Once upon a time, not so many moons ago, Google Chrome was sitting at the very top of the browser world. That’s not really the case today – Depending on who you ask, you might even hear that it’s a subpar browser.
Aside from IE (which is used mainly in business environments and almost always against the wishes of frustrated employees), Firefox is Google Chrome’s biggest competition. Whether you’re fed up with Chrome or you’re just looking for somewhere that you can compare the two browsers, this short post has got you covered. With that said, here are nine reasons that you might want to consider switching.
Better Battery Life
One of the things people like about the Google Chrome browser is how fast it is. While it’s true that Chrome is indeed faster than Firefox is, the difference in speed is fairly negligible. This chart shows how much difference there is between the browsers when it comes to power consumption:
As you can see, it’s not a huge difference. Where it does make a difference is if you’re using a laptop – The more resources your browser uses, the more likely you are to have to recharge in almost no time at all. If a laptop, tablet, or phone is what you’re using to browse the internet, you might want to consider switching to Firefox so that you don’t have to be plugged into a wall as often.
Works Better For Tab Users
If you’re one of those people who have thirty tabs open at any given time, Firefox might just be your better bet. Here’s a test that shows how the two popular browsers compare in terms of RAM usage with 1, 5, 10, and 15 tabs open (all pointed to the same page for the sake of consistency, of course).
RAM Usage for Chrome 58
- 1 Tab — 49.2 MB
- 5 Tabs — 265.3 MB
- 10 Tabs — 533.2 MB
- 15 Tabs — 748.3 MB
RAM Usage for Firefox 53
- 1 Tab — 116.3 MB
- 5 Tabs — 376.6 MB
- 10 Tabs — 437.0 MB
- 15 Tabs — 518.4 MB
As you can see, Chrome might be the better bet for the person that just has a couple of tabs open. However, if you’re someone who regularly has eight or more tabs open while you’re surfing the internet (which, I assume, is most people these days), Firefox is definitely the browser you want to be using.
It’s Strictly A Browser
When Chrome first made its debut on the browser market, a big part of its appeal was how incredibly barebones it was – You got a clean browser with minimal stuff that made it fast, and that was that. Today, that couldn’t be further from the case; it’s now some sort of monstrosity with apps upon apps that slow it down. Some people blame this on Google’s desire to turn Chrome into Chrome OS, others say that’s just the way the market work.
Either way, Firefox has consistently remained nothing more than a browser throughout. I mean, sure, it has a bunch of optional features that some people might consider to be bloat, but it has no misconceptions of what it is or what it’s supposed to do.
They Do Open Source Right
Some people might argue that Google Chrome is technically (at least a little bit) open source because it’s based on the Chromium browser which has inspired plenty of other browsers (Opera, Slimjet, etc.). I would argue that these people are half correct – Sure, those other browsers may have been inspired by Chromium, but a true open source mentality is a lot more than just being like Here! Use our code.
Mohamed Mansour sums it up pretty nicely in this Quora comment:
“I have contributed code to the Chromium project for over two years . . . but lost motivation because of how closed that platform became. Yes it is open sourced, but it is guarded by a big organization where most of its discussions and future direction are done internally inside their organization.
Google is treating Chrome as a closed competitive product more than an open product. Chrome’s open source model is basically “here is the code for the browser, do whatever you want.” It doesn’t have the same open source culture everyone is used to. Companies these days are abusing the core definition of Open Source, and it is sad.”
Alternatively, Firefox seems to have the whole thing figured out perfectly. If you head over to Mozilla’s Wiki page, you can see what the browser’s development is going to look like for almost the next year! Firefox clearly understands the true meaning of open source and provides the public with a roadmap so that they can have their say; that’s a lot more than we can say for Chrome.
Your Privacy Matters
A few years ago, Mozilla started promoting users’ right to online privacy. They explained their beliefs – That people should know who has access to their data, where it could go, and that they should be able to have a choice in the matter. The following year, they solidified their stance on the matter even more with a statement saying that there were billions of people online but not enough transparency and control. Truer words were never spoken.
Even if none of that matters to you though, even if you don’t really care about having complete and total control over your privacy, it’s no secret that Google is like the Mafia King of privacy sucking. Chances are that Google already knows more about you than you should be comfortable with, do you really want to give them even more details? Probably not.
Tons of Customization
You can customize a few aspects of the Google Chrome browser (mainly hiding toolbars, shifting icons around, and playing around with different skins), but it pretty much looks the same on any device and if you spend a lot of time looking at your computer screen, you might find it to be a bit boring.
Firefox, on the other hand, firmly believes that your browser should be as unique as you are. In addition to giving you the chance to move things around however you want, the above picture shows just a few of the many themes they have available for download so that you can make your browser suit you instead of the other way around. You can even make your Firefox browser emulate another by using things like FXOpera, FXChrome, and even MX4.
It Supports Chrome Extensions
If Chrome’s extensions are what is keeping you loyal to the browser, you’ll be happy to hear that Firefox can many of the same extensions – As long as you’re running Firefox 48 or newer, WebExtensions (a cross-platform API that gives developer’s the chance to create their extensions once and have them be able to run on multiple platforms) is supported.
In order to get the Chrome extensions that you know and love on your Firefox browser, all you need to do is download ‘Chrome Store Foxified’. Once you’ve done that, simply head over to the Chrome Web Store and find whatever you’d like; instead of ‘Add to Chrome’ on the top right, you’ll see ‘Add to Firefox’ instead.
It Has Unique Extensions
When it comes to size, Chrome’s extension library blows Firefox’s out of the water. That said, Firefox has some unique and incredibly useful extensions that you’re not able to get anywhere else.
One of the best examples of this is the Tree Style Tab (shown above). As you can see, it takes your tabs and puts them to the side. From there, it organizes all of your tabs for you and gives you the opportunity to shift them around however you please. This tree hierarchy is completely unique to Firefox and is reason alone to try it out – Once you’ve experienced this level of customization, it’s hard to go back to normalcy.
It Can Do Almost Anything That Chrome Can
At the end of the day, it really comes down to what you want out of a browser. That said, a lot of people are shying away from Google’s attempts to know everything about our free time and online lives. The browsers are fairly comparable, but it must be a sign that Firefox’s user base has risen 5% in less than a year.
5 Reasons You Might Want To Use Chrome Instead
Firefox is great at many things, but there are a few instances in which Chrome is clearly the better browser choice. Here are five that probably come up for the average person:
- Chromecast streaming is not supported by Firefox.
- For people who don’t necessarily know what they’re doing when it comes to computers, Chrome’s clean, polished feel is probably easier to navigate.
- Web developers may find that advanced developing is easier to accomplish using Chrome.
- Some sites and apps might work better in Chrome (partly because Google holds a lot of influence over which direction web technologies are going to shift which kind of gives their browser an unfair advantage).
- If you’re already using Google’s services (Gmail etc.) and don’t care too much about privacy, you might find it beneficial to be able to set a Chrome account up directly to your email address.
So ultimately it’s up to you, but you should at least know that there are comparable alternatives out there; Firefox is just one of many. What browser do you surf the web with and why did you choose it? Let us know in the comments section below.