Friday, September 30, 2011

Chrome To Surpass Firefox

Can it be true? Can the browser that nobody asked for actually be on its way to market dominance? I hope so, but not because I like Chrome.

Indeed, I don't like Chrome. I have nothing against it, but Firefox is just so the bomb. I love Firefox. It freed me from the tyranny of mediocrity that was Internet Explorer for most of 2000's. And now that I think of it, I do have something specifically against Chrome. Namely, it's more closed than Firefox.

I don't mean closed in the hippy, open-source sort of way. I mean closed in that Firefox has a gargantuan amount of plug-ins and add-ons that Chrome does not because developers are given greater access to the core functions of Firefox. This allows me to browse with such unbelievably amazing toys as Javascript-blocking software NoScript. Once you have used this program, you can never go back. Chrome does not have this.

I'm not entirely sure of this, seeing as I've never programmed for either browser, but I think the way that it works is that in Firefox, when a page loads, developers can program add-ons that analyze the code before it ever reaches the renderer. Thus Javascript is stripped out at a very early stage. In Chrome, developers have had to cobble together a solution whereby the renderer receives the page, Javascript and all, but then runs code from the developer first, which then renders out all of the offending Javascript. Inelegant to say the least.

I have heard conspiracy theories about this. Namely, since Google is a huge advertising company, they don't want to produce a browser that can easily block their advertisements. I don't think that this is true. Google is primarily concerned with creating an elegant, end-to-end experience for a user, and if a user doesn't want to see ads, then the user doesn't see ads. Trying to force the user to do so will simply push them away from the browser completely.

One thing that I do like about Chrome, though, is the "sandboxing" of each tab. It's great for stability and amazing for security. But if I was going to make the jump to a third browser, I would jump to Opera. Now THAT is a fast browser.

But as I said! I hope that Chrome pushes into second place. One: I used the most recent Internet Explorer and thought that it was pretty good. Microsoft has finally been scared into action. Likewise, I hope that this scares Firefox into action. While Opera has been a source of near-constant innovation, their perpetually small market share has meant that the pressure they exert remains small. Chrome, on the other hand, has been small in innovation, big in market pressure. Firefox will have to respond with a big push, both in design and usability. And while I do not plan on ever leaving Firefox, I look forward to their response to Chrome.

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