Google Chrome – the new Firefox?

Written by Richard Ward

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.

About the author

Richard Ward

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 or on Twitter at @OCCRichard.


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