After decades of the intriguing twists and turns for users between various web browsers from different developers, only two of have risen above the others – Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Well, at least from a statistical standpoint– Firefox and Chrome are most popular desktop browsers on the Internet today. Although, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (now called Edge) is still alive and Microsoft is in fact still making an effort to improve the browser and stay relevant in the market, chances are good that it will not be able to compete with these two in the observable future, unless Microsoft can revolutionize their brand and the market as a whole.
Until then, let’s take a look at who the real winner is between Mozilla and Google…
Interface Visual Perception and Customization
External appearance of any application is a subjective matter and most of the time judged by different users in different ways – some may like what others would not. In our case, we would like to be as objective and critical as we can when analyzing the two browser’s characteristics.
One of the more common and basic features we see for both browsers is the possibility to create tabs and bookmarks and easily manage them, add favorites and extensions, and apply custom themes. Chrome has a “smart” address and search bar combined – Omni-box. When you type-in you already can see variations of sites and query while Firefox has the address and search bar separated, although it has the same “smart” feature enabled. Themes for Chrome allow users to change the background only, whereas themes for Firefox are fully customizable: background, appearance of panels, buttons and command windows, allowing users to customize their browsers appearance to their individual taste or mood. A quick side not regarding interface customization, by the way: Chrome is practically non-customizable – all you can do is show/hide the bookmarks bar. This where Firefox has an upper hand – customization options are near limitless. Buttons, address bar and panels locations can be changed to the way you like it. In combination with the possibility to apply user’s scripts and special extensions, you will be able to create a truly customized browser that looks like no others!
In regards to the main menu, Chrome’s layout appears more harmonized and intuitively clear, whereas Firefox one has a lot of drop-out submenus, which makes it a bit more difficult for perception. Although, it would be fair to note that in the most recent updates, Firefox has changed it into icon-type menu that feels a great deal better.
Speed, CPU and Memory Utilization
The speed has been always one of the main outstanding features of Google Chrome. At one time, it was the fastest browser – way ahead its competitors. But times have changed and in the recent versions, Firefox has obtained features, such as hardware graphics acceleration and optimized memory utilization, which directly improved the browser’s overall performance. For example, if you open more than a 100 tabs with different sites, Firefox will continue to run at the same speed, whereas Chrome will start lagging. Of course, most of the users will almost certainly never have a situation when they would need to open such an excessive number of tabs, but there is no guarantee that it wouldn’t be lagging with lesser amount of tabs.
The thing is, for every page opened or plugin used, Chrome creates a separate process that can be seen in the built-in task manager. From a stability point of view, this is good – opened pages and used plugins do not hinder each other. However, this requires much more free memory and when there is not enough memory, it could cause aforementioned lagging. Firefox, on the other hand, is engineered using a more classic approach – all tabs are treated as a single process by the operating system.
Today Chrome has a reputation as a resource hog. If you browse with a multitude of tabs open
As for CPU utilization, there is not much of a debate– both browsers are optimized in a best possible way and perform at a peak level.
Safety and Privacy
After many complaints from users, Mozilla has made the decision to implement tracking protection in order to prevent sites from collecting user’s personal information, such as emails or identities. Along with privacy control and fishing protection, it guarantees the users anonymity and peace of mind while surfing. At the same time, Google has implemented the same feature and added it to XSS-attacks protection, along with the new feature called “Sandbox”, which allow it to run plugins in the virtual environment without a need to download a hard drive. Nevertheless, it is a well-known fact that Google itself collects user’s personal data. Firefox, on the other hand, is an open platform application from a non-commercial Mozilla Foundation that acts particularly careful towards safety and confidentiality in their software products. Firefox’s code is open and distributed under GPL, LGPL and MPL licenses, which allows any users to check whether any undocumented malicious features were used in the product or not. At the end of the day, it is difficult to say which browser is actually better in terms of general safety – both developers have made a notable of effort to secure their products as much as possible.
Before making a conclusion, we would like to mention another truly amazing feature that belonged to Chrome – a built-in real-time translator that is able to display opened web pages in the language of a user’s choice. For individuals proficient in multiple languages, this translation can be seen as a very basic feature. However, for other users who know only one language, this feature is incredibly useful. Firefox doesn’t have this feature built-in and only able to implement it by the help of the external plugins.
Both browsers have their charm and wide range of useful features. We recommend to try all of them and to build your own impression on which one is better. As we mentioned in the beginning of the article – it is a particularly subjective matter and even after reading articles and blogs, such as this one, the true decision is based mostly on personal preference.