When the news of the Chrome browser first hit the world I just didn’t get it? Why would Google spend that much time and effort into making a new browser when there already were so many nice ones out there, what was the strategy, the gain? They claimed it was fast and lightweight, well at that time Firefox felt fast enough for me, that plus all those amazing addons just made it incomparable.
Maybe they knew what was to come, a Firefox that just got slower and more memory hungry by every release. Or more likely, unlike me, they had probably tried FF on a netbook and drew some fast conclusions.
It’s not just that FF seems to be going down hill with every release in general, the slope seems to be virtually vertical when it comes to FF for Windows. A colleague of mine thought her machine was broken, it was constantly using 50-100% of available CPU power and never seemed to have enough RAM despite being equipped with 2 GB of it.
I asked her to switch to Chrome like everyone else running windows at my work had already done. She claimed it was “like dying and coming to heaven”. That made me laugh but stuff like that just makes FF seem tragic.
Granted, FF still works OK on Linux, after a day of heavy use the instance I’m currently writing this in is “only” using 300MB while also running 9 different add-ons.
And then I bought my first netbook and everything became clear as daylight. FF is simply not an option in neither Windows nor Linux, it’s simply too bloated, even when there are zero add-ons installed. Given the fact that netbooks are fast becoming every man’s machine in the developing world Google had to do something, the alternative might have been a version of IE that would have Bing as the default search engine.
A lot of what Google is about is defining what the internet is. Not trying to fill the vacuum that a dying FF is leaving behind would create a very dangerous situation that could give many quick and big points to MS, ie having people using Bing. That is simply not an option, 2 000 000 000 Chinese and Indians will run the browser that works best on their limited hardware and making sure that that is your browser must be a priority. Hence we have Chrome, and for that I’m grateful.
However, I will still run FF on powerful machines running Linux, and I hope I can continue doing that for some time, nothing beats a heavily addonified FF on a such a machine, yet.