Chrome to Firefox

March 1, 2013

Last week I decided it was time to switch back to Firefox from Chrome. I’ve been an avid user of Firefox for years, but for roughly a three month stint, I switched to Chrome for a few reasons. It is overall a good browser. I like how it handles private browsing, and how you do not have to restart it each time you add a new extension. It also offers nicer integration with Gmail when it comes to file previewing. It’s where it lacks is why I switched back to Old Faithful - Firefox.

For starts, one reason I switched to Chrome was the relatively consistent cheer for it’s better memory management. Rubbish. I’ve had the same memory issues with it as I did with Firefox prior to switching. By breaking it’s tasks out to twenty plus processes, any one is tiny and appears efficient. The advantage is that if one process crashes, the entire browser doesn’t go kaput. Since Firefox now breaks it’s extensions out to a separate container, it’s no longer an issue. And with all of the extensions I run, it still runs wonderfully.

Password protection - a simple concept, no? If you use Chrome, it’s far from simple. Chrome does not offer a master password to protect all your goodies. if you are like me, you too have multiple computers, and sync your browser goodies across all of them. With Firefox, I can set a master password natively at the office so you must know it to see and use my passwords. Thankfully I work with trustworthy friends, and it’s not an issue, but there are those out there who are not in such a fortunate position. You can do this with Chrome with the help of extensions to sync your data, which is another process which uses yet more memory.

If you are a Gmail user, one thing it has offered for years was the option to send link through Gmail. This isn’t necessarily a feature setting Firefox aside now that Chrome now offers this feature with the last few updates. It also can be set up to send through Yahoo Mail and pretty much any software you choose. It’s not limited to what your computer default is.

As a website developer, one thing I do pretty often is tunnel through my server to check to make sure DNS is updating correctly. Firefox has it’s own set of proxy settings, and it not confined to what your computer uses (Chrome depends on your computers settings). This is helpful because you can change Firefox to point to the tunnel while the remainder of your computer is going the default route.

There are a series of extensions that I just love and use daily in my browser. One of extreme note is TabMixPlus. It makes working with tabs much easier, including the display. I like to see all of my tabs without them being scrunched up. With this extension, I display them in multiple rows, which helps in the productivity department since I don’t have to search for the tabs I’m working in as I can clearly read their titles. It also does lots more including changing the default action of opening a new tab from the new tab page to your home page. This works great when you need to search on DuckDuckgo.

In a previous post on jailbreaking your iOS device, I mentioned my new browser of choice: Mercury. You may sync Firefox with it to always have your bookmarks with you and ready to work. If you’ve used Firefox Home, you know the advantage of this. It also syncs with Chrome.

Firefox has so many more advantages, like grouping tabs (native), Firebug for development (extension), Tile Tabs (extension), QuickWiki (extension), proper themes, and a slew of other great features and extensions.

If you need some more advanced features, I suggest you give Firefox a shot and see how you like it. Worst case scenario is you don’t like it and go back to Chrome. Best case, though, is you’ve found your new productivity tool.

Let me know how it works out for you.


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