Google Chrome – the new Firefox?

When I first started using the Internet, Internet Explorer was the de-facto browser used to browse websites. Sure, there was Netscape as a competitor along with a few other smaller browsers, but Internet Explorer came bundled with Windows and seemed to be the first choice of many Windows users, including myself.

Then, came the security holes, the frequent crashes, the slowness.

Suddenly, I found myself searching for an alternative and found Mozilla’s Firefox browser. Being a developer and system administrator by trade, anything that can be easily modified and extended to suit my browsing needs is right up my alley, and Firefox was the perfect browser.  Using Mozilla’s Add-ons library, Firefox can be customized to match your browsing needs perfectly. Need insight on your web development projects to quickly debug and monitor CSS, HTML, JavaScript, etc. live on any web page? There’s an app for that. Need to check lots of links to ensure they are valid and working? There’s an app for that. How about an add-on to allow you to save screenshots of all or portions of your Firefox window as an image? Yeah, there’s an app for that, too. As you can see, Firefox can be extended to do most anything you want a web browser to do and all with very little effort.

However, my biggest complaint with Firefox was always about its memory usage. It’s no secret that Firefox likes to use your computer’s memory. Depending on what you’re doing and how many tabs you have open, it’s not uncommon for Firefox to want to use 1GB+ of memory. That’s a lot! Of course, you could close Firefox and open it up again to alleviate the problem, but if you use a lot of Tabs at once that doesn’t help in the efficiency department.

I have recently started using Google Chrome and found it to be much more efficient at handling multiple tabs, multiple operations, etc. without utilizing near the amount of RAM that Firefox requires. Chrome’s architecture is vastly different though — each tab runs its own separate Windows process. Chrome also includes its own Task Manager that lets you see (and close) individual tabs and their associated memory usage.

Chrome also seems faster overall. Chrome’s startup time is noticeably faster than Firefox, and pages seem to render faster. Speaking of faster, the download operations in Chrome seem faster in terms of efficiency. Firefox’s download procedure did not make finding documents easy. Chrome downloads start in the task bar at the bottom, and the user can easily open the file or right click to do a number of things with it.

Finally, Chrome is rivaling Firefox with its Chrome Web Store, a take on Firefox’s Add-ons library. While Firefox still has more add-ons available than Chrome, developers are quickly closing the gap and rapidly releasing Chrome-capable add-ons. That’s no surprise since Chrome has already claimed 20% of the browser market share, inching ever so closely to Internet Explorer’s 28.6%.

What browser do you use? Have you tried Chrome? What do you like/dislike about it? Share your browser relationship in the comments.

Richard Ward is a Sr. Web Applications Developer for OurChurch.Com. Richard's professional background is in LAMP style web development. Richard is also a technology enthusiast with a strong interest in emerging technologies. You can reach him at richard@ourchurch.com or on Twitter at @OCCRichard.

12 Responses to “Google Chrome – the new Firefox?”

  1. I know, I was using IE until last week when I got tired of it taking 10 minutes to load my homepage. I downloaded Chrome and it smokes. I have never tried firefox but it will be hard to get me to switch from Chrome now.

    • I'm definitely with you. One of the few issues I've run into is how Chrome renders pages differently from Firefox and IE resulting in some mainstream pages not loading correctly in Chrome. I imagine this will be fixed in due time, especially with Chrome's popularity growing at a rapid pace.

  2. I'm Chrome all the way. Dislike FF and IE, though use them as backup browsers for a few websites that don't always support Chrome, but other than that always Chrome. Much faster, more effiecient, and more!

  3. My journey models practically yours as well. I love Chrome now, and I almost never boot up firefox or IE

  4. CheckYourStats Dec 15, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Interesting story, but really you're claiming w3school's site stats are indicative of the Internet as a whole? A site that is targetted at devs is hardly a good sample of global usage. Try Net Applications or some other regarded stats site. Reputed stats companies put IE's Chrome's current share (Nov 2010) 9-12% with FF ~20 and IE's around ~50-60.

  5. Opera is my preferred browser. It has a built-in mail client which makes my surfing easily. Firefox may be slower than Chrome but Google Chrome has a tracking tendency. Here is the info http://surferzworld.com/2010/01/google-chrome-bro
    Opera > Firefox >> Chrome

  6. Hello, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, very good blog!

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