Do you 'Chrome' or 'Firefox'?  Let's forget IE for the moment (well actually, can we forget it completely?!)

I've been a fan of Firefox since the early days -- I think since version 2 in 2006.  I've watched it grow from an obscure little browser, used by geeks into a mainstream browser, used and loved by millions.

Firefox has longevity on its side, launched in 2004, whereas Google's Chrome offering came late to the party in 2008.  However since the launch of Chrome, Firefox has had to up its game and become more focused and push out updates far quicker.

Chrome seems to have an update every few months and Firefox now offers the same fast track.  Long gone are the Firefox dot-releases (such as 3.5.1) and out comes full-blown major number updates (4...5...6), at great speed too.

Today, for the first time, Chrome is used by more people than Firefox.  Chrome has 25.7% of the browser market whereas Firefox is 25.2%.  A small number difference but significant none the less.  Incidentally, IE has 40.6%.  Full details over at StatCounter.

I switched allegiance about a year ago to Chrome but gradually found myself dropping back into Firefox.  Why?

Chrome is a nice browser but it does give me some grief.  Initially I found that some sites just simply did not play well with Chrome so I needed to load Firefox.  It was not a big problem as there were only a few sites.

My biggest gripe with Chrome is actually the page rendering speed.  Google make a big noise about how quickly the browser loads and the speed of their JavaScript engine but for me a page load can offer an annoying delay.  When I visit some sites they can take a few seconds to load all their images (blogs are the worst).  During the load I want to scroll down to start reading the content but in Chrome I often can't and the page in effect freezes while it completes a load.  Visiting the same site in Firefox allows me to use my scroll wheel on the mouse to keep moving down the page as it loads.  I know it sounds like a non-issue but it's annoying!

This delay, along with the occasional need to use Firefox, made me switch back to FF and now I never use Chrome.

However, just to complicate things, the latest incarnations of FF are often unstable for me.  I'm on 8.0 which is today's latest release but maybe not tomorrow!  It's also hugely memory hungry.  Right now Firefox is using 352Mb of memory and I only have two tabs open.  What exactly is it doing with all that memory?  I only have one browser plugin enabled too.

Conversely Chrome is tight on memory consumption.  I haven't had Chrome running all day like FF but it only uses about 45Mb when I load it.  If I restart FF it is still using 89Mb but the number keeps creeping up.

For me it looks like I will be flipping back to Chrome.  Firefox has become a bit of a beast (aka bloatware).  It has served me well but just not kept up.

What are your thoughts?  What do you use?

Goodbye Foxy :-(

 (for the purists out there, Why do I not rate IE?  Simple, as a web developer I find IE infuriating.  Years ago Microsoft took the emerging HTML web standard and re-wrote most of it to suit their own captive audience.  The result was the MS version of the web which worked on IE.  When people finally had choices and moved away from IE it became apparent how bad IE was.  Nowadays IE is much improved but I still have to tweak web pages a little to handle the IE inconsistencies)

site by DAJ