I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but after eight years of remaining faithful to Mozilla’s Firefox, I’ve decided to move over to Google’s Chrome, after much testing and experimentation. The first time I used Firefox, I was blown away by its speed and stability, and back in its earlier years, those were the main reasons I recommended it to everyone else.
Since that time, I have found Firefox to be on a continuous decline where both of those factors are concerned. For the most part, Firefox is still rather fast, but not near as fast as Chrome. And stability-wise, there just seems to be no comparison between the two, although I do admit that I’ve only begun using Chrome about a week ago, so if there are instabilities, I’m sure to run into them at some point.
When I made a full-time move to Linux a little over five years ago, I usually blamed Firefox’s instabilities on what I considered to be a beta Flash plugin. But as time went on, I came to the conclusion that in general, Firefox isn’t that stable, Flash or not. Again, as a Linux user, I wondered if there was something that made that particular version unstable, but in recent months, I’ve been using Firefox in Windows more often, and I’m finding the exact same stability issues there. It seems that at least once per session, I’ll have Firefox crash and ask me to send in a bug report.
It’s common for people to blame the extensions used for stability problems, but I don’t quite buy that. There have been times when I’d start fresh, without any extensions, and still have problems with Firefox crashing. In Linux, the crash equates to the application simply disappearing, while in Windows, you at least get a prompt to send in an error report.
One of the reasons Chrome is seemingly more stable is because it puts everything in a separate process, and if there IS a site that’s bound to cause an issue, it won’t take down the rest of your browser. Firefox 4.0 will feature a similar feature, and it sure couldn’t get here soon enough.
Past stability though, Chrome is just undeniably fast. There’s no comparison that I can see. I’ve tried out Safari as well, and that also happens to be fast, but the browser as a whole doesn’t suit me that well. Chrome isn’t perfect from that regard either, but it’s as close as it could get. Since giving it a serious go, I’ve been far too pleased with the performance and stability, both in Linux and Windows, and it only makes me groan at the fact that Firefox used to be just as stable and fast. I should also mention that I’ve been running four extensions (I ran five in Firefox) in Chrome and they haven’t yet caused me an issue.
Despite moving to Chrome, I admit that I’m still looking forward to Firefox 4.0, and have hopes that it might improve both stability and performance, and if so, I might consider moving back. I have to admit, though, I’ve become quite used to Chrome, so it might be hard for me to move back, even if Firefox 4.0 proves to be an ultimate winner. We’ll see what happens…