Made the Switch from Firefox to Chrome

Bill Loguidice's picture

I finally tired of the memory leaks in Firefox and switched to Chrome. While I love the look/feel/interface of Firefox, enough was enough, as I'm a heavy extension user and like to leave a minimum of four or five tabs open at any one time. While Firefox now has a nice cross system sync for things like bookmarks and passwords (I dropped XMarks when they were debating about going out of business; they did recently get new funding), it also pales in comparison to Chrome's cross system sync, which sync's EVERYTHING in the browser, including all of your extensions and settings. What I miss in Chrome is the Google Toolbar (ironically) and the search box in the upper right of Firefox, where I would often search Amazon, Wikipedia and YouTube directly. There is no equivalent in Chrome as Google wants you to use the URL window as your search bar, which sadly allows for only one default search engine (in this case, I use Google), creating a multi-step process or requiring a different type of keyword searching.

A clean open of Firefox can start out anywhere. For instance, a clean open of Firefox just now started out 103MB on the iGoogle page, which is my default. Not touching it, it stabilized just under 102MB. A clean open of Chrome on the same system started out at 63MB. Opening up two Websites, Chrome shot up to 72MB. Firefox in that same time - again, not doing anything - shot up to 113MB. I then opened up two of the same exact pages as in Chrome and peaked at 142MB before settling down to 136MB. Now I can see Firefox leaking memory and shooting up to 185MB. Chrome is now up to 73MB. Firefox now just jumped up to 204MB, while Chrome remains at 73MB and occasionally as low as 71MB. So yeah, a serious issue with Firefox (and as type this, it's now up to 205MB) all in the span of a few minutes...

I still remember back when I was a staunch Internet Explorer advocate. I dabbled in other browsers like Opera and Safari, but it wasn't until Firefox matured a bit did I become a hardcore advocate of that. Now with its memory issues and slow rate of multi-system sync parity (a big thing with me these days as I regularly use multiple systems from different locations, as well as an iPhone 4), I guess it was inevitable that I switch again. Hopefully the few remaining items I miss from Firefox will work their way into the Chrome browser either directly or through third party extensions sooner rather than later.

This is also a partial toe dipping for me into possible future ChromeOS systems and maybe even a future Honeycomb tablet, assuming Apple doesn't trump the competition like I expect them to with the iPad 2. I also have to patiently wait for Google to catch up on the iPhone, as right now on my iPhone 4 not all of Google's features are available (for instance, my bookmarks don't sync!), even from their official app. Ah, technology...

So now I'm curious. What is everyone using and why? I'm particularly interested in hearing about performance issues.

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Troy Wilkins
Troy Wilkins's picture
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Joined: 06/19/2010
I use both Firefox and Chrome

And as soon as there is an Adblocker that works properly for Chrome, I'll be dropping Firefox like a hot potato. But until then, my main browser is Firefox with Adblock Plus and my own custom ad list.

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Ad blocking
Troy Wilkins wrote:

And as soon as there is an Adblocker that works properly for Chrome, I'll be dropping Firefox like a hot potato. But until then, my main browser is Firefox with Adblock Plus and my own custom ad list.

Funny, I find I don't need an adblocker. I see plenty in the Chrome add-ons list, though, though I don't know if they're any good.

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I was talking to Jon of Game

I was talking to Jon of Game Banshee, and man, does he have a mad-on about adblockers. In his view, people who use them are thieves, stealing content. At first I thought he might be overreacting, but the man does have a point. Maybe we should either not use ad blockers, putting up with the ads, or just boycott sites with annoying ads altogether.

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Troy Wilkins
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Joined: 06/19/2010
ad blockers
Matt Barton wrote:

I was talking to Jon of Game Banshee, and man, does he have a mad-on about adblockers. In his view, people who use them are thieves, stealing content. At first I thought he might be overreacting, but the man does have a point. Maybe we should either not use ad blockers, putting up with the ads, or just boycott sites with annoying ads altogether.

That's why I have a custom blacklist. I've seen how bad youtube can be without an adblocker, and that way sites that have ads that I find really make sites difficult to use because of the ads appearing over content are then usable. As much as I'd like to boycott sites that have ads that are that bad, it's not really practical - I don't want to miss Matt Chat or many of the others I've subscribed to! :-)

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Catatonic
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Joined: 05/20/2006
Chrome is quite fast &

Chrome is quite fast & nimble, it also by default installs only for you so it doesn't make system-wide changes, and it updates itself automatically, you usually don't even notice that it was updated. At first it looks like a very sparse browser with few features but you are meant to find & install extensions that you want.

msimplay
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Joined: 10/07/2010
I'm still using Firefox and will continue to do so

I'm still using Firefox and will continue to do so since it works best for me as not only a cross platform browser but also a portable one.
I take my portable hard drive with me everywhere and use it across a variety of different Windows systems and it's also very widely supported.
Personally I don't want to change my browsing habits to suit a minimal browser like Chrome.
People have complained about Firefox being slow etc but personally what I have found is that the browser is fast much faster than Internet Explorer the problems come from bad plugins or bad extentions.

The convenience I have with Firefox for my personal experience can't be beat.

Ps I'm not an advocator for Firefox as I am aware it has some problems however all I can say is use what is best for you :)

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
In my ongoing quest to

In my ongoing quest to eventually one day be 100% completely portable and in the cloud, I'm now off of Outlook and 100% on Gmail, though I still maintain my Armchair Arcade and Bill and Christina e-mail accounts as full accounts in there (effectively having three usable accounts). In other words, you won't notice I'm using Gmail when I receive or send e-mail from either of those accounts, which is the way it should be for professional purposes.

The interesting side effect of being off of Outlook (and one of the reasons why I came off of it) is that Microsoft is now bundling budget/home versions of the latest Office WITHOUT Outlook in it, so if Microsoft is going to force my hand like that, I may as well give them what they want. This way if I were so moved to upgrade, I'd only have to worry about this: http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Office-2010-Student-Version/dp/B00337D8U... , which would allow me to have it on three systems in my house, which would be sufficient.

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cdoty
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Joined: 07/21/2006
Firefox vs Chrome

The recent increase in Firefox lockups and slowdowns is definitely pushing me towards Chrome. Working with the HTML5 Canvas and Javascript has convinced me that Chrome outperforms Firefox, by a decent margin.

I also tend to switch browsers when it's hard to ignore the advantages of a new browser.

Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
Firefox 4 will be out soon.

I'm a Firefox user, but reading Bill's rant on it has made me consider switching to Chrome. I don't know about memory leaks, but Firefox occasionally takes over my CPU and slows my system to a crawl until I kill the Firefox process.

The way I browse, I tend to have multiple tabs open at once, often a dozen or more! When I see an interesting link in a page, I usually open a new tab to view it at my leisure, rather than having to hit the forward and back buttons to get back to my original page. It just seems faster. I don't use a lot of plug-ins.

Well, occasionally Firefox seems to choke on a page that's loaded in a separate tab, bringing the whole browser to a near-standstill. If I kill Firefox and reload it with all the tabs saved, the problem often goes away, even though it's the same pages! I've read that Chrome was designed from the ground up to prevent such "one-tab-crash-brings-them-all-down" problems.

As for Chrome, I've tried it in the past, but the interface was a bit too different from what I was used to, so I didn't really give Chrome much more than a cursory test. But what bothered me was when I started noticing that after I installed it, my computer was transmitting a lot more data over the Internet. Thinking I might have a virus, I checked my processes and discovered that I had THREE "Googleupdate" processes running in the background, seeming to"phone home" every five minutes or so! What the heck were they doing? I got nervous about it and uninstalled Chrome. I'm not so much worried about my private information being transfered (this is just a home/hobbyist machine with not a lot of critical or private info on it to my knowledge), but just wondering what was going on behind my back? Was my computer being used as part of some unknown "cloud" or "distributed computing" platform? I don't know.

I found pretty much the same thing when I installed Google Earth in the past, so I uninstalled that too.

However, I recently reinstalled Google Earth, and there's no "GoogleUpdate" processes running in the background now. Perhaps Google was just having a problem at the time, and have since corrected it. And if so, perhaps it's time I give Chrome another look. I'm rather sick of the Firefox tab-crashes (which happened again to me tonight!).

Then again, Firefox 4 is just around the corner. Maybe I'll see how that pans out before I leap over to Chrome.

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Mozilla Firefox 4 update:
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