Saturday, May 22, 2010

Let Firefox check these annoyances

There is a lot of debate going on about the future of the Firefox browser relative to Google Chrome. Glyn Moody for instance is of the view that the Mozilla Foundation needs to fork the browser to have another one to compete head on with Google Chrome. It is not so impossible to envisage a gloomy future for Firefox should it be overtaken in terms of users by Chrome.

As an end user of both Google Chrome and Firefox, with the former now being my primary browser both on my Ubuntu lappy and XP box at work, I think there are certain basic annoyances that when checked, could go a long way to secure the future of Firefox as the dominant Open Source browser out there.

Add on management
This to me is a killer factor between which of the two browsers I use. With Chrome, when I want to install an add on, all I need to do is install it and it is immediately ready to use. No fuss. Now come to Firefox. Install the addon and it nags you to restart the browser for the changes to take effect. And unless you do, there is no way that addon will be available for you to use. It just should not be so.

Update Management
I wonder why Firefox does not auto-update addons I install but has to nag me so much to do so. If I have 10 addons installed, I always need to keep manually updating and restarting my browser to update them individually whenever there is an update for them. Can't the browser spare me this and do it on its own? Or at least if I need to manually update my addons, then could I be spared the need to restart the browser?

Addon checks
Firefox out of the box is light and resource friendly, though still not as much as Google Chrome. The problem of Firefox has sometimes got to do with some addons. For whatever reason, some addons tend to needlessly hose the browser resulting in a high spike in CPU usage. I think more checks need to go into what kind of addons are submitted to the addon bank over at repository.

These are the three key annoyances I find to be make or break deals for Firefox. If it is to remain the dominant force it is today in the very competitive browser market, then it needs to check these downsides which are Chrome's strengths. I really do like Firefox, but until these annoyances are checked, it will remain my secondary browser, used not as often as I do Google Chrome.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments

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