesn’t provide the ability to customize to the depth I need. Plus, though I don’t hate Google, I do tend to choose/use alternatives when I can.

But were I having the problems with FF that you are, sure I’d use Chrome. But I’m not.

John December 7, 2014 um 4:07 pm

Every browser has there plus and minus. I used FF on windows but now I do not use windows at all. I use whatever is the best. FF run great on gnome, kde, and android. I use the sync function to have all my bookmarks on all devices at once.
Now FF works with all my financial sites. I use thunderbird to enter contacts and notes and that sync to all devices within minutes. FF is trending down mainly because microsoft windows is fading and being replaced by ios and andriod which already have good browsers to begin with. Its still a great organization.

Fritz G August 19, 2014 um 2:56 pm

I’ve been using Chrome most of the time, and Firefox the rest of the time. It seems FF is always updating to a new version, and then the add-ons I use take a while to catch up to the new version. One extension I really like in Chrome is Modern New Tab Page. I have it set up to display a bunch of sites I often visit in the course of the day, but don’t want to bother using the bookmarks to navigate to.

Anthony August 19, 2014 um 3:09 pm

I have Safari, Chrome, and Firefox installed on my Mac (Linux Mint laptop uses Chromium/Firefox), but made Chrome the default browser some time ago. I’ve been using more and more of Google’s services lately (since it’s somewhat cross-OS/device supporting), so maybe related to that.

Rimon August 19, 2014 um 4:37 pm

I used Opera for many years, until they went and made it a Chrome clone without basic capabilities. Now in Windows I use Pale Moon, a faster version of Firefox. It still can’t do all I liked in Opera (no sticky fit-to-width, for example), but it’s better than vanilla Firefox, and I like its sensibilities far better than those of Chrome, which always feels too flensed down.

Glinda Harrison August 19, 2014 um 10:06 pm

It’s weird: Firefox stopped working correctly on my Win 7 desktop a while back, but still works fine on the Vista one…. There are definitely some strange issues going on.

Verena August 19, 2014 um 10:24 pm

Love Chrome, been using it almost exclusively for maybe about 2 years now. I don’t recall what the issue was with FireFox that I finally chucked it back then. I also use it on my iPhone and iPad, and all of the people whom I help with their computers have been converted as well.

Sherri August 19, 2014 um 11:37 pm

I got fed up with Firefox being a memory hog about a year or so ago and switched to Chrome, but found that Chrome wasn’t much better and was annoying in other ways, so I switched back. So I use FF for most things and IE when I need to look at something without all my blockers.

David August 20, 2014 um 12:29 am

I have been toying with Chrome/Canary/Dev for quite a while. I haven’t made the switch yet, but recently my LastPass plugin stopped authenticating in Firefox (talk about your navel puckering. At least I can still log in through the website.) I have a love/hate relationship with browsers. I remember when I was using Netscape Navigator, Mozilla, and then trying to decide if it was worth trying this upstart browser firebird.

I like over AdBlock Plus. I’ve heard a lot of reports that ABP is also a memory hog, and does a good job of blocking ads.

Joseph August 20, 2014 um 11:57 am

Funny…not one person stated that used a cache cleaner or memory booster,instead of letting the browser over stuff itself…with 6 gigs of memory I only use 10-15% of CPU & maybe 20% of RAM…& Google Chrome is the biggest memory hog…I personally use Maxthon, but use firefox all the time..

Nate Hoffelder August 20, 2014 um 11:58 am

I never thought of that. Can you recommend one?

Howard Lee Harkness August 20, 2014 um 7:58 pm

My wife abandoned Firefox nearly a year ago, but I still use it. And I even used it today to edit some blog stuff. I’m guessing you have installed one plugin or extension too many. Or maybe you are running on a crippled system (the first thing I do when I get a new laptop is to max out the memory and install the biggest HD I can get for less than $150).

It *does* load slow, and that’s irritating. Next laptop probably gets an SSD, though.

But yeah, if I suddenly became unable to login to the dashboard of any of my sites, FF would be history. Not sure I would replace it with Chrome, though. I’ve learned the hard way that you should *never* adopt a business model that depends on Google for anything important.

Nate Hoffelder August 21, 2014 um 6:44 am

"Not sure I would replace it with Chrome, though."

I’m beginning to regret the move. Chrome might be popular but it’s really not designed for power users. It’s missing too many keyboard shortcuts and the way tabs are displayed basically makes Chrome useless if you have more than ten or so open.

John S November 26, 2014 um 6:23 am

I have to agree that Firefox is dying. Of course we now know that Mozilla has parted ways with Google and signed a deal with Yahoo. I don’t see how going from the search engine default of Google to a small potato’s market share of Yahoo search will save Firefox in terms of revenue. Its a desperate move to keep Mozilla alive but I see major reductions in staff and development down the road. I am not a total Chrome fanboy but I do see the writing on the wall. Chrome numbers are simply growing and Firefox is shrinking and the IE crowd wants neither of these browsers. Either by choice, lack of knowing about other browsers or are forced to use IE. Yes, Firefox has become irrelevant and that is not good for Mozilla.

A Gizmodo Blogger Gives Up on Chrome, Goes Back to Firefox ⋆ Ink, Bits, & Pixels February 13, 2015 um 4:59 pm

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