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I can't understand why Chrome's so popular

Discuss various technical topics not related to Mozilla.
Grand Dizzy
 
Posts: 126
Joined: February 28th, 2005, 3:57 pm

Post Posted January 16th, 2018, 5:28 pm

About a year ago, I heard of a new browser called "Chrome" and discovered it was Google's attempt to make their own web browser. I had no idea anyone actually used it. Who would trust all their sensitive data, accounts, bookmarks, etc, to a huge commercial information company like Google? I certainly wouldn't.

So until today, I've always thought that 90% of web users used Internet Explorer, while the rest of us use either Firefox, Opera, or Safari.

But now I've just learned that 55% of web users are using Chrome! What's more, many of those users seem to have migrated from browsers like Firefox.

I'm kind of in shock about this. What's going on here? Why have people left Firefox? What's the draw?

From what I've been able to work out, Chrome only has two major "advantages" over Firefox: one is performance speed, and the other is the interface.

But do people really care about performance speed? Do average users think about things like CPU, etc? I can't say it's something I've really ever thought about. Firefox has hung sometimes, but it generally runs fast enough. The only "speed" that I've ever cared about is page loading speed, and that depends on your connection not your browser.

And as for Chrome's interface: since when did the mass public care about interfaces? (The mass public happily use Microsoft products like IE, Office, and Windows 10, which shows they don't care about interfaces.)

And as for those of us who do care about interfaces, that's precisely why we chose Firefox, for its ability to customize the interface with add-ons. That's where Firefox has always excelled. So Chrome doesn't have an advantage there.

So none of this makes any sense to me. Sure, Chrome doesn't seem to suck like IE, but what's special about it? To put it another way: how is Chrome any better than Opera or Safari?

I read somewhere that Firefox has "copied" Chrome. I don't see how. To me it looks like Chrome has totally ripped off Firefox, with tabbed browsing and add-ons.

Speaking of add-ons, I'm wondering whether Chrome's add-on support is anywhere near as good as Firefox? If Chrome was able to compete with Firefox's add-ons then I might understand things a little: Chrome would then essentially be a Firefox clone. But I'm not seeing any suggestion that Chrome can be customized like Firefox. I don't even think it allows vertical tabs (which I could not live without).

But no matter how good Chrome was, I would never use a web browser made by Google. That would feel so wrong! This is a company that gives you targeted adverts based on the contents of your emails! Would I want them to have a list of all the sites I visit? Never! I use NoScript to stop nosy companies tracking me like that.

Kevin McFarlane
 
Posts: 569
Joined: November 10th, 2009, 3:47 am

Post Posted January 17th, 2018, 5:38 am

Grand Dizzy wrote:About a year ago, I heard of a new browser called "Chrome" and discovered it was Google's attempt to make their own web browser. I had no idea anyone actually used it. Who would trust all their sensitive data, accounts, bookmarks, etc, to a huge commercial information company like Google? I certainly wouldn't.


Where have you been hiding? Chrome has been around for almost 10 years now.

So until today, I've always thought that 90% of web users used Internet Explorer, while the rest of us use either Firefox, Opera, or Safari.


Yes, that was the case back in the day.

now I've just learned that 55% of web users are using Chrome! What's more, many of those users seem to have migrated from browsers like Firefox.

I'm kind of in shock about this. What's going on here? Why have people left Firefox? What's the draw?

From what I've been able to work out, Chrome only has two major "advantages" over Firefox: one is performance speed, and the other is the interface.


Yes, I gather most cite speed and simplicity. For the former I never noticed. For the latter that was a reason for my not preferring it.

But also Chrome has had an advantage from Google's search dominance.They were able to advertise it prominently on the Google search page. There have also been some bundling deals which meant that it was downloaded by accident with the likes of Flash or whatever.

do people really care about performance speed? Do average users think about things like CPU, etc? I can't say it's something I've really ever thought about. Firefox has hung sometimes, but it generally runs fast enough. The only "speed" that I've ever cared about is page loading speed, and that depends on your connection not your browser.


I agree. Another thing is that IMO Firefox's Awesome Bar is way superior to all alternatives. I mostly load pages I've previously visited and I can do this much quicker in Firefox than in Chrome, often from a single keypress and then a selection. So that trumps any minor differences in page rendering speed, quite apart from network latency.

And as for Chrome's interface: since when did the mass public care about interfaces? (The mass public happily use Microsoft products like IE, Office, and Windows 10, which shows they don't care about interfaces.)


As do I and I find the interfaces mostly OK in fact.

And as for those of us who do care about interfaces, that's precisely why we chose Firefox, for its ability to customize the interface with add-ons. That's where Firefox has always excelled. So Chrome doesn't have an advantage there.


The Firefox legacy add-ons model is more advanced than web extensions and from what I can gather will remain so for the foreseeable future. You could argue that Firefox has now taken a step back by moving to Web Extensions. That remains to be seen.

So none of this makes any sense to me. Sure, Chrome doesn't seem to suck like IE, but what's special about it? To put it another way: how is Chrome any better than Opera or Safari?


It's not really. In fact Opera is much better as far as I'm concerned.

I read somewhere that Firefox has "copied" Chrome. I don't see how. To me it looks like Chrome has totally ripped off Firefox, with tabbed browsing and add-ons.


There's a common superficial argument that any Chrome-resembling UI change and/or adoption of Chromium or Web Extensions makes a browser a Chrome clone. This is false. Opera and Vivaldi are both Chromium-based. Both are more usable, more innovative and more customisable than Chrome.

Otoh, I don't mind "ripping off." Everyone learns from everyone in the market. And it tends to go back and forth too. What matters is whether the end product is good or better than before.

Btw, it was Firefox that "ripped off" Opera with the tabbed browsing. Firefox merely popularised it. But then everyone copied Firefox with extensions. And now everyone is copying Chrome at least with surface-level UI.

Speaking of add-ons, I'm wondering whether Chrome's add-on support is anywhere near as good as Firefox? If Chrome was able to compete with Firefox's add-ons then I might understand things a little: Chrome would then essentially be a Firefox clone. But I'm not seeing any suggestion that Chrome can be customized like Firefox. I don't even think it allows vertical tabs (which I could not live without).


Firefox's legacy add-ons model is more advanced than anything else.

But no matter how good Chrome was, I would never use a web browser made by Google. That would feel so wrong! This is a company that gives you targeted adverts based on the contents of your emails! Would I want them to have a list of all the sites I visit? Never! I use NoScript to stop nosy companies tracking me like that.


This doesn't concern me. I do use Chrome occasionally and especially in a work environment when doing development. But both Firefox and Opera are my preferred browsers at this time.

Frenzie

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Posts: 2134
Joined: May 5th, 2004, 10:40 am
Location: Belgium

Post Posted January 17th, 2018, 8:33 am

Grand Dizzy wrote:But do people really care about performance speed? Do average users think about things like CPU, etc? I can't say it's something I've really ever thought about. Firefox has hung sometimes, but it generally runs fast enough. The only "speed" that I've ever cared about is page loading speed, and that depends on your connection not your browser.

Actually I pretty much use Firefox <57 in spite of the slowness and I'm definitely impressed with Fx 57's speed. For some things I have to use Opera/Blink, Opera/Presto, Otter, Vivaldi — something not Firefox precisely because it's unusably slow otherwise. And I don't mean stuff like Facebook or Twitter which I seldom use, although such behemoths illustrate the problem very well.

If one didn't care about the features that Fx offers, pre-57 there'd be little reason to stay. Of course I'd switch over to any of a multitude of superior Chromium-based browsers instead, never to actual Chrome.
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