Why I switched from Firefox to Google Chrome (And why I think you should give it a try)


About a month ago I made the switch official. I now use Google chrome as my default browser. I remember it as being a bitter sweet day for me. I should say that I love Firefox. I have used Firefox before most people had even heard of it. I was using it back in the day when it was still Firebird. Firefox has always been good to me. So why the switch then? Let me tell you why I switched, and why I think you should give it a try.

I remember when Chrome first came out. I have always loved Google, so I tried tried the beta version of Chrome when it came out. Initially I was really impressed. I liked the look and speed but I remember thinking that perhaps when it had the extensions that Firefox had, I would give it a try. Well; it now has more extensions, and I have been trying it out sporadically ever since it has been out.

It is no surprise to me that most of the viewers on this site are using Firefox.

About 50% of Tutorial Geek viewers use Firfox. Chrome is in 2nd with about 20% and Internet Explorer is in 3rd with 17% (Really guys... still using Internet Explorer? I am going to just assume that you are browsing this site from work and your company won't let you install another browser).

So I am going to assume that most of the viewers of this site are just how I was a month ago.
Let me explain why I used Firefox and why Chrome is just as good (if not better) and in some cases still not as good.

Why I Used Firefox - Block Pop-ups
I first started using Firefox because I was annoyed with popups. I found out about Firebird and instantly loved it. I became dependent on tabs when people still thought that tabs were not useful (can't imagine what life would be like without tabs). At the time these two reasons were plenty good enough to not use Internet Explorer.

Why Chrome is just as good if not better
Firefox set the bar for popup blocking. Now every browser does this. Most browsers do such a good job in fact that it is difficult to say if one is much better than the other. As far as tabs go, Chrome is fantastic. Moving tabs in Chrome is beautiful. You can easily move tabs to a new window. When you close multiple tabs, the tab sizes don't change until you move the mouse of the tabs bar; this is brilliant!

Why I Used Firefox - Download Management
I liked how downloading files just made sense in Firefox. Nothing too special, but didn't take much to be better than Internet Explorer.

Why Chrome is just as good if not better
I don't like popups. Chrome is great to just have the downloads show up on the bottom. Files are downloaded to a download folder unless you specify it to download somewhere else. Downloading files does not slow you down. No popup for you to have to close.

Why I Used Firefox - Searching
Never liked popups; especially when searching for something. The way Firefox had a search bar come up without a popup was wonderful.

Why Chrome is just as good if not better
Search is basically the same. I do like how it is not on the bottom. Top right seems to be a good fit. I like how words are automatically highlighted. The best part about search in Chrome; it shows how many words can be found. 4/34 is much more useful than nothing.

Why I Used Firefox - The biggie - Extensions
Extensions are amazing. Extensions allow you to do almost anything you want in a browser. There are certain extensions that I absolutely cannot live without. I won't go over specific extensions I use, but I will just say I use a lot. I cannot use a browser without certain extensions.

Why Chrome is just as good if not better.
It's not. This is one area that Chrome still has to play catchup. There are not nearly the amount of extensions in Chrome and in some cases the Chrome extensions are just not as good. One thing that Chrome does have going for it though is that much of the features built in to Chrome are features that take away the need for extensions. Chrome is getting more and more extensions and I predict that within a few years, Chrome will have as many good extensions as Firefox.

What won my heart over
Chrome sync. When I used this, I knew I would be switching to Chrome. I was amazed. I reinstall my operating system on a regular basis and the biggest headache I had was reinstalling all my extensions, and configuring them to work. This took forever. Chrome sync is amazing! I just reinstalled Kubuntu last week. I installed Chrome, signed into Chrome sync and had Chrome exactly how it was before in less than two minutes!

I still love Firefox and I can understand why so many people still use it, but I want to give all you non Chrome users out there a Challenge. Use Chrome for an entire day. See if you can do everything in Chrome that you were doing in Firefox.

Here is a recap on my favorite things about Chrome:

  • Speed. Chrome is fast. It loads fast and it runs fast. Loading  Firefox with all my extensions does not even stand a chance compared to Chrome.
  • Tabs. Easier to move and navigate. I am a tabaholic. Having more than 10 tabs open at a time is not a problem. Chrome handles the tabs very well.
  • Private Browsing/Incognito mode. Both Firefox and Chrome have this, but I like how Chrome leaves your current window up. As a web developer I find that there are many instances where I need to see pages with ads, but since I have adblocker, this does not work. Press Ctrl+Shift+New and I have an incognito mode that allows me to see ads. I also use this when I need to sign on to multiple accounts. I use this whenever I use someone else's browser so I don't have to log off of their accounts.
  • Looks. I value real estate on my monitor. Firefox simply takes up to much space with things that are unnecessary. The URL bar and tab bar are the only thing I see on Chrome. No bookmark bar, no file menu bar, no toolbar etc. (In Firefox, I tried to mimic the same thing, but it usually took a few extensions about about 30 minutes of configuring.
  • Chrome Sync. Firefox is working on something like this, but it is simply a million times better in Chrome. Chrome Sync is heavenly.

About McKay


  1. You mention "As far as tabs go, Chrome is fantastic." Could you please elaborate? I love 'Ctrl+tab' in Firefox and have not found a way to get it to work in Chrome. This would help me make the switch. If you have a work around could you make a post about it?


  2. Hmm. Ctrl+Tab has always worked for me in Chrome. I am not sure why it does not work for you. Ctrl+PageUp/PageDown also works. This might actually be something that is new since the last time you tried it; you should definitely give it another go. I think my favorite thing is still that the tabs remain the same size when you are closing them. For instance: Sometimes when I do image searches I will open up a bunch of different tabs of images then look through them. When I want to close all the tabs I no longer need, I can press the middle mouse button and just keep pressing till they are all closed. In Firefox the tab sizes change as you do that so sometimes you will close the left tab accidentally unless you move your mouse. It is a small thing but super useful if you use a lot of tabs like me.

    I also like how dragging tabs in Chrome looks. Rather than just showing where you would be moving it to (like Firefox does) Chrome actually moves the other tabs out of the way as you are dragging it.

    Definitely worth trying!

  3. Yeah, this is an issue for me too. What is the keyboard shortcut to jump to the LAST viewed tab (not just to the tab at right or left of current tab)?

  4. From what I can tell, tab switching works the same way in Chrome as it does in Firefox. To go to the most recently opened tab, you will need the extension Recent Tabs. I believe Tab Mix plus in Firefox is what allowed you to do this in Firefox (one of my favorite extensions by the way).

    Here are shortcut keys for navigating tabs in Chrome.

    Switch to the right tab = Ctrl+Tab or Ctrl+PgDown
    Switch to the left tab = Ctrl+Shift+Tab or Ctrl+PgUp

    Switch to a specific tab = Ctrl+(tab number 1,2,3 etc.)

    Switch to the last tab = Ctrl+9

    I believe these are all the same as Firefox except Firefox I don't think allows you to navigate to the tab by number.

  5. Chrome is nice, I specially love its speed, but there are few extensions I use on Firefox that do not have any good alternative for Chrome (though to be fair, there is also an extension I like in Chrome that does not have a good alternative for Firefox). Unless that happens, I would have to stick with Firefox.

    As for screen real state and synchronization, Firefox 4 (beta) appears to be as good as Chrome, if not better, and it also feels pretty fast (except for the new paranmor view, which feels very slow on my system).

  6. Firefox sync works absolutely wonderfully for me, never had any trouble with it. Also, I don't have to let Google store my personal information, which is a major plus. I haven't heard whether the open source version of Chrome, Chromium, has any sync option that doesn't give your personal info to Google, but if it does, I might give it another try...

    For most of my daily browsing, Chrome might work for me (although there are many extensions I'd sorely miss, such as Keysnail, Zotero, Music Player Minion...), but seeing as Firefox is otherwise pretty much feature-complete with Chrome, I'd rather use Firefox. It doesn't share my personal information with Google, and it uses its own rendering engine. For anyone who's interested in a web based on standards, it's a very good thing that there are several rendering engines with about equal market share. If we only had IE and Safari/Chrome (or even worse, only Chrome), we could easily end up with more messed up browser-specific HTML again.

  7. Aqeeliz:
    I am excited to try out Firefox 4. I think it will be really good. If it is fast enough and the sync is good enough, I might switch back...

    Chromium does have a sync option that works just as well as Chrome. As far as I know (please correct me if I am wrong) Firefox does not sync extensions. That is what impressed me so much about Chrome. It is a bother for me to have to find and install all my extension in Firefox. After Chrome taking about 10 seconds to sync EVERYTHING, I was instantly sold. But yeah; there are still a lot of extensions I miss that Chrome does not have yet.

  8. I use both firefox and chrome. Firefox is my preferred primary browser because I cant do without extensions like Firebug, FireFTP and web developer. Chrome wins when it comes to sync, smooth tabs, incognito and 'real estate' (sync and 'real estate' are taken care of in FF 4). As for speed, i just tweak about:config in firefox to achieve faster browsing. And, oh, the master password feature dispels the worry that someone will get to see my online logins.

    Everyday browsing: chrome. Web design & development: Firefox

  9. Emmanuel; I agree with you when it comes to web design. It is pretty tough to live with out the web developer extension.

    I have not bothered to try out FF 4 yet, but seems like I may have to redo this post from what everyone says about it. It will be a fun comparison for sure! Love the competition.

  10. What I really like about Firefox 4 is the Panorama feature for grouping tabs. It's so easy to move tabs around in different groups rather than trying to organize them from different windows. Switching between groups is a matter of two clicks, or in my case, mouse gesture. But I'd love to have the smooth Chrome transitions when moving tabs around in the tab bar - FF sucks at that.


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