The question pops up every time a new update shows up: Chrome vs Firefox, which is better?
Well, Chrome got to 50 first, but we decided to wait until Firefox caught up to make a comparison. On November 15th, Firefox launched its latest version, 50.0. A couple of off-cycle and security updates later, we’re now at version 50.1.0 of Mozilla Firefox. Google Chrome, on the other hand, is now at version 55.0.2883 with the latest updates made on December 1. So now let’s take a step back and take a good hard comparative look at the two browsers. We’ll see what’s new in both browsers and even run a few benchmark tests.
What’s new in Google Chrome 55:
A leap in memory.
For a long time now, Chrome has had issues with its memory consumption. You couldn’t open a bunch of tabs without the browser slowing you down. With version 55, however, Chrome now uses 30% less memory than Chrome 54. That’s more than impressive. Check out this graph that shows the drastic change. But we’ve also heard concerns from users that with more tabs open, the slowness creeps in, too.
A change in history.
The History page that lived inside the Settings menu is now gone. Instead, you’ll find the History option when you click the startup menu on the top right-hand side corner of your browser.
Flash Player is turned off.
Google has now turned off Flash Player by default for most sites. So if you’ve been thinking that your websites aren’t loading properly, that’s not the case. You just need to grant explicit permission to Chrome to play those flash media.
Material Design stays.
In previous versions, Google had tested out a new design, the Material Design. This change came to the tab strip, the download bar, and the tool bar. While earlier, you could revert to the older design, now, however, you can’t. This may come as a disappointment for those who didn’t like the Material Design, but you can no longer disable it.
A fix here and an improvement there.
No update comes without a few follow-up bug fixes and experience enhancements. The Google Chrome version 55 also had a number of fixes and updates.
Google Chrome’s updates were pretty normal, in comparison to Mozilla’s. Of course, it was Firefox 50, so they had to make it big.
What’s new in Firefox:
More video watching.
The browser now brings in support for Widevine with WebM Encrypted Media Extensions (EME). This means that you can now watch videos on even more sites than before.
According to Mozilla’s release notes, they’ve done some under-the-hood tweaks to add additional protection for larger files executable files.
Browsers often depend on plugins to display high-quality graphics. However, with this update, Firefox uses Web Graphics Library (WebGL) to display graphics for over 98% of its users. WebGL is a script that helps the browser to render 3D graphics easily.
A small feature with a big usage, “Find in page” (Ctrl+F or command+f) now has an option to find whole words only. So if you need to find a certain work without getting distracted by the tool matching case, whole words can save whole minutes.
As a final feature update, Firefox has brought in a couple of changes to keyboard shortcuts.
- You can now configure switching of apps (Ctrl+Tab) to cycle through the order of recently-opened apps.
- Open up Reader Mode with the keyboard combination, Ctrl+Alt+R or command+alt+r.
Dev. talk: Better SDK performance.
The latest Firefox update brings performance enhancements for all extensions based on Software Development Kit (SDK) and the ones that use the SDK module loader.
If you’re developing apps or websites for Firefox, then there’s some big news for you too. Check out Mozilla’s release notes here.
This one’s a benchmarking tool that tests a browser’s ability to render HTML codes. Though Firefox scored a little better, both browsers were almost neck-to-neck. Which isn’t surprising considering HTML is every browser’s priority.
There never is a single unanimous verdict on the debate. No matter how many security updates and performance enhancements both browsers bring, we will have devoted users on both sides. Firefox seems to score a little better in terms of speed, durability, and — to an extent — security. Having said that, though, there’s something about Google Chrome’s usability and simplicity that keeps it on the best list. In sum, it doesn’t matter which browser you use because you won’t be compromising much either way.