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Firefox Chrome Google Privacy

'Why I'm Switching From Chrome To Firefox and You Should Too' (fastcodesign.com) 337

An anonymous reader quotes an associate technology editor at Fast Company's Co.Design: While the amount of data about me may not have caused harm in my life yet -- as far as I know -- I don't want to be the victim of monopolistic internet oligarchs as they continue to cash in on surveillance-based business models. What's a concerned citizen of the internet to do? Here's one no-brainer: Stop using Chrome and switch to Firefox... [W]hy should I continue to use the company's browser, which acts as literally the window through which I experience much of the internet, when its incentives -- to learn a lot about me so it can sell advertisements -- don't align with mine....?

Unlike Chrome, Firefox is run by Mozilla, a nonprofit organization that advocates for a "healthy" internet. Its mission is to help build an internet in an open-source manner that's accessible to everyone -- and where privacy and security are built in. Contrast that to Chrome's privacy policy, which states that it stores your browsing data locally unless you are signed in to your Google account, which enables the browser to send that information back to Google. The policy also states that Chrome allows third-party websites to access your IP address and any information that site has tracked using cookies. If you care about privacy at all, you should ditch the browser that supports a company using data to sell advertisements and enabling other companies to track your online movements for one that does not use your data at all.... Firefox protects you from being tracked by advertising networks across websites, which has the lovely side effect of making sites load faster...

Ultimately, Firefox's designers have the leeway to make these privacy-first decisions because Mozilla's motivations are fundamentally different from Google's. Mozilla is a nonprofit with a mission, and Google is a for-profit corporation with an advertising-based business model.. While Firefox and Chrome ultimately perform the same service, the browsers' developers approached their design in a radically different way because one organization has to serve a bottom line, and the other doesn't.

The article points out that ironically, Mozilla supports its developers partly with revenue from Google, which (along with other search engines) pays to be listed as one of the search engines available in Firefox's search bar.

"But because it relies on these agreements rather than gathering user data so it can sell advertisements, the Mozilla Corporation has a fundamentally different business model than Google."
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'Why I'm Switching From Chrome To Firefox and You Should Too'

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  • Palemoon (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2018 @01:37PM (#56716194)

    Try Palemoon instead.

    Have you forgotten what the Firefox dolts did with their stupid Mr. Robot promo plugin?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JMJimmy ( 2036122 )

      Mozilla is imploding under incompetent leadership. Decision after decision is stripping away everything that made Firefox great. Sure it has better privacy by default than Chrome but it also has its fair share of privacy nightmares. As an example, most people don't know they're signed up for "experiments" by default and these experiments are *exempt* from Mozilla's privacy policy. There is little to no oversight over what is collected or how it is used.

      Palemoon might be good but it doesn't have the deve

      • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
        I filed a bug report on firefox and found their response to be arrogant and dismissive and that was the last time I've had anything too do with them. Every once in a while I feel like I should do my own damn browser, but there's a lot of work involved in that which I really don't care to do. Also every once in a while I feel like we might be better off going back to store-and-forward, which actually feels a bit more "right" but is still pretty unrealistic.

        There's room for a lot of competition in several i

      • I've been seeing a lot of this message of "Switch to Firefox" lately. I'm guessing a bunch of fanboys are trying to make rust relevant (It lives or dies with firefox).

        What I've found with rust evangelists is that there's often bitterness that no one is really that interested in their language.

    • Re:Palemoon (Score:4, Insightful)

      by catchblue22 ( 1004569 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @06:03PM (#56717308) Homepage

      WTF is with people dumping on Firefox? It used to be slow and bloated, until the release of Quantum. With Quantum, Firefox is at least as fast as Chrome. Pre-quantum, having many tabs open was guaranteed to bring my computer to its knees. Post quantum, opening many tabs is no problem.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fafalone ( 633739 )
        Well some people care more about the features their plugins add that don't yet exist post-57, or in most cases will never exist because of WebExtensions limits Mozilla refuses to allow workarounds for, than they care that pages load in 2 seconds instead of 4 seconds, sometimes. Their arrogance in killing off a large part of the plugin capabilities that made Firefox great, continually dumbing down the interface and copying Chrome, and telling the large majority of their userbase opposed to this 'fuck off you
        • Yeah - even the difference of 4 seconds vs 2 seconds on different browsers would more likely mean someone is mining bitcoins on your browser: and failing to do so in the faster browser.

          In the non-malware case the difference is less than 10% of loading time.

        • Re:Palemoon (Score:5, Informative)

          by bjdevil66 ( 583941 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @11:50PM (#56718496)

          This was my exact argument -- until I finally took the plunge and updated to FF57. Yes, there were a couple of must-have extensions I HAD to wait for (NoScript, Nuke Anything, Web Developer), but they all came online and I made the change.

          I quickly realized that I was totally wrong and was just being stubborn.

          To those who suggest Palemoon or other pre-FF57 forks: Stop kidding yourself. You're riding on a slow, sinking ship that's losing support by the day.

          Instead of staying on the FFork Titanic, try the following: Let go of every extension you haven't used in a few months and see what's left. If there's anything left with no Quantum version, try a close clone of the functionality. When you get to a good middle ground, make the jump. You'll realize that the speed/performance difference is BIG - and you won't be able to go back and be happy anymore.

          • I'm using FF56 still, will eventually switch to Pale Moon. If a particular page doesn't work, I just load it in Chrome.

            Stubborn? Maybe a little. After all, I still write desktop utility apps in VB6, using tons of tricks, low-level APIs and COM interfaces to implement modern features, because I'm mad about .NET.
            Ok a lot stubborn but with full justification, I shall resist the Chromification and XUL removal in Firefox until the day the very last workaround fails and the internet becomes unusable!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by execthis ( 537150 )

        Just thought I'd chime in and say that performance- and feature-wise Firefox is one of the top browsers, along with Chrome, which however because of it's much better policies and intentions I definitely prefer Firefox.

        Yes the upgrade to Quantum was not completely smooth. I notice that many Quantum-compatible addons are not as flawless as pre-Quantum ones, but overall performance is vastly better. For the better performance and stability the tradeoff seems worth it although one hopes that the addon quality

    • Don't forget https://www.seamonkey-project.... [seamonkey-project.org] ... V2.49.3 currently uses Firefox v52 ESR's Gecko engine. :D

    • PaleMoon is good; Vivaldi is better. IMHO.

  • switch? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @01:42PM (#56716216)

    >" What's a concerned citizen of the internet to do? Here's one no-brainer: Stop using Chrome and switch to Firefox."

    Many of us, myself included, have NEVER used Chrome and still use Firefox on all our systems. Yes, that is a no-brainer if you value your privacy.

    In the earlier days of Chrome, Firefox performance stagnated and Chrome was fast and lean. But that was less of a concern to many of us. Still, many switched primarily for that reason (with apparently no concern about closed binaries and privacy). Well, that reason is certainly gone now!

    Oh, and make sure to not use http://google.com/ [google.com] for searching.... another no-brainer. I would recommend http://startpage.com/ [startpage.com] or similar. Same results, no tracking.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My thought too. Switch, eh wot? I never had any reason to stop using the Fox.

      I tried Chrome. I even wanted to like it, but I just kind of... didn't.

      Thanks for the link to startpage.com, will try that for sure.

    • Just run the following performance test on Firefox and Chrome. On my machine it runs ten times faster on Chrome. Hell, even Internet Explorer is almost ten times faster than Firefox on this test.

      https://testdrive-archive.azur... [azurewebsites.net]

      This may be a special case, but working with SVG I can tell you that filtering and masking is considerably slower in Firefox than in Chrome.Oh, and that so called "hardware acceleration" is often enough a decelleration. Setting the number of maximum processes from 4 to 1 sometim
      • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @04:55PM (#56717092)

        >"Just run the following performance test on Firefox and Chrome.

        Whenever I look at benchmarks for the modern XXX vs. Firefox, they seem to be all over the map. In some specific benchmark tests, yes, XXX is X times faster than Firefox. But in others, Firefox is X times faster than XXX. What most people agree to is that with normal, general browsing, you can't really tell much of a difference in overall speed anymore.

        By the way, I don't have Chrome, but I did compare Chromium to Firefox on that specific benchmark and had FAR worse results than you- 24 times slower! So yeah, they do need to work on whatever THAT is tickling! :)

    • I still use Chrome for certain purposes. I prefer using it for my online courses. It's nice to have a separate browser for them. Also, because of my heavy use of ad-blocking and privacy addons in Firefox, there's the occasional site that has issues and it's nice to have Chrome as a backup.

  • Even better (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Elledan ( 582730 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @01:44PM (#56716224) Homepage
    I have been a Firefox user since before it was called Firefox, starting with the first buggy milestones during the final days of Netscape. I never bought into the whole Chrome thing as it had that distinct Internet Explorer feel to it.

    Then, when Firefox Quantum rolled around, I saw myself forced to jump ship if I wanted to keep using the plugins and extensions I had come to rely on, including some extensions which I had written myself, but could not be ported to WebExtensions due to missing APIs.

    That's when I decided to switch to Pale Moon, which is essentially a Firefox fork, but with significant differences, far less cruft and a truly free and open source model, without commercial involvement, like with Mozilla.

    The Basilisk browser is the current preview of the next iteration of Pale Moon, and it will add some new features to Pale Moon, but retain the lean, low memory profile nature. I could honestly not be happier and would recommend that others switch to Pale Moon, Basilisk, or WaterFox (another Firefox fork).
    • Yeah I have also decided to jump ship now that Mozilla has basically dropped the customization that made Firefox Firefox. If they had dumped the XUL system for being too insecure and had replaced it with something more advanced and powerful I would have been cool with it. Well except for yet again proving to extension developers how little their work is valued by making all of their hard work obsolete. The problem is they replaced the old system with Chrome's weaker system that doesn't let extension develop

      • Is anyone looking at forking quantum. Unlock origin and umatrix are the only extensions I use, and I like the performable and security benefits of quantum (and aesthetically I like that it uses rust).

    • I think the Milestone 18 version of the Mozilla browser was the first one that was stable enough for every day use. I've been using Mozilla/Firefox ever since. That would have been back in 2001 or so. Before that, I used Netscape. I've been a Microsoft hater since the first browser wars when MS tried to corner the entire web with IE 6. (Funny how quaint that idea sounds now.)
  • Two browsers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @01:47PM (#56716244) Homepage

    There are more than just two browsers on the market... I've been a quite satisfied Opera user for years now. Ad-block without an extension. VPN without an extension. The fact the majority of the web is now designed for Webkit/Blink first, and Mozilla's rendering engine is just an afterthought. Opera is pretty much the best of all worlds.

  • by C R Johnson ( 141 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @01:49PM (#56716254) Homepage

    Google can track you just fine even if you are not using Chrome.
    Just by knowing the four or five web sites you visit most is enough to ID you.

  • I use the Chromium browser for Discordapp.com chat and Firefox for pretty much everything else. When you try to change your avatar or upload emoji in Firefox, Discord does not respond to a click on the upload button. (Nothing appears in the error console either.) This has been the case for roughly a year, since late May of 2017. Uploading avatars and emoji works in Chromium the same way as it works in the (Chromium-based) native app.

    Or are the compelling features of Firefox themselves a reason to leave Disc

  • The question is... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Type44Q ( 1233630 )

    The question is, what the fuck were you doing on Chrome in the first place?? Run Firefox+NoScript+Adblock/Ublock Origin and call it a day.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      What is better about running Firefox with those plugins compared to running Chrome with those plugins?

      Chrome has better security and performance. Firefox has a few built in privacy features that Chrome needs add-ons for. There isn't much in it really, mostly just which UI you prefer.

  • by AlanObject ( 3603453 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @02:08PM (#56716344)

    I have no interest in the politics of which web browser to use. I use Safari, Edge, Chrome, and Firefox all the same time.

    Safari for business browsing and other stuff. It is integrated best with MacOS naturally.

    Edge when I have to do Windows stuff (in a VM) and it turns out to be a pretty good PDF viewer and some other interesting features.

    Firefox when I am doing personal surfing and media playing. That way I keep my personal browser history separate from my business browser history. If I decide to wipe my personal browser history then I can do it and I don't lose the business history.

    Chrome is best for JS debugging. It is really nice to be able to set breakpoints, single step, and inspect runtime state from inside the WebStorm IDE. Both Typescript and Javascript.

    On top of that when I develop a web page or web app I use all of them to see how it looks in each and whether all the JS stuff works the same. That's the least I can do for my work, right?

    I don't time to dither in browser wars.

  • by julian67 ( 1022593 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @02:25PM (#56716444)

    I'll switch back as soon as Firefox starts supporting ALSA again. I could put up with all the other shit, even moving to new plug in architecture, that the fuckwit brogrammers at Mozilla did, but abandoning support for Linux's only universal sound architecture was simply beyond cretinous and well into the realm of counter-productive hipster stupidity. I suppose it was cool and ironic but I'm neither of those, and I prefer simple ALSA over ALSA+ so at that point it was goodbye to Firefox after almost 15 years of using it on Windows, Linux and lately Android, and hello to Chrome and Chromium.

  • My favorite tab management plugins only exist for Firefox, but I use Chrome as my workhorse browser because Firefox just can't handle large loads.
    I have 32GB of RAM in my workstation. I did that because I was hitting the ceiling hard with anything less. When I use Firefox, even the 64 bit version, it starts breaking down as it reaches the 32bit memory barriers (2GB process image / 4GB address space) with larger numbers of open tabs. It grinds to a halt and often crashes. This is a serious pain for me becau
    • Can't remember when is the last time Firefox crashed on me and I am a complete slob with tabs. Not sure what you are doing with it.....
      • by Kremmy ( 793693 )
        Probably because you're a complete slob with tabs, it gets to effectively swap them out and manage them. Doesn't work so well with oodles of media rich documentation being flipped about madly.
    • I'm running Firefox Quantum 64 bit version now with approximately 173 tabs open, and it is using 789MB which is ok in my opinion.
  • There is also the Vivaldi browser, which is based on Chromium (open source). People who liked the "old" Opera browser (prior to Opera 15) would probably like Vivaldi. Vivaldi's privacy policy -> https://vivaldi.com/privacy/br... [vivaldi.com]
    • by rojash ( 2567409 )
      I doubt people here are smart enough to use V. Based on this lamebrain post and comments.
  • ... the individual cannot be responsible for their privacy when companies with bottomless wells of cash and Internet service providers who are also cable companies are sharing data and have developed advanced software to identify individuals. The same way TOR is being blocked by services like cloudfare and people are forced to do captcha's. If you want to use TOR to browse a popular website or be anonymous good luck with that.

    Your IP address and your email can be correlated using flaws in html, java and o

  • Well, Netscape first, then Mozilla Firefox. Switched to Chrome last year, when Firefox ditched the fully featured addon API.
    As all of the addons I needed are either no longer available for Firefox or are limited in the same way Chrome addons are, I see no reason to go back.
    Support is a two way street. I supported Firefox as long as they supported my needs. They no longer do, and so it's good bye. No compelling reason to come back as of now.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @03:32PM (#56716732)

    And I’ll be staying away. Philosophically, I’m more closely aligned with the Mozilla folks than with people like Eich - but Mozilla demonstrated that bullying and intolerance exist on both sides of the political spectrum, and I’m not going to overlook it just because their on “my” side.

    So, for me, the only viable choice is Safari. I have to keep Chrome and Firefox around for testing, but they’re limited to that role.

  • Now that Firefox runs in multiple processes, it sucks up virtually all of the memory on the laptop. I oftentimes have to kill Firefox in order to run other apps on the laptop.

    It didn't seem quite so bad when it was just one process - then it at least was limited to 2G.

  • by tsa ( 15680 )

    I was already on Firefox when it was still called Netscape. And I stayed on it all the time for exactly the reason the author uses. Well, and because IE was a piece of utter, utter crap in the 1990s and 2000s of course.

  • Since the major code refactor, Firefox has now leap frogged in terms of performance and memory usage over Chrome. I switched back initially because I of the reports that Firefox uses resources much more efficiently. Now, I am happy to be using it and not have my data mined.
  • All browsers are free yet they provide incredible functionality and value. I'm OK with the price of providing data to whomever has made the browser that I'm using. As long as they don't stifle my ability to anonymize myself or my ability to block any and all ads that I choose. So as long as this is true I'll select the browser that best suits my needs.

  • make your browser and trusted crypto.
    Dont let an ad company near your webcam, microphone, data.
  • I use firefox anyway.

    I have no axe to grind. I don't care what browser anybody uses.

    All google wants to do is send you targetted ads, instead of random ads. You are going to see ads anyway.

    Google is not prying into your private life. Google has billions of users, and uses algorithms to target ads. It is unlikely that anybody at google would recognize your name, or know anything about you.

    Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it is a big deal. If so, maybe somebody could explain why?

    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      Even if they don't personally look at you(r data), the huge amount of data they have gathered includes a risk of abuse, be it by a person or (malicious) AI.
      Remember Google lives of selling this data, one small slip-up and it is sold to the wrong.
  • So....about 3 years ago I was annoyed that google services were so linked: once you connect to one (Gmail), you get connected to all (Youtube, Search etc.). Search was my biggest problem.
    So I use Chrome for Gmail and Youtube (well, they already have my info) and do the rest of my browsing in Firefox (logged-out Google Search and all others).
    For a lower-memory option (like a 4GB VM), I found I could open a Firefox private window and login to GMail+Youtube there (with saved passwords), leaving the main window

  • People should be switching to Vivaldi
  • I use Chrome myself, for all my browsing. I'm fully aware the thing is spying on my browsing habits every day, all day.

    But then, pretty much every website is doing this regardless of my browser choice. It's not difficult to build a 'profile' of what any particular given user looks like (to a computer.) The point being, I could use something like Pale Moon, Firefox, or any other non-Chrome browser, but does that increase my privacy and security? Probably not.

    By electing to use the most nosy browser there

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