It's not Google
So it must be good
Mozilla has found a way to make its Firefox browser feel faster without any engineering effort: tell people that it's faster than the competition. In a research paper released on Wednesday, current and former researchers from the public benefit company, with the help of a Cornell academic, describe their effort to understand …
Yes, _I_ would choose a browser that:
* Does not look like Chrome's 2D FLATTY McFLATSO FLATASS interface
* Has colorful 3D looking buttons and icons in the toolbar, NOT flatty-flatty-2D-by-four ones
* Has non-hamburger-menu TRADITIONAL interface BY DEFAULT
* Includes a built-in "NoScript" like feature, and isolated tabs in different processes if you want
* Has a simple built-in 'regular expression' (or similar) way of filtering DNS requests and returning blank content for a user-config ad-block and DNS-block system, such as a list including ".*ads.*" to block
and so on. that's kinda what my wish list looks like for a browser.
Hey - if FIREFOX ABANDONED AUSTRALIS, and made the interface LOOK LIKE IT WAS BEFORE, I think people would WANT IT!!! Plugins could handle the rest.
"...red banner with a vulture at the other end."
That is a "go faster stripe" - makes a reader of the The Register feel it is that much more in-depth and right up to date than other online tech journals - and not to forget the minimalist and fast site rendering in any browser
The relative performance of a browser isn't really a deciding factor though, is it?
With modern websites being such a massive burden, browser speed matters quite a bit. I immediately notice the difference browsing Amazon on a new computer versus an older one... Waiting around for images to load, and similar.
Unless you're doing video encoding or high-end gaming, the web browser is probably the most CPU and memory intensive application you run, so its performance will dictate when you need to buy a new computer.
However, I'm a bit spoiled in that I've replaced most of my web browsing with RSS feeds, and browsing the web is more an occasional nuisance.
However, it must be said that you can also install those same addons from the Chrome Web Store, so you could theoretically compare both with the same configuration.
Except that we all know that Google is doing its damndest to curtail extensions and limit their functionalty, so Firefox still wins.
Most people get a phone, never change the ringtone and use the browser that's already installed. Most won't even know you can choose another one; it's just "the internet app". They'll install the same one on their laptop etc because they know it.
When the majority of people were using their PCs to get on the web (or the "internet") they used Internet Explorer, again because it was there.
Do they? That's an actual question rather than a rhetorical one, because I'll be very interested to see how Chrome's market share stands up now that Adobe Flash is dead and Chrome's primary source of drive-by downloads is gone. Java is also much less of a thing than it was too.
I know Android is by far the dominant mobile OS so the numbers will stay high there, and iOS is a closed shop, but curious to see how the numbers change on the desktop over time, especially now that Chromium Edge has replaced the legacy version on Windows 10.
> ...especially now that Chromium Edge has replaced the legacy version on Windows 10.
And practically forced itself as the default browser in the process. Apple has been popping up Safari nags for Firefox users for at least a year now, and recently to Edge as well. Less invasive, but still a PITA.
Operating system vendors are scumbags.
"Is browser speed significant when all you are trying to do is click on all the squares with a mosquito in them?"
Of course. You see, if you run the captcha system and slow it down or even break it from time to time when it runs on the browsers you don't make, then you either drive people to your browser where you can collect all their data or at least you get more captchas done which means more free training for the AI department. Just be careful not to break it too much so you remain the primary captcha provider for lots of sites which have an email address field you can scrape.
" In 1941, it was one of the fastest operational aircraft in the world."
Speed is only important for those who don't have it. There is one specialist message board I go to that would be unusable if I had to wait for the ads to load. The owners complain if ads are blocked, so I don't block the ads. I use lynx, which can't display them. And it's screamingly fast.
Firefox, Edge, Brave, Opera, etc. are at a major disadvantage.
Articles about their new releases tend to show up only in the technical press.
Chrome and Safari show up on major media outlets that non-technical people (i.e.most people) access.
For the mass market, Chrome is news, Firefox isn't.
Chrome and Safari show up on major media outlets that non-technical people (i.e.most people) access.
Safari only matters because it's absolutely forced upon the many Apple customers. Want to use a different web browser on iPhone, iPad? Too bad. Safari on Windows was a massive failure.
Safari is in the same boat as Microsoft's Edge browser, they try desperately to force on users of their platform.
Chrome is similarly forced on Chromebook user, and is installed by default on Android devices the world over, undermining the once diverse and competitive browser ecosystem there. Then they use their search monopoly to suggest Chrome to everyone who uses their service.
If Facebook was pushing Firefox as aggressively as Google has been pushing Chrome, it might get interesting.
> Safari only matters because it's absolutely forced upon the many Apple customers. Want to use a different web browser on iPhone, iPad? Too bad. Safari on Windows was a massive failure.
That's the reason why Safari has 20% market share instead of some much smaller number — it was at around 4% share before iOS came out. So I contend it would still matter. Or, at last: either Firefox doesn't matter now, or Safari would matter anyway.
I think it failed on Windows through sheer arrogance. Doing the big launch with a version that deliberately chucked all of the Windows conventions out the window, even including the Windows font rasteriser, wasn't smart. Apple seemed to have the mindset that everyone who uses a PC secretly wishes for a Mac, which is empirically far from true.
Plus I seem to remember some sort of coercive behaviour around installer packages; I can't remember whether iTunes tried to force Safari on you, Safari tried to force QuickTime on you, or some other equally counterproductive combination, but Apple seemed determined to increase customer mistrust.
It's not a bad browser, indeed it's a pretty good one, but they basically all are. I know Edge is also. But I'm a Safari + Firefox guy, myself.
These are vaguely interesting findings but so much can effect the speed a page renders from the system and how it is loaded to the time of day / network congestion so it is absolutely not a factor in me choosing a browser.
Security and privacy are though. I would be interested in this same experiment being performed looking at privacy vs spyware and tracking and see what the perception in the market is as for me that is Googles Achilles heel. Whilst they are at heart an advertising company there is always going to be a tussle internally between those trying to to build security and privacy and those trying to spy as they are despite what Facebook seems to be constantly saying mutually exclusive.
They wouldn't be aiming at people who understand what network congestion is, though. Speed is both an objective measurement and a subjective feeling. And the same type of person who will kill a tab or navigate away from a website that doesn't load within the correct fraction of a second on mobile--there are studies showing that literally fractions of a second make a massive difference in user retention on mobile--is absolutely the same type of person who would decide to use a browser primarily or only based on speed, perceived or otherwise.
Speaking as someone who does understand what network congestion is, as well as the security and privacy trade-offs associated with using Chrome as my primary browser, it came as a surprise to me that this article says that most industry reviews of Firefox rate it about the same as Chrome, both because I have seen articles from sources I trust say otherwise, and every time I have put substantial time into giving Firefox another shot, I have come away feeling that it is dog slow. It's the same reason I can't use Safari as my daily browser on desktop, despite the fact I am a die-hard Mac guy. (There are other reasons for Safari, too, not the least of which is its mediocre extension support.)
Yes, I agree. Here in the U.S., you spend more time waiting for the DNS lookup and initial HTTPS connection (between 2 to 5 seconds on 200mbps cable) than you do in the differences between the rendering engines of all the major browsers. It's a dog whistle for all it's worth here, but of course YMMV worldwide.
Funny because that's how we ended up with Firefox. It was touted as so much faster and lighter than the Mozilla Suite (now called Seamonkey) when in reality it was almost exactly the same, but work pivoted over to Firefox.
As a result, we don't all have an HTML editor installed as part of our browser which made it easy to clean up a page before printing it out and was the obvious choice for quick word processing. Not to mention needing to install a mail application separately. Seems everyone forgot the lessons Netscape taught us back in the 90s.
And Chrome came along and claimed to be fast as well. Never mind it was an absolute monster, and only appeared to be faster because the UI was a separate thread that stayed responsive while heavy web-page processing was going on.
It seem fitting Firefox will flip the script and just pronounce itself the fastest.
I will admit to using Firefox because it's not Google. However, I do not necessarily have any faith in FF being more privacy friendly, since it checks in with Mozilla each time it loads and does have a unique serial number in every install.
Also, and this is VERY important, I don't know what coding kludge Mozilla follows, but running FF makes processor temperature spike alarmingly, even when number of processes is lowered to 1. I guess Mozilla doesn't care if they shorten the life of the users' computers.
You see the space where you type URLs? Type something in there that isn't a URL. What happens? If I do that with Seamonkey I get a complaint about an invalid URL. If I do it with FF or any derivative I get search results. Doesn't it need the browser to send everything to a search engine to do that that?
With Palemoon I can at least choose DuckDuckGo or whatever as the search engine it sends it to. So far I haven't succeeded with FF although I haven't tried hard because I can mostly avoid it.
"With Palemoon I can at least choose DuckDuckGo or whatever as the search engine it sends it to. So far I haven't succeeded with FF although I haven't tried hard because I can mostly avoid it."
"it's admittedly not as easy to change those settings as one might like."
Really? Here's how you do it. Tools -> Options -> Search category -> Default search engine. And right next to it, the settings about the address bar. A total of five clicks. How is that hard? Some settings are buried. These are really easy to find.
First thing I do with any browser is set the start page to a blank page and the search engine to DDG. It's not hard, though I agree that it would seem so for those not knowing IT, indeed they wouldn't even be aware it was possible. Maybe we need a law that forces the initial start page on new kit to display this information in simple non-technical language.
That's just like my wife. She's rather computer illiterate - although funnily enough Pinterest does not cause her any trouble - and it took years for her to understand the difference between the browser and the search engine.
I'm still not entirely convinced that she does, maybe she just got used to the answer I was expecting.
Which one is that? the one with google analytics, ads, obnoxious telemetry, dns hijacking, a cto who helped try to backdoor crypto standards and former us.gov.intel puppet employed as 'director of trust and security', or ... the one made by google? scratch that, theyre both made by google lol.
As a salesman I used to work with once told me "perception is reality". Few investigate any further than whether it will work for them (actually many don't even investigate that far).
Also worth noting that people buy from people - if they trust/prefer a specific browser maker then they will use that browser regardless of apparent performance advantages or otherwise.
I was an early adapter of Firefox, as when I tried it, it really was much faster than whatever I'd been using before. Nice interface too. But over the years, it has seemed to get more and more bloated, the settings more and more obscure, and it has definitely become (so my system monitor tells me) a memory hog. Why do I still use it? Because I refuse to use Chrome, and dont understand half as much about the ins and outs of browsers and how they work as most of the rest of the illustrious commentardery here.
I know I tried Palemoon at some ponit in the past, but evidently didnt find it an improvement over FF at the time. Might try it again. Recently, I tried the Gnome web browser(called Web, apparently), after getting frustrated with the buffering when using Firefox to watch a SpaceX launch. Not only did the stream run much better than under Firefox, it'd handle higher resolution usably too (although hires doesnt matter as much to me. I'm good with 480p for most things, and 360p for some. 720p and up is luxury, IMO :-}). I sure to heck I dont end up having to resort to Lynx or the like again (I've nothing aganst Lynx, mind, but it is a bit too barebones for my liking!).
Anyway, if FF tries to convince me that FF is faster than some other browser, I'll laugh, sneeringly in their face. It's only a mix of inertia and lack of anything obviously better that is keeping me using FF. Sad, 'cause I used to love it, now I merely (and barely) tolerate it. :-(
I'm on PaleMoon because it still has actual menus. File. Edit. View. History, etc. The Way It Should Be. Is it better or worse than FF? I don't know, since I haven't used FF in 5 years, maybe longer. It works well enough for me, isn't from Google, and isn't directly from the arrogant meat-heads at Mozilla.
"Google's faster release cadence for Chrome, which forced Mozilla to accelerate its Firefox release schedule"
Mozilla weren't forced to do anything. They made a deliberate choice to start blindly aping everything Google did with Chrome. Faster releases for no reason, stupid version numbering, hiding all the menus, squashing all searching into the address bar, the entire flat design aesthetic, and so on. None of this was forced on them, it was just the usual cargo cult mentality - Chrome is popular, therefore if we do everything to make us look like Chrome we will also be popular. Telling people that Firefox is faster isn't going to fix that.
This. I wanted to note that the TL;DR translation of this article basically amounts to:
"Mozilla have announced that rather than bothering with difficult stuff like making their browser better, they'll now be spending much more time on marketing, since that's what really matters."
It tickles me that rather than do something drastic like listening to people who tell them that they don't want a copy of chrome, or actually, you know, making their browser better, they're now doing research on the effects of advertising. That's some solid engineering right there.
Yeah, they arent forced to use google analytics or tattle back to google with browsing hashes either but have been doing it for years, bloody hypocrites. Why anyone trusts Mozilla is bizarre. Fun fact: on board of directors is former Google VP and ex US whitehouse CTO, it gets worse the longer you look.
Its basically adware and trackerware on mobile now :( theres over 30 prefs getting overriden all to do with sending websurfing and downloads hashes to google and mozilla, and ofc the google trackers that never get taken out. Weird that so many people feel trapped on it when a non-spying app is a 2 mins download and install.
Since when did I give two hoots about a website being 12 microseconds quicker in one browser over another anyway.
What I want is control over tracking garbage, good choices of addins, and high configurability. Look at that, Firefox wins all three.
Says me typing this on Chrome because corporate won't let us have Firefox.
Firefox is a modern performant browser and has far better privacy controls than other mainstream browsers. Aside it seems like a good idea to use simply because Chrome, Edge and Safari share a large amount of DNA, almost tantamount to a monoculture, making them a bigger target for hackers.
Muh monoculture, nonsense, Firefox is more googled than most browsers.
This is a prime example of marketing speak washing over known flaws and privacy infractions instead of being honest and improving.
Which other mainstream browser is pushing ads, data mining, uuids, trackers and sharing with google, themselves, partners, sponsors, cloudflare, and other third partys? I dont think even chrome does all that. And no you cant turn it off with their 'controls', options get reset and the data mining and sketchy connections still go on, they are well aware but play coy and, will, not, fix.
Really, find me another mainstream mobile browser with google trackers and ads...
Actually it's a simple point of fact. Chrome, Edge and Safari are all derived from the same WebKit code base and Firefox isn't. Therefore an exploit developed for one of these browsers (e.g. some kind of CORS attack) may well be adaptable to the others. That also extends to embedded browsers used in apps and mobile operating systems. Chrome, Edge and Safari represent a larger percentage of users than Firefox. Therefore they are a bigger target for any attacker.
So it's a simple point of fact.
As for Firefox and Google, use a fork if you're paranoid about it or change the default search settings.
Firefox is my default system browser. It takes forever to load, and when loaded silently consumes more and more memory until the system is unusable.
While I'm waiting for FF to load, I can copy the URL, click on the taskbar, load Edge, paste the URL in, and arrive at the same destination at about the same time.
If FF is already loaded, the load time is zero, but because of the memory bloat I have to kill it and restart it before it's usable.
This is all Windows 7. I suspect the developers are testing on Win10 with 32GB of memory and flash drives, after developing on Linux systems with similar specifications.
If you want your software to appear faster, slightly increase the speed that the mouse pointer moves in your program.
Try it. Folk will think that your software is faster.
How many ordinary users download and test three browsers before picking the fastest? Speed variables for browsing are more likely to be connection speed, memory and CPU related. My wish list for a browser would start with proper menus, then a raft of tweakable options and some sort of VPN. And that's about it really. I've never considered speed.
Why are Mozilla wasting Google's money on research like this?
Most people use or avoid Chrome for the same reason - it's Google. Nothing to do with speed.
Taking out the google analytics, ads and activityspy bloat might help eh, but no, how many more years are you going to lie Mozilla? Same story in 5 years guaranteed, but worse, as it has been in the last 5.
I guess some fools like serial numbers and tracking bloat in their browser, those fools seem ok getting data mined by a google subsidiary (mozilla) and donating their hard-earned pennies to employees already being fed millions of google $. The brand provides a bottomless pit of misguided trust waiting to be milked eh Mozilla? ;)
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