why/how FireFox beats every other browser


‘I use Chrome for its speed’

‘I am surprised you don’t use Safari.. its so integrated you know’

‘I am used to it and happy with IE.. am only 55 years old and like it’

‘I don’t have a choice but use whatever I feel is suitable for my work/environment.. so using xxxxxx and yyyyy too’

These are only few of the comments we frequently overhear from the people who chose to use a particular web browser. There can be many reasons for that choice or may be none.  The Web Browser market currently has only a few big players like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and some other minor share holders. With every new release by a major vendor, there will be a certain effort to come up with some technical statistics to prove which browser is best and which is not (at that point of time).  There can be differences in the way two such independent efforts calibrate a browser and their units of measurement, where one says X is the best and the other argues against X.  This only adds to the confusion of the user and it is true that he perceives/approves what he ‘blindly’ believes.   Of course, not everyone will have time to personally check it out.

Now, enters the author (its me yar :)). I spend at least 10 or more hours every day in a browser and an equal time in chat & IRC clients.  Because its the way my job is defined.  I am one of those true netizens, half in the least of whose daily life is Internet.  So for me, the technical statistics alone won’t suffice to make a choice.  So I looked around to see what actually is happening in this market. So I observed people why/how they are choosing… and so I have observed why/how they are missing the point 🙂

As I see it, choosing a web browser must always consider the 4 following pillars of thought (in that order):

  • performance
  • user-centricity
  • monetization philosophy
  • add-ons

I don’t talk anything about performance., because there are always an innumerable tests conducted with various industry metrics.  You can easily find them, if you care to. Firefox (latest build) obviously tops the charts, more or less.

User-Centricity is something I find very interesting.  Everyone wants to lure the user and wants him to stick with.  How much more convenient i can make something for you?  How can I make it more appealing to you? et cetera  .. It all revolves around ‘YOU’.. I need not explain this 🙂 and I find the usability/accessibility features in Firefox are only getting better with every release. And I agree, its the same with other browsers too…

Monetization is something that quickly follows.  How to monetize a user’s browsing patterns? What can be done to make more money, because this user is a dumb-ass and blindly makes choices… is what drives certain browsers. Many people don’t know what happens internally when they browse.  Its not just you asking for a web page and the server returning it.  How many clicks you make on a page, where you clicked, what amount of a page you scrolled down, how you are moving in between web sites, what data are you storing thats related to a site, how many web sites you visit, what are they, and what type (adult content, sports, news.. ), how many tabs are you opening, what and where are you searching, typing it in the url bar or in the search bar, then your search patterns… oh! Everything you do in a browser is being tracked by someone somewhere.  And they want to make some money out of it 🙂 Pl check the PS section below to know why I think Chrome lost in the ‘monetization philosophy’. 🙂

And then, the Add-Ons!  what we call the saviors.. From a ‘downloadHelper’, WOT for normal users to the ‘FireBug’, ‘foxyproxy’ likes for the savvy, the super rich repository of Firefox is just unbeatable.  You only have to experience them, to understand the comfort and power that adds on.

So, how would it all make up to choose firefox?

Because as I see it, firefox deals with all these four points very graciously.  And there is absolutely no trade-off between any two of the four points above.  The single most page that I so admire is the ‘mozilla’s mission’ saying ‘We are building a better Internet’. The kind of proposals they come up with for a better future like ‘do-not-track’ or ‘browserID’ etc are only a taste of the philosophy behind an awesome community that truly respects the user.  I can go on writing unique comfort points like url-tagging etc but I don’t want to make this a technical discussion.

I choose firefox because it respects me and my browsing experience.  Every other browser has lost the battle in at least one out of these four points.

t h a n k s ,
< balu />

PS:    I can’t derate the technical prowess of Google or their investments (time, money, research.. ) in trying to make anything simple and efficient… Most of the products are surely cool for all registered users and thats a pretty good business G is doing with this ‘coolness’. So, what do you think are the reasons for Google coming up with a browser? Do they want to track ‘unregistered’ users too? (that would be tons of times more money than ‘registered’ users can ever generate)… Or is it because of the increasing role of a browser as a standalone answer application and they want to build a better Internet around it? aaah! one thing is ‘definitely certain’ that they want to make good money out of it. Chrome is a business for Google where as Firefox is a passion for the community. Chrome tries to grab as much information/behavior of you to ‘serve you better’… Google Search would return superior results if you search for a ‘Chrome Privacy Issues’ too.. but how many of the users would be caring for all this instead of happily generating more money for G? On the other side of the world, Mozilla and Stanford’s Do Not Track submission to the IETF etc are only few of the hints that they are trying to make it rather a truly better and ‘healthy’ Internet. In Mozilla’s own words: ‘Web is a shared public resource to be cared for, not a commodity to be sold’. Even simpler examples:

1. What is the first page that is opened when you install/open a chrome latest? ‘angry birds’? and what with Firefox? so what is the difference?
2. Try visiting http://donottrack.us/ from Chrome and then from Firefox. why? why? why can’t chrome offer this functionality, if a better web is what they wanted? :p
3. I can go on more.. but for now 🙂

I hope you understood why I said Chrome lost in the ‘monetization philosophy’.. pl let me know. 🙂

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Categories: online-life, suggestions, tech | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “why/how FireFox beats every other browser

  1. Some interesting things you bring out, but I beg to disagree with your “monetization philosophy”. Browser should not be tracking what/how users use the browser without the consent from the user, if it does then it is a privacy violation. Therefore there are these programs that are designed which has to clearly state the objective and get the user content before tracking anything. Mover over, tracking a user from a website is more simpler than tracking from the browser.

    Well, “building better internet” is also more or less Google moto too, so where do you think “Chrome/Safari” fails or is inferior w.r.t any of the four points?

    I feel every browser has its own merits and only awareness of the features is the difference in why some prefers one over another. I’m a happy “firefox” user from a long time but have tried almost all possible browers in the market and think that each of those has one/few good feature(s). Moreover I’m used to FF interface than other newer browsers.

    I would love to use Chrome but only because of one drawback, it tinkers with the OS proxy settings instead of managing the proxy settings within the application I’m not using it.

    • hey sumit! thank you so much for reading this and the shrewd comments.
      We all know, every online tool ought to have a ‘monetization philosophy’ for existential reasons. But the users of such tools need/will not be technical enough and so I wanted this post to be as non-technical and brief as possible., but you know, I inadvertently started it.. one more time. 🙂 Anyway:

      I can’t derate the technical prowess of Google or their investments (time, money, research.. ) in trying to make anything simple and efficient… Most of the products are surely cool for all registered users and thats a pretty good business G is doing with this ‘coolness’. So, what do you think are the reasons for Google coming up with a browser? Do they want to track ‘unregistered’ users too? (that would be tons of times more money than ‘registered’ users can ever generate)… Or is it because of the increasing role of a browser as a standalone answer application and they want to build a better Internet around it? aaah! one thing is ‘definitely certain’ that they want to make good money out of it. Chrome is a business for Google where as Firefox is a passion for the community. Chrome tries to grab as much information/behavior of you to ‘serve you better’… Google Search would return superior results if you search for a ‘Chrome Privacy Issues’ too.. but how many of the users would be caring for all this instead of happily generating more money for G? On the other side of the world, Mozilla and Stanford’s Do Not Track Submission to IETF etc are only few of the hints that they are trying to make it rather a truly better and ‘healthy’ Internet. In Mozilla’s own words: ‘Web is a shared public resource to be cared for, not a commodity to be sold’. Even simpler examples:

      1. What is the first page that is opened when you install/open a chrome latest? ‘angry birds’? and what with Firefox? so what is the difference?
      2. Try visiting http://donottrack.us/ from Chrome and then from Firefox. why? why? why can’t chrome offer this functionality, if a better web is what they wanted? :p
      3. I can go on more.. but for now 🙂

      I hope I am clear to say that Chrome lost it to Firefox in the ‘monetization philosophy’.. pl let me know 🙂

  2. Sarai Evarts

    As a Newbie, I am permanently browsing online for articles that can be of assistance to me. Thank you

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