The Switch

By Max Li | Published: February 5, 2012

I finally did it. Well, sort of. I had been dismissing all of the talk as hype. I knew my stance was correct. But recently, I just couldn’t take it. The pain, the suffering and the slowness was unbearable. So I switched to Chrome.

Let me backtrack a bit. I have been a diehard Firefox user since 1.0. I loved the customizability, both through add-ons and the wonderful land of about:config. When Chrome was released, I didn’t see the point in it; Firefox trumped all. As time passed, many people switched to Chrome because Firefox was too slow, or it used too much memory. I couldn’t believe it. In all seriousness, I literally couldn’t believe it; Firefox had never been particularly slow and while it did use a fair amount of memory, it was never excessive. Everything was fine until a few weeks ago.

A few weeks ago I began a new co-op term. With the new co-op job came along a new computer for me to work on. So I’m going about my business (with Firefox open), and suddenly, after about an hour, Firefox slows down to a crawl. Every click on the window froze my beloved browser. I check the task manager, and in just one hour Firefox has grown to use over two gigabytes of memory! I was dismayed, but I didn’t want to quit quite yet. I installed Memory Fox, and the memory usage never went above a few hundred megabytes. But there was still one problem: the slowness remained. At this point, I had enough. I switched to Chrome. I mean, there was little reason not to do so. I wasn’t using any extensions on this machine, so my primary benefit in using Firefox was nullified.

If you’re a Chrome fanatic, you’re probably mocking me right now. You must be thinking that I suffered for so long and finally I decided to relieve myself from this torture. But Chrome was no panacea. In switching to Chrome, it allowed me to finally get stuff done without being slowed down every hour. Except that every couple hours Chrome completely crashes. Absolutely wonderful. Not only that, the UI and general behaviour of the browser just feels wrong (I mean, it’s not Firefox, how could it possibly be right?).

So am I going to stick to Chrome? For this old, sluggish computer I have at work, yes. But it only just barely wins out against Firefox. As for my personal laptop, I’m glad I never switched.

Author’s Note: I think Chrome is a great browser for the 99% of people who don’t need the power that Firefox provides. Also, no browser crashed/was hurt in the production of this post.