Sunday, September 01, 2013

Re-Browsing FireFox

I have been a pretty die hard fan of Google’s Chrome browser for several years now. I loved that it automatically synchronized my bookmarks and add-ons between devices simply by logging into my Google account. Also, when it first came out, it seemed to be much faster than FireFox and Internet Explorer (really, what isn’t faster than Internet Explorer?) Recently, though, Chrome has really seemed to slow down. Sometimes I have to reload a page several times by almost hammering on the F5 key before it will come up. My first inclination was that maybe the Wi-Fi signal in my living room was not very strong (the AT&T Wireless Gateway is upstairs, after all). But when this started occurring even when I took the laptop upstairs and plugged in the ethernet cable, I then started wondering if something was up with the PC itself, so naturally I rebooted (several times).

Yesterday, for shits-’n-giggles, I decided to spend time using FireFox instead of Chrome just to see if there would be a difference…. and there was. So, I exported all of my bookmarks from Chrome and imported them into FireFox. I’ve been using just FF for several hours now and it, so far, is proving to be more reliable and loading pages correctly and quickly compared to Chrome.

That’s not the only reason I’m considering fully switching back to FireFox though. Until my recent smartphone upgrade, I did not have access to Chrome Mobile, and honestly never really gave FireFox Mobile much of a look. Now, though, I find myself really preferring FireFox Mobile simply because it supports add-ons, which Chrome Mobile does not. That may not seem like that big of a deal, but since I use LastPass password manager, if I need to log into, say, my banking site on the go to see if a payment or deposit has cleared yet, having to open the LastPass app, copy the password, and then paste it into the browser can become cumbersome while having the add-on in my mobile browser like I do the desktop version is much more convenient. I will admit, Chrome Mobile seems a bit more user friendly in terms of its interface, but that lack of add-on support is kind of killing it for me.

Synchronization was Chrome’s biggest advantage for my decision to keep using it, but I discovered this morning that FireFox has that now too (ok, granted, it probably has for awhile and I just never noticed it because it has been so long since I regularly used it). The sync is pretty seamless. I set up the FireFox Sync account on my primary PC (namely my laptop) and then was able to connect the mobile versions on both my phone and my tablet (which is a rooted and flashed Nook Tablet, in case you’re interested). Not only does the FireFox Sync service synchronize my bookmarks, but also my add-ons, preferences, and history; it will even sync my tabs and passwords if I choose to do so.

There you have it. Sorry Google, but Chrome has started failing me, so I’m going back to FireFox; at least for awhile to see how things go.

~ JC
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