Firefox is the new IE, Chrome is the new Firefox and Opera is still Opera

In Technology by Ashish Sinha43 Comments

Firefox recently celebrated the Billionth download, and what’s interesting is that the month old Firefox 3.5 has captured 4.5% of the browser market share.

But these are stats.

What’s really happening with Firefox is that it is slowly becoming the bloated IE, while sleek and sexy Chrome is turning as the new Firefox.

Chrome’s recently launched beta claims a performance improvement of 30%. I did try out the beta version and let me tell you this – it’s a much better experience than Firefox. It’s not yet bloated because there aren’t plugins to play with; and the propensity to confuse user is very minimal.

On the other hand, Firefox crashes so frequently (heck! some of the plugin updates are 1MB+), while Chrome’s focus on performance and simplicity is surely creating a differentiation in the market.

Doesnt’ Chrome remind you of the good old Firefox, when it was less bulky?

What has been your experience with FF lately?

What about Opera? The latest release, Opera 10 offers some very cool features (Turbo etc) and is a must try. But being in the browser market for so long, Opera hasn’t managed to expand it’s ecosystem (read: plugins) and that shows up in it’s market share.

What’s your opinion?Which browser do you use?

[Note: Title has been inspired from Jeremy’s post]


  1. Anand

    I like chrome and IE both. But Firefox is just a memory guzzler…

    If there were no security holes, then IE6 is the best browser. Light weight and straight to its job (except some AJAX scripts doesn’t work.. huh..)

  2. wdf

    chrome rules. just need to get it to remember the default page zoom like ie.

  3. Sameer

    FF 3.5 is pretty good! Honestly, the addons are optional (most of mine are smaller – few tens to few hundreds of KBs) and pretty stable on Ubuntu, at least. Just Tweetdeck alone used to consume more memory (till I moved to HootSuite) so it ain’t that bad.
    The lack of addons that I’ve gotten dependent on, in fact, is whats keeping chrome away for some old time FFers.

  4. Sid

    How about comparing a plugin free firefox to chrome for an unbiased review?

  5. Anuj Rathi

    a) FF 3.5 is pretty stable on Mac-Leopard as well. Chrome is not yet released either for the mac or for linux, whereas Firefox has always been available for every platform. So the question of Chrome reminding me of Firefox doesn’t exist

    b) Chrome rendering engine is WebKit is the same as Safari, and Safari is much more feature complete and stable than Chrome.

    c) Firefox is as heavy or as light as you want it to be. Uninstall firebug/ABP/Live HTTP headers etc, and you’ve got a pretty light FF. But yes, it’s a memory hog for sure.
    If you want a light firefox, download ‘Flock’ (but nowadays their philosophy is more towards the social web), or camino.

    d) In response to a previous comment “If there were no security holes, then IE6 is the best browser. Light weight and straight to its job (except some AJAX scripts doesn’t work.. huh..)”
    -You have no idea of web standards and browsers, do you? Visit this site: for info on IE6 :)

    e) IE8 is a MUCH better browser than any of its previous versions. Supports all W3C standards and is backward compatible to IE7 as well. But not as flexible (in terms of plugins) as Firefox

    1. Hurr

      “b) Chrome rendering engine is WebKit is the same as Safari, and Safari is much more feature complete and stable than Chrome.”

      You just said yourself you’ve never used Chrome, so how can you even attempt to back this up? Being a Chrome user that at one point was given a Mac for work I can tell you that Chrome is far more ‘complete and stable’ than Safari.

  6. Shashi

    I use Chrome extensively. The new beta is definitely faster.. And overall Chrome is definitely faster than IE & FF and not just in terms of page loading but also in terms of opening of a new tab..

    But IE is still the default browser on my system as whatever you develop has to be tested on IE first. I have FF and Flock installed as well but I hardly ever use them

  7. Anant shrivastava

    All i can say is lets have a comparision of firefox – plugin and chrome and if you wish compare performance with safari as well as internet explorer 8 and then we can think of placing browsers at various position.

  8. Ragz

    Opera rules! Opera might not have the market share, but one has to admit that nobody has taken web browsing to the level opera has. Opera works like a dream. Its super fast, good looking, & a pleasure to use…

  9. Arun

    Uninstall all your extensions on Firefox, to compare your browsing experience. Extension updates of 1+MB is not Firefox fault. Yes Firefox does crash, even Chrome crashing sometime.

    Firefox is as bloat as you like. But it evolves faster, no comparison with IE.

  10. Avinash

    The latest version of opera (10) is really good in terms of performance and looks, The pop up status bar is one of the coolest feature in opera…

  11. caeser

    @anand If you can say that IE6 is the best browser that means you never experienced pain of developing websites for IE6 himself, and you just have no idea how cumbersome and frustrating the job is, and how much productive time we waste by fixing bugs in IE6. It’s not just security holes, it leaks memory like a sieve. The Web needs to move forward, so the new browsers are there, by the way most of these browsers are open source and driven by a passionate community, which is continuously evolving, the developers who contribute, they contribute for free, so instead of criticizing we could help them by participating their community beta testing program and give them our feedback, that will definitely be a great thing. Cheers!

  12. Sidharth

    Agree 100%. I have shifted to Chrome completeley and the Dev release of Chrome is more stable for me than the stable release of Forefox 3.5. Who needs extensions if the only thing they do is cause your browser to crash ?

    1. Anuj Rathi

      a) They can help you do away with ads. I haven’t seen even 1 ad after I’ve instaled Ad block plus extension on firefox

      b) They help you develop websites like no other browser can! Firebug/Live HTTP headers/Venkman are all life savers for a web dev.

      c) You have to try greasemonkey to understand what you can do to your default facebook/orkut pages. :D

      Point is: It’s awesome for power users, just that you have to keep on restarting your browser after 4-5 hours of use. (FF runs like a dog after 4-5 hours even on my 4gb DD3 RAM machine ) Also, avoid firebug intercept all your requests to ajax heavy sites like gmail.

      1. rubygems

        a) good point–the one reason I like FF (though don’t use it–it starts slower than chrome, which is enough for me to always prefer chrome).

        b) Chrome does have right click “inspect element” except that you’d of course want to use IE and FF for that, if you’re a web developer, so no huge gain there.

        c) chrome 3 has greasemonkey.

        That being said, FF 3.5 seems a lot snappier than its predecessors and, if nothing else, competition from chrome will push it to become better. Everone gains.

  13. venkat

    Well there is no comparision between IE and fIrefox though Firefox is not stable as it crashes frequently Firefox is far more secured than IE and no comparison to extensions of Firefox and IE.And Firefox not that much faster before as it not suitable comparing with chrome, chrome loads pages much more faster than any other browser though it lacks extensions.Chrome has still long way to go.

  14. Saurabh Chawdhary

    IE 6 best browser?? Dude come out of stone age. Apart from all the mistakes u pointed out its a primitive browser(lacks tabbed browsing and much more).

    BTW has anybody tried Opera 10 beta 2 version. It is the most advanced form of browsing. Highly customizable (u’ll need to spend time to discover ur power to change), inbuilt mail client which is no less than if not better than thunderbird.

    It fixes the memory leak thing to some extent without multiple process(and connections too) making as in chrome(which is why I dont use chrome). And if u look at its mem-usage in as browser+mail client its way beyond efficient.
    It’s pretty stable too.

  15. Ashish

    Since some of you are saying – lets do a plugin free FF comparison with Chrome, let me tell you this – the post/review is a user review. If you give users a lot of fluff to play with, users will play with them.

    That’s the challenge of being an open platform, but wht one needs to do is have a strict control/constraint, otherwise you will have great applications,but that will make the platform bloated and useless.

    1. Anant shrivastava

      Agreed that being opensource also has a responsibility to keep things stable but in that case also no one is suggesting you to install every damn plugin that comes on earth. Developers create plugin for their own need and distribute it so that other dont have to work again. So what i suggest is instead of blaming any software for its bloatedness lets have a comparision with all browsers at equal level also . And ya one more thing if my tone seems a bit harsh pardon of it i am typing this while travelling so not able to review my comment.

    2. Sud

      I agree with you Ashish. I would like to test FF’s experience with a “typical” set of plugins already installed, as that is what it is in the real world.

      BTW, I have seen how strictly does Apple filter the apps for my iPhone. I wish FF had some such strict certification for its plugins, instead of risking loosing users.

  16. Anant Shrivastava

    One more point that i missed, although i agree that certain control should be there but then just have a look at this scenario

    for me firebug is something i can’t dream of living where as for a large group this would be a piece of shit and something that should not have been released in public as it just bloat’s there browser.

    on one side of this single sentence is me ready to sacrifice on speed for actually performance and on other side is a person who find no use of the plugin.

    so we can’t restrict on development

    on a lighter side
    there is one example i can think on in this case and that is proprietary soft solution “don’t let other’s touch the code and in that way you can exercise control” but not in Open Source Model

    1. Suhas

      Geeks will be geeks – how does ‘open source’ etc matters? To me, the end product’s utlity is broken if the prod is broken.
      I agree – FF is losing out in terms of performance – its way too bloated now..even w/o major plugins, its boot time is screwed up.

      Geeks – tell me one thing, why should the end user care about open source story?

      1. Anuj Rathi

        The end user should definitely care about the open source story!
        If a product is open source (say FireFox), and if I think something needs to be done to get an additional functionality, there are two advantages of it being open source:
        a) A lot of developers, worldwide would have the same issue, and would be already working on that
        b) I can “request feature” online and wait for some months till someone add those :)
        c) I can develop the feature myself and release it(okay, if you’re not into dev, that’s not an option)

        But for proprietary products(say IE), I have to depend on the product managers of M$, and if you think your request is going to be granted there… dream on!

        Chrome, by the way, is also made open source by google. Although I don’t like it as much as Firefox, and although it’s not yet available for the mac, I do check it’s status by downloading the nightly builds once a fortnight to know what exactly I’m going to get when it’s released.

  17. Anant shrivastava

    Suhas no one is trying to be geek here the point is as simple as that he you are comparing two products and claiming one to be slow then atleast comparision should be equal. And ya just stating that ff is bloated even without plugin’s wont do if you state it then prove it.

    1. suhas

      well…to me its a product comparison and not feature comparison..this is author’s personal experience..whch incidentally is a reflection of most of us.
      If FF isn’t going to listen to such feedback,they will end up like IE. Period.

      1. Anant Shrivastava

        hey buddy, do you mean to say that FF should exercise control over which plugin to support and which not talk about FF and not FF + plugin.

  18. Anant shrivastava

    And ya just one simple tip try clearing out you cache periodicaly that will help you keep ff running as well as save precious disk space

    1. Anuj Rathi

      I clear the cache/browsing history/offline data/cookies, everything every half an hour or earlier(it’s needed for developing-testing web apps), still doesn’t do much to restore sanity to FF. Memory leaks are for real :D

      1. Anant Shrivastava

        I agree that memory leaks are for real and FF should do something about it.

        But the point i was willing to raise was that in recent releases what they have done is that they create a random seed by scanning through your temp files and cache so startup gets a lot slow when you have large temp and cache

  19. Anshul

    Firefox is Cool, (with Firebug of course)
    Opera is Super Cool… :)

    Apart from the inbuilt mail client, RSS reader and speed dial there are million little things done right by Opera.

  20. Anant Shrivastava

    can i please ask ashish to publish list of plugin’s that he had been using while comparison took place.I hope that can clear out a lot of talk here.

  21. Frankie

    For me, it’s Firefox all the way.

    Chrome may be a little faster, but, the little I lose in speed, I gain from having the web experience that I want, as follows :

    * Adblock Plus – Ok, this is a given.
    * Stylish – White sheet backgrounds that most websites seem to use give me migranes after a short while. With Stylish, I can set the appearance to how *I* want it for websites that I use regularly.
    * Greasemonkey – mainly for Facebook, for killing off those spammy quiz stories that clutter up my news feed.
    * Noscript – Admittedly a pain in the ass for the first few days, but, ultimately, an extra level of safety.

    1. Anshul

      Couldn’t stop myself from writing this… :D

      Opera comes with inbuilt functionality to do all the 4 things you mentioned. Right out of the box. No plugins, nothing.

  22. Neeraj joshi

    Personally , I am a big fan of Opera. it runs smooth and it runs fast too. Tabbed interface is great. It so easy and quick to enable/ disable javascript, delete private data and do other things. As far assimplicity is concerned. New Google chrome has also impressed a lot. Firefox i still getting bulky. I use it only for my web designing and development tasks.
    BTW Nice and Informative article.

  23. Raviraj Samant

    Google Chrome is simply d best!

    Opera doesnt provide better clarity pictures while usin internet 4m mobile thru PC suite.

    The new upgrades dont let it crash evn!

  24. Markavian

    Firefox, great for webdevelopment (plugins)
    IE. Works, no problems. Helps if you have plugins disabled and don’t install anything.
    Chrome. Slow on googledocs, good for general browsing.
    Opera, feels lightweight, quick to load, good to have in the background.

    Why are people obsessed with plugins?
    Installing more bloat and causing more problems. WEB BROWSING. VIEWING WEBPAGES. GOOD JAVASCRIPT SUPPORT. A move towards webapps running in their own tabs, not plugins hanging off the back off the browser. I think chrome have it right. Am I wrong?

    I’ll still be using all four of the major browsers for years to come.

  25. Nathan

    I wouldn’t say that Firefox is that great for web development. Sure it has some nifty plugins and what-not, but the difference in how it renders pages compared to other browsers is a severe hindrance. I’ve tested my site in the latest builds of Chromium, Safari, Opera and Firefox and they all render the pages identically except for Firefox. (IE hasn’t been tested yet as I don’t have it available anymore.) For example, none of the browsers I tested put borders on images inside links, but Firefox almost seemed excited to do it.

    I remember back in the day when IE was the problem child in this regard, not Firefox. This is why I left it behind, along with the huge memory leaks and the fact that randomly it stopped loading pages, making my family think the Internet connection had dropped out. I think Firefox needs a complete overhaul.

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