Chrome vs Firefox

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Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox
Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is an open-source web browser, whereas Chrome is a web browser based on the open-source web browser Chromium. Chrome is developed by Google, while Firefox is developed by Mozilla.


[edit] Platform Support

Firefox supports a wide range of operating system platforms, such as (but not limited to):

  • Apple Mac OS X
  • BSD Unix systems
  • Google Android
  • Linux-based systems
  • Microsoft Windows

Chromium, the fundamental browser software of the Chrome brand, runs on:

  • Apple Mac OS X
  • BSD Unix systems
  • Google Android
  • iOS ("Fake" Chromium based on iOS' webkit.)
  • Linux-based systems
  • Microsoft Windows

Chrome itself, as the Google branded product, is less widely available, though the differences are generally negligible.

[edit] Performance

Current independent benchmarks show that Firefox is faster than Chrome in several categories. Chrome formerly claimed the fastest Javascript performance out of all publicly released web-browsers, according to benchmarks released by Google, but this is no longer the case.

While very light browser users, who tend to have between one and five tabs open at most and reuse tabs already open rather than opening and closing tabs regularly, and who may open and close the browser several times a day as part of normal use, common user reviews remark about the increased speed of the Firefox browser with each new release. Such reviews give the impression of ongoing development greatly improving performance with each new major release -- responsiveness getting faster from 3.0 to 3.5, from 3.5 to 3.6, and from 3.6 to 4.0. (Current Firefox version is 27.)

Roughly 70 % of bytes loaded from a website are images and the byte-size of images has been increasing [1]. Google Chrome supports WebP, which Google claims can reduce the amount of loaded bytes, thus making websites appear to load faster [2]. In contrast, Mozilla's own research found that WebP format doesn't provide significant performance improvements, though the feature is currently being implemented in Firefox. WebP is unlikely to greatly affect browser performance, as the majority of websites use GIF, PNG, and JPEG images; WebP images are rare in practice.

[edit] Memory

Chrome uses more memory than Firefox for relatively fresh starts when multiple tabs are opened, probably due to its separate-process-per-tab implementation. Firefox, however, takes longer to release memory, even when tabs have been closed[citation needed]. In older versions, Firefox would tend to consume larger and larger quantities of memory that it never released; this was termed "the Firefox memory leak", but Mozilla commentary suggests it is actually was a memory fragmentation issue, which exhibits many of the same performance and resource consumption symptoms as a memory leak. Users that frequently open and close tabs may benefit from Chrome's instant release of memory for every closed tab, though Chrome does consume more memory overall.

Since Firefox 4 (current version is 27), Mozilla has fixed the memory consumption problem. Current measurements are available on Mozilla's Are We Slim Yet page.

[edit] Start Up

Chrome has a faster cold start-up time than Firefox[citation needed]. This might be due to the fact that Firefox has more built-in features than Chrome. Chrome and Firefox both tend to get slower when more extensions are installed because many extensions perform tasks at a time.

[edit] Stability

Chrome has a stable release, a BETA release, a DEV (Developer) build, and a Canary build (similar to the DEV build). To improve stability, Chrome included a new technology that allows each tab in the browser to run as its own process. This provides for tab independence, as well as improved performance with multiple processors and lower memory usage for web applications, though Chrome still uses more overall memory than Firefox. This is still one of the most unique things about Chrome as a browser. There have been denial of service vulnerabilities against chrome, as well as jailbreaks in the sandbox.

Firefox is considered stable in its current release (version 30). Similar to Chrome, Firefox also offers beta build of their browser (Current version 31). Firefox also includes Aurora (Beta builds) and Nightly (Test builds) to run the latest beta separate from the main browser. Nightly receives a new update within approximately every 24 hours.

[edit] Interface

Chrome's interface has an empty titlebar that is hidden in fullscreen mode; a tab bar; and a navbar containing navigation buttons, the address box, and a settings button.

Firefox includes a titlebar with an orange appmenu button; a navbar with navigational buttons, the address box, and a search box; and a tab bar.

Firefox has an autohidden status bar at the bottom that can be toggled with ctrl-/ to display extra information from installed add-ons. Chrome does not have a status bar.

Chrome does not feature any layout customization options. Firefox allows for the customization of the presence and placement of each interface element. Firefox's interface is also subject to CSS styling, which allows the user to completely customize each element's appearance.

Firefox supports windowed browsing, i.e not using tabs, which Chrome lacks.

[edit] Security

Chrome provides a number of features not common to other major browsers that may contribute to increased security, including (but not limited to):

  • process segregation of Webpages loaded in multiple tabs, providing the basis for a more complete sandboxing capability than seen in most browsers
  • a very strong privilege separation model, which Google promises will involve advanced sandboxing not only for Webpages in multiple tabs, but also for plugins and in-page scripts, although this has been compromised multiple times

Firefox can emulate the behavior of some of these features, including URL presentation to make phishing more obvious. Firefox executes plugins (such as Flash or Java) in a separate process so a crash will not take down the browser and an exploit has less to work with. However, Flash is not sandboxed like the Chrome Pepper Flash implementation.

As a more mature codebase, core functionality of Firefox has been more broadly tested in the wild, and more vulnerabilities have been discovered and secured by its open source community than for the open source Chromium codebase of Google Chrome.

On Windows, Chrome lacks the ability to encrypt saved passwords with a master password so they are always stored unencrypted on the disk. On Linux, Chrome uses the system password keyring (gnome-keyring or kwallet), which is more secure than the Firefox implementation.

Firefox has the ability to accept third party cookies only from visited sites, while Chrome does not.

Firefox's extension system has accumulated a significant number of useful security add-ons that are not yet available for Chrome, including the Perspectives distributed HTTPS certificate verification system, unwanted media blocking capabilities, automated proxy management such as for TOR, and other handy protections.

[edit] Privacy

There are some privacy concerns associated with Google Chrome, including speculation over whether the Google-branded Chrome browser will include unadvertised data collection to help Google more accurately target marketing. The obvious response to this is that the open source Chromium codebase will allow a verifiably "clean" install of the browser from source or through more trusted distributors, though binary distributions by Google may still be considered suspect.

One of the problems with Chrome is that the address bar will always suggest websites based on your history or bookmarks unless you keep clearing history before typing new address. Although 'Incognito Mode' can solve, it will bring you to slightly different appearance but obviously showing that you are in Incognito mode which is visible by anyone who is looking at the screen.

Firefox has a wide selection of privacy-related extensions, like NoScript, which are unavailable on Chrome.

Google makes its income from user tracking and advertising so has significantly fewer options for privacy protection than Firefox. Some features missing in Chrome are: comprehensive ability to block referrers and very fine-grained control of cookies on the level that Firefox provides.

Both Chrome and Firefox offer a browsing mode which does not record private browsing information (Chrome's "incognito" browsing mode, Firefox 3.5+'s "Private Browsing" mode). Private browsing does not really protect users' privacy against websites as much as it is designed to hide browsing history from other people who might use the same computer.

[edit] Enterprise Support

Both Firefox and Chrome have Windows installers and have made efforts to make their browsers serious options for replacing Internet Explorer in the Enterprise market.[3][4]

[edit] Extensions

Firefox has a very accessible extension system and an organized central extension repository managed by the Mozilla Foundation. This has contributed to the development of easily the largest extension base of all web browsers.

Chrome extensions run in a separate restricted process, with only a catered list of capabilities exposed. This prevents extensions from breaking as the browser internals change, and avoids giving full trust to extension developers. However, Firefox extensions are much more powerful as they are no more limited than the rest of the Firefox code. They are free to change the entire interface of the browser.

For example, keyboard-based overhauls of the browser interface can provide a seamless interface in Firefox, as Pentadactyl and Vimperator do. In Chrome, the user interface of the browser cannot be directly modified by the extensions beyond adding buttons, and bindings can only be added to the tab content.

[edit] Popularity

Firefox takes almost 37.7 % of the market share while Google Chrome takes 34.6 %. Firefox set a Guinness World Record in most downloaded software in 24 hours. 8,002,530 people downloaded Firefox 3 in 24 hours from all over the world.

[edit] Links

[edit] Google Chrome

[edit] Mozilla Firefox

[edit] references

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