That’s a Brave Idea

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jul 30, 2020

Filed under: Rants 170 comments

I’m not totally sure when I switched from Firefox to Google Chrome. I feel like it was about the same time that I created my Gmail account, which (going by my archives) seems to be in September of 2008. 

So I’ve been on Chrome for ~12 years. I’ve been happy with it up until the last six months or so, as Chrome has grown gradually more unwieldyI have a list of minor interface nitpicks and annoyances that aren’t really worth getting into in this post. Maybe another time. and slow. Also, the reputation of Google has shifted over the last 12 years. Back in 2008, Google was beloved as the force behind some of the internet’s greatest innovations: Google search, YouTube, and Gmail. Here in 2020, people are wary of Google’s eponymous search engine over privacy concerns. YouTube has become a frustrating, unjust, and downright Orwellian platform. And Gmail? I guess Gmail is fine, if we’re okay with it being needlessly and aggressively ugly. 

The point is that Google no longer comes across as a hip young company full of idealistic mavericks. These days it feels like a monolithic corporate overlord in a dystopian cyberpunk novel, and every time they show up in the news I feel the need to extricate myself from their ecosystem. 

On the performance side, Chrome began driving me crazy a few months ago when individual tabs would hang for several seconds at a time. I ran into this a lot when scrolling media-heavy subreddits. Sometimes the page would stall and the entire Chrome interface – including switching tabs – would become gradually more unresponsive until I restarted it. My computer is pretty beefy, and I’ve never run into these slowdowns before. Performance seems nice and smooth outside of Chrome, which leads me to believe the problem is with Chrome and not the hardware / OS. 

So far I’ve avoided moving because it’s such a monumental pain in the ass to change web browsers these days. I keep Firefox around for testing purposes, but I’ve never liked it enough to make it my main. And obviously I’m not interested in Microsoft’s offerings

But now I’ve jumped to Brave, and I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into.

As far as I can tell, the big two selling points with Brave are:

  1. It’s seamlessly compatible with Chrome. It can use all of your existing user profiles, bookmarks, saved passwords, and plug-ins. It’s basically Chrome without Google.
  2. It comes with a built-in ad blocker. 

A built-in adblocker! How times have changed. I can remember being opposed to ad blockers on principle. In fact, my position evolved quite a bit over the years…

I can’t believe anyone would block ads! That’s how content creators get paid. It only takes a tiny fraction of a second to download, and it helps pay everyone’s bills. Sure, ads are a little ugly. But ads are what make this giant machine of free content possible. Stop being so petty!

Two years later…

This situation is unfortunate, but advertisements have become so aggressive that I can’t really fault people for blocking them. I still won’t personally use an adblocker because I’m willing to bear these constant annoyances to support my favorite content creators.

Two years later…

Ugh. This is a nightmare. This text article is hidden behind an unpausable auto-play video ad that blasts at full volume. This is going to blow out my speakers if it keeps happening. Also, it’s startling and seriously painful. Last month an ad woke the baby up, and I’m still mad about that. Also, the oldest kid clicked on a tricky ad by accident and now the laptop is all messed up. Also, I’m irritated about all the wasted bandwidth. This mess is now hurting me, my family, and my property. I’d prefer to support creators, but I can’t condone this destructive behavior. I’m getting an ad blocker.

Two years later…

Having an adblocker in place is just basic self-preservation. It’s the first thing I install on a new setup before I venture out onto the web. I feel sorry for small-time creators, but ads now represent a huge obstacle to security, usability, safety, and sanity. I guess I’ll try to remember to whitelist sites that I really like. 

Two years later…

I install adblockers on every machine entrusted to me by friends and family members. I don’t even ask permission. Content creators need to move to Patreon, because my main priority these days is punishing the sites that fill the web with liesYOUR COMPUTER IS INFECTED! CLICK HERE NOW TO DOWNLOAD OUR MALWARE! and attacks on usabilityMy rule is that ads should never escallate content. Don’t make me read a bunch of shit to download a tiny file. Don’t make me watch a video to read text. Don’t make me interact with an ad to see a video.. The economics of the internet aren’t as important as the integrity of the internet. The text-based web of 1997 worked just fine for me, and everyone managed to pay the bills without ads. If universal adblocking causes a collapse that takes us back to that primitive world, then so be it! 

It’s been a slow process, but here we are. It started off as an argument over etiquette, and ended in a war with scorched-earth tactics. 

Brave New Problems

Brave sells itself on being this cool hippie-dippy privacy browser that will fight for the people by standing up to the big corporations, but it’s really just a fresh new flavor of the same corporate medicine. 

The browser promises security and privacy. It does so by creating a wall between users and websites. You can’t see their ads, and they can’t see who you are. But then Brave has this tipjar system for paying creators. You need to create an account to participate, so there goes your private web surfing. Websites will need to sign up with Brave to get their share of whatever money comes in, so we’re just adding a middleman to the data-harvesting.  

I’m not 100% sure how the tipjar stuff works. Normally I sign up for stupid stuff so you don’t have to, but I REALLY didn’t want to join this particular rodeo. 

Brave isn’t getting rid of ads and corporate data-harvesting, they’re trying to create a world where they’re the only ones who can do it. Brave would effectively be a broker between user and website. The only way a web site can learn about you is from Brave, and the only way to indirectly support sites you visit is to sign up with Brave. Instead of twenty corporations all having your personal info, just one company does. Maybe that sounds like an improvement, but I vividly remember the fall of Google from friend to foe. Systems evolve based on their incentives, and the incentive system surrounding Brave does not push the platform towards virtue. 

But What Do I Know?

Assuming the browser takes off, it will probably turn into something ugly and horrible in a few years. But for now it’s just a better version of Chrome. It feels exactly like Chrome, except it doesn’t get bogged down under a huge 20-tab load like the older browser does. It’s got a nice comprehensive adblockerPreviously I used uBlock Origin. In fact, the plugin is automatically running under Brave, but I don’t think there’s much for it to block now., which means there’s less crap for me to maintain / worry about. It’s got this wonderful feature that lets you view the current website as it would appear on various mobile devices, which will be enormously useful to me when I’m maintaining this site. 

I’ll probably use Brave for a couple of years and then leave if things get creepy. We’ll see how it goes.

So what browser(s) are you using these days?



[1] I have a list of minor interface nitpicks and annoyances that aren’t really worth getting into in this post. Maybe another time.


[3] My rule is that ads should never escallate content. Don’t make me read a bunch of shit to download a tiny file. Don’t make me watch a video to read text. Don’t make me interact with an ad to see a video.

[4] Previously I used uBlock Origin. In fact, the plugin is automatically running under Brave, but I don’t think there’s much for it to block now.

From The Archives:

170 thoughts on “That’s a Brave Idea

  1. KFB says:

    I still use firefox for a few reasons.

    1. Font Rendering in Chrome/Chromium Based Browsers is atrocious, on windows especially, you probably don’t notice how blurry it is if you are used to it but use firefox with mactype installed and you’ll see exactly what i mean. There is a custom build of chromium made by a guy called TaoKoiZen which tries to remedy this

    2. This plugin . Chrome has similar types of plugins but they pale in comparison to this. Once you go displaying your tabs like this you will never want to go back

    If you still want to use chrome i’d look into ungoogled chromium it can be a bit of a pain to set up since you have to install some stuff manually to get addon installs working buts it a good option for chromium without all the google crap

    1. Inwoods says:

      Firefox for me too, and love tree tabs.

      1. RandomInternetGuy says:

        Firefox all the way because:

        1. It’s the Mozilla Foundation. The guardian angel of all the Internets.
        2. Has built in privacy protection and security features.
        3. It will warn you automatically if a password you use for a site has been compromised.
        4. Has all the important plugins.
        5. It’s the Mozilla Foundation. The guardian angel of all the Internets.

    2. The Wind King says:

      I use Firefox, but my long-standing memory of using it on my work-computer (working for the family business) is my brother logging on to the machine we ostensibly share (he uses a Laptop because he’s out “in the field” more often) telling me that Firefox is a massive data hog, and it was slowing the machine down so he “helpfully” deletes it, and installs Chrome instead.

      Google, circa 2018…

      Fuck that, I’ll just use pre-installed Safari instead.

      No, you’ll use Google Chrome, it’s the best web browser, it’s secure, and doesn’t hog data, and is better than anything.

      No, no, I’m fine, if Firefox is no good for a business computer I’ll use Safari instead.

      USE CHROME!!!

      You just deleted a comfortable set-up with all of our fanancial data, passwords, and other log-ins, (minus enough for me to be happy with security) so you could tell me to be as fanatically slavish as you to Google… Google…

      (endless blathering about how google chrome is the best, and google can be trusted, and all of my chices are wrong because they are *my* choices)

      I’ve got work to do. Go away.


      1. MadTinkerer says:

        Deleting a web browser? That’s about the least tech hipster thing you can do in my experience. Even I haven’t deleted Edge, just in case there’s something I need it for. (I hid it, and told Win10 to never, ever use it for any reason, but I didn’t uninstall it.) These days, disk space is such an opposite of a precious resource that hard drives are about to become obsolete when SSDs finally exceed them capacity-wise.

        And deleting Firefox in favor of Chrome? Without asking you first? I think your brother is one of those barely-tech-literate numskulls who thinks that just because he’s more tech literate than his parents and schoolteachers that he can make tech decisions for everyone. Newsflash: EVERYONE is more tech-literate than their parents and teachers (unless those teachers are teaching a subject involving software or hardware). Even below-average IQ users can uninstall Firefox if they put their minds to it.

        1. Borer says:

          What’s this about deleting a web browser?
          I just got the new Windows update that switches You over to The New Edge™ and helpfully opens The New Edge™ after the update is applied (after the reboot) because why wouldn’t You want to have The New Edge™ open? Anyway, as of this update it is now impossible to uninstall The New Edge™ (or even the update the installed The New Edge™) from Your computer even if You wanted to. Thankfully I’m not one of the people whose computer slowed down after installing this update but apparently that’s an issue that exists. Thanks Microsoft.

          1. Retsam says:

            I do think an OS-level non-uninstallable internet browser on an operating system is probably a reasonable thing to do – otherwise someone could make an annoying amount trouble just by deleting all the web browsers from the computer.

            And compared to the size of the operating system, the size of Edge is trivial.

            1. John says:

              In Windows, the problem as I see it is that you need to have an old web browser in order to download a new one. You can’t uninstall Edge until you’ve downloaded and installed, say, Chrome, from some Google web page. This isn’t a problem in Linux. Most distros come with a pre-packaged browser, but because you can (in principle) download any browser at any time from the distro’s repository via the command line or some distro-specific graphical tool, it isn’t actually necessary. You can install Linux with no web browser. You can delete the pre-packaged browser before installing a new one if that’s what you want. It’s wonderfully flexible.

              1. Sord says:

                Windows powershell includes wget, so you can download the latest Firefox from the command line using:
                wget “” -outfile firefox.exe

            2. Jordan says:

              Technically you could download edge from the store app. Though really it’s there because they want to have help queries open in the browser. God, can we all appreciate how incredibly shit the new help system is? Used to open up an actual document about the feature, now it just opens up a bing search. Gee, thanks guys. That’s really solved my issue. They also have the web-search-in-the-start-menu that no one uses because that’s an awful idea, and that needs to be able to actually open the results.

              Plus mandating some form of browser causes less issues if a program or app has a hyperlink within it, or you click a link in an email. So there are good reasons, I just hate what it’s allowing MS to do as a result.

    3. miroz says:

      Firefox here too. The killer feature in Firefox for me is the AwesomeBar: the address bar which shows you suggestions as you type but it’s intelligent enough to show me sites from bookmarks and history, which gets using full text search, while Chrome shows me just search suggestions. It’s ironic that I’m using Firefox over Google product because Firefox has better search.

      1. Exasperation says:

        Pretty much this; I tried Chrome when it first came out, but switched back to Firefox because Chrome’s merging of the search bar and address bar annoyed me too much. I know before I start typing whether I’m going someplace I’ve already been or just searching the web. Merging the two into one interface just guarantees that half the results will be useless clutter.

        1. Smith says:

          It used to be that your websites came up first, but Google changed that so it’s always search suggestions. Even if the search suggestion is for a search you made once last week and the site is something you visit once every day.

          Hyperbole aside, there used to be a workaround, until Google shut it down. I only use Chrome as my primary because it’s better with Youtube and doesn’t overheat my computer.

          Also, because Firefox replaced the proper searchbar with that decidedly less usable nonsense that constantly tricks me into using the wrong search engine. So I either have to use an out of date Firefox so I can use the extension that brings back sensible search, or Waterfox.

          And even then, WF is inexplicably laggy when I try to type on Tumblr, so I have to – I’m not kidding here – create a local HTML file with a textbox so I could type without lag and copy-paste. I created it for distraction free-writing, but it works just as well for this.


          I miss the old days.

          1. Hector says:

            I had the same issue in Chrome (I use it for work; Firefox at home). You can fix it by going to Settings -> You and Google -> Sync and Google Services, then deselecting autocomplete.

            I imagine they moved it just so all the existing help and documentation goes obsolete.

          2. Olivier FAURE says:

            Have you tried Awesome Bar Shortcuts?
            You can use them to tell Firefox you only want a specific type of results.

    4. Echo Tango says:

      I switched to Chrome when they broke compatibility with TabMix Plus, but I switched back to Firefox at some point, for reasons I don’t remember. It makes it easier that at least one person on the team is testing things in not-Chrome by default. /shrug

    5. Liessa says:

      Yup, Firefox with Adblock+ for me. Regarding ads, I followed roughly the same progression as Shamus, but compressed into the space of a few months in the very early days of the Internet. These days I take even those “I see you’re using an adblocker” messages as a personal attack. I won’t disable it, I will never change my mind, so stop asking.

    6. Taxi says:

      I go a step further and use FF on my Android phone as well. It’s obviously the first thing people tell me to switch when I have an issue with some website, but nah. Chrome and a bunch of other Google apps are disabled on my phone and if a website doesn’t play with FF, I don’t want it.

      Btw I was working for Google when they were still fairly fresh (G+ came during that time) and it was already a monolithic megacorp. These days… Oh man.

  2. Thomas says:

    I’m still on Firefox, basically because I don’t want Google deciding web standards. But it looks like a losing battle.

    I don’t adblock consciously, but Firefox does a minimal bit of ad blocking in terms of the really bad stuff and it’s frustrating that sites will try and block me from viewing them for that. I don’t have an ad blocker, I’m part of your dwindling customer base, don’t hassle me for it. I’m not going to whitelist you, I’m just not going to go to this site again.

    I like the idea of some kind of tip jar or wallet system that will pay for a wider array of what I read than patreon. If all the news sites with subscriber walls took a small payment out of a wallet I maintain when I read an article – at the time cost of one click max – I’d be content. They produce content that I don’t consume often enough to subscribe too, but if there was a way of paying for individual articles with _zero_ hassle on my part, I wouldn’t mind.

    1. Mousazz says:

      Don’t a lot of such “I see you’re running an adblocker” pop-ups depend on Javascript? Such that, if you disable Javascript, there’s at least a 50/50 chance that you won’t be pestered about a lack of ads?

      1. Retsam says:

        There’s an even higher chance that the site just won’t work. Specifically in the ad-blocker-blocker-blocker (… etc.) space, it’s pretty common that the website doesn’t include the content at all until it’s loaded by JS (after they try to confirm that you aren’t using an adblocker), so turning of JS won’t help.

        And just in general… like 95% of sites are designed to work with JS, and just won’t work without it. A lot of sites just fundamentally could not be implemented without JS, and a good number could but it’s a lot easier and more user-friendly with JS: and constantly designing every mechanism on a website to work both with JS on and JS off is a lot of work, with little gain to the developer. (I’m not doubling my workload to cater to the 1% of users who insist on disabling JS)

        Like, an example, you can play with the comments on this site with JS disabled: normally, when you reply to someone, the comment box appears right in-line with the comment you’re replying too. But that requires[1] JS to work. So if you disable JS, instead the site reloads, and the comment section at the bottom is tweaked to indicate that you’re replying to a comment higher on the page. It’s a more annoying experience (with the reloading, and making it harder to reference the comment you’re actually replying to), and it had to be designed to work in two completely different ways.

        It makes sense that a wordpress plugin might go to that effort, but most sites, (quite reasonably IMO) will not.

        1. FluffySquirrel says:

          I like using Noscript personally. Usually a lot of trusted sites are ok enough if you just enable javascript for their domain only (and sometimes a related CDN), while leaving all the various ad related domains still locked off

          1. Len says:

            Lots of mentions of NoScript, but nobody has mentioned uMatrix yet, which is IMO the strictly better version of NoScript.

            Having the fine control to decide exactly what scripts/cookies/images/XHR will run on a particular domain is liberating. 99% of the time I don’t need the functionality, but it makes the 1% of sites that abuse trackers and ads and videos (pretty much any news site these days) much more usable.

            1. Taxi says:

              Wow that sounds good! And it seems to support mobile FF as well – gonna look into it.

        2. Echo Tango says:

          Doing things both with and without JS doesn’t just double the work, it makes some things effectively impossible. All the fancy new modals, menus that pop in from the side, collapsing sub-menus, automatic search-preview as you type…I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting.

        3. Smith says:

          Related: I use an extension in Chrome that basically says ‘don’t bug me about cookies’. A lot of sites flat out won’t work. I just get a blank page.

        4. Taxi says:

          That’s where NoScript comes in. Sadly few web sites are as elegant as Shamus’s that work as seamlessly without any external crap, but then on most sites I only want the basic content anyway. NS tends to cut down up to 95% of nonsense.

    2. Socks says:

      Firefox is my main since day 1.

      Also, I’ve switched my search engine to DuckDuckGo.

      I figure i can’t stop my data being harvested, but I may as well spread it around as diversely as I can.

      1. Yerushalmi says:

        Every few months I try switching to DuckDuckGo, but I find it to be completely useless for the vast majority of things that I want to search for. (Even Google is getting more and more useless lately, filtering its search results before delivering them to me.)

        1. Agammamon says:

          Same here. I *want* to like DDG but its results just aren’t as useful as Google’s.

          1. Wiseman says:

            I wonder I’m losing for using DDG in place of google. I like to think I get around the web just fine with it, but it annoys me that I can’t set a period for searches.

      2. tmtvl says:

        My experience with DDG is mixed. For English and Japanese searches it’s definitely good enough. For Dutch searches it tends to offer fewer useful results than a Google search for the same thing. Of course !g helps.

      3. LCF says:

        I have Firefox, DuckDuckGo, an adblocker.
        I’m fine.

        The very idea of chromium, even separated from Google, irks me to no end. Sorry Opera, you’re not worthy.
        Here’s a little something to read;

  3. ivan says:

    So, how does the tipping system work, transactionally? I know that patreon handles all your patronage as a single withdrawal from your nominated bank account, once a month. I also know they stirred up a big kerfuffle a few years ago, when they decided to change that all of a sudden without notice, but the backlash was so bad that it was reverted. But I dunno how patreon handles transactions to creators at all.

    Anyways, my point is, if you gave every website you visit, 1 cent per page, or one tenth of a cent, or something, and each of those was a seperate transaction, then the transaction fees would be absurd, so I can’t imagine it works that way. So, how does it work?

    1. evilmrhenry says:

      You earn tokens by watching browser-provided ads, (can be disabled) or by adding money manually. As you look at webpages, the browser tallies up visits. (They’re careful to point out that this is only stored locally.) At the end of the month, the browser does a Patreon-style payment to the sites you’ve visited, which can be modified by you.

      As long as you’ve disabled browser ads, I think this basically turns into Patreon but run by your browser. Also, it’s yet another provider for people to sign up for, and there’s a network effect in place. It’s the sort of thing where if Brave was the majority browser, and people actually used the system, it would be great, but if they only have 1% of the market, no websites will sign up, which means the system won’t really work.

  4. Hey I’m reading this in Brave right now!
    Yea the things they say sound nice but they’ve been involved in way too many controversies already for any of it to be true.

    As for Google I’m 100% sure they were never “not evil”. Its just that as time went on more and more people became aware of how they operate and the only thing that’s changed is the public’s perception of them. Its just that they’ve become more confident about openly screwing people over since they established themselves as a proper monopoly.

  5. Lee says:

    I’m also on Brave. My son convinced me to switch a year or two ago.

    You mentioned you haven’t signed up with the user tip options… Did you sign your site up for receiving tips? Trick question, as Brave already tells me you haven’t, or at least haven’t “verified” yet.

  6. tmtvl says:

    I use Falkon for most of my browsing, whitelisting as much as I feel comfortable in the built-in adblocker (I prefer a blacklist TBH).
    Unfortunately Falkon seems to have some issues with video decoding, so for videos I’m using Firefox with Privacy Badger.

    I’ve also played around with various other browsers (Qutebrowser, Eolie, Otter Browser, Waterfox,…); but until either EWW or Nomad (I love Emacs keybindings) have Privacy Badger and allow me to do mod tasks on Twitch I’ll stick to my current set-up.

  7. SeekerOfThePath says:

    Nowadays, a surprisingly high number of web browsers today are built on top of Chromium (the open-source part of Chrome): Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave (that’s why it feels so similar to Chrome), and many more. Basically whoever wants to create their own web browser, they just reskin Chromium and put a “privacy” or “performance” label on top.

    The only two major browsers I’m aware of that do not follow suit are Firefox and Safari. And supposedly it is Firefox that is the privacy guru nowadays.

    That aside, the biggest concern with Chromium I’ve been reading about is not privacy (because open source project would never have such problems, right?), but the web browser market share Google controls this way. Quick search shows the numbers for PC & mobile to be: Chrome et al >70%, Safari ~16%, Firefox ~4% (for PC only, swap Safari and Firefox). Which means Google is getting to the point where they could dictate web standards (eg. AMP framework)

    Finally, the main web browser I use is Firefox with AdBlocker Ultimate (no ads), DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials (no trackers), and Facebook Container (no Facebook) add-ons. And I keep Chrome around for stuff that still requires Flash.

    1. zackoid says:

      Yep. I use Firefox because it’s a good, fast browser, but also because the way things are trending we’re gonna end up with IE6 all over again.

    2. Echo Tango says:

      I really hope AMP dies. Using a restrictive subset of web-tech would be a bad enough trade-off for performance, but the fact that all your traffic goes through Google-operated servers is worse. Like, how do you do analytics and click-tracking? Do your users still see a Google-branded URL? According to a quick search, these are still problems.

    3. Leeward says:

      Chromium is a fork of khtml, which is what safari is built on. Ever since Microsoft switched to a chromium fork, it’s just the 2.

      I’ve been using chromium since it came out. I find it consistently more performant than firefox. Though I switched to firefox from Mozilla when it was still called phoenix.

      1. tmtvl says:

        khtml, which begat webkit, which begat webengine.

  8. Zaxares says:

    I’m still on Chrome, as it gets the job done and hasn’t been too onerous to use. Now that you mention it though, in the last year or so there HAVE been some incidents where the browser tab seems to freeze up entirely; for instance, I could be halfway through writing a post and then suddenly the text stops appearing, only for it to all appear in a rush a few seconds later. I was never able to pin down why that happened, and it happened infrequently enough that it didn’t seem a big enough issue to spend hours troubleshooting it (if I could eve replicate it), but after reading this article maybe that’s what’s been happening.

  9. John says:

    I use Firefox, mostly because it’s the default browser for all of the Linux distros that I use. It’s fine, I guess, but I tend to think that about all the web browsers I use. I’m not a power-user. I don’t have opinions about tabs. I wouldn’t know a plug-in from a . . . I don’t even know enough about web browsers to finish that sentence. I have no idea what people are talking about when they say that Firefox’s updates break things. I mean, I’m sure it’s a real phenomenon, but it’s alien to my experience.

    Not too long ago, I did experiment a little with Chromium, aka open-source Chrome. I’ve got a 2-in-1 notebook with a touch screen that can fold into a sort of a really heavy tablet. I can’t right-click on things when the notebook’s in that mode, which is inconvenient when I want to open a link in a new tab. Chromium allows pressing-and-holding in place of right-clicking. However, I ultimately determined that my notebook’s tablet mode is not worth the bother–it gets pretty hot that way–and I so I didn’t re-install Chromium the last time I installed a new distro.
    I don’t miss it.

    Also, I heard somewhere that the Steam client is some sort of Chromium derivative. Is that right? The Steam client is awful. It’s probably unfair of me, but Chromium unavoidably tainted by the association.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Steam’s updated a few of the pages, like the main Library tab, and…discussions? Either way, I’m pretty sure it’s not the underlying browser that’s the problem, but the way those pages were built. Like, I can see the shiny new fiddly bits on buttons and menus, and tell that someone spent some time re-styling those pages. The ones that are shiny and new-looking, also basically don’t have problems like the older stuff does. (Failure to load, or partially load, images don’t load, page hangs for 10 seconds, etc, etc…)

      1. John says:

        Failure to load, or partially load, images don’t load, page hangs for 10 seconds, etc, etc . . .

        Yep. That’s exactly my experience with Steam. The store pages and the library usually work well enough but a lot of the rest is slow, slow, slow.

  10. TSi says:

    I’ve always been on Firefox since it came out except for a few instances back then where Chrome had more features and was more stable a decade ago before the switch to 64 bits but I never liked it’s interface. As a web dev, I also use Chrome for working reasons (compatibility checks) so I guess I don’t really understand the finer details of what is so good about it that would make someone prefer using it to any other browser. I can understand the google ecosystem reasoning especially with their weird app store but I’ve never felt like it was worth it or that I was missing out on something by using Firefox. It has enough customization options to make it appeal to everyone and the open source mindset of Mozilla just makes it that nicer.

  11. Gabriel says:

    I’ve been rocking Vivaldi recently.

    I was an Opera user back when you had to buy it, and… it did everything I wanted back then. Tabs worked the way I wanted, it had mouse gestures, it was fast (for a while,) and it worked on Windows, Linux, and even BSD.

    I’ve always had to customize Firefox endlessly to get it close to what I want – and what happens when one of those 25 extensions just to get my browser to work goes rogue/gets bought up by a malicious actor?

    I was using Chrome starting when JavaScript-heavy websites like Google Reader were just too slow in Opera’s JS engine. But now Vivaldi’s here, and it works out of the box exactly how I expect my browser to work, plus a few new features like tab stacking that I never wanted to install an extension to play with.

    1. tmtvl says:

      Have you tried Otter Browser? It’s inspired by pre-Chromium Opera. It may be worth a look.

  12. Dreadjaws says:

    I still use Chrome mostly out of habit. As you say, switching browsers is a pain nowadays, and I’ve avoided it because of that, but yeah, I’ve noticed Chrome has gotten into some pretty egregious slowdowns in the last few months. It’s not particularly noticeable on my PC, but on my laptop it becomes outright unusable in anything from 20 minutes to a couple of hours. It’s entirely random, but at some point I feel like I’m trying to run an Unreal 4 engine game with a 10-year-old on-board Intel graphics card, and it’s entirely unpredictable when it’s going to happen.

    I have Firefox installed on my laptop, but that one is unusably slow right from the start for whatever reason. I’ve tried reinstalling it but I’ve had no success in making it any faster. I obviously have Edge installed on my PC by virtue of having Windows 10 installed, but that one is the “final option” browser. Not going anywhere near it unless I literally have no other choice.

    I’m going to try Brave, at least on my laptop, to see how well it goes. Or I might just get one of my old PC magazine CDs and see if I manage to get Netscape running. Can’t possibly work any worse.

  13. rabs says:

    My main browser is Firefox ESR with NoScript (no need for ad blocker), Tridactyl (vim like UI) and Cookie Autodelete (I keep a few and trash everything else).
    My secondary browser is Firefox Nightly (alpha branch) without addons, for wiped clean short sessions, mostly to check websites that don’t behave properly.
    And Chrome for some “webapps” that only work with it, also for wiped clean short sessions.

    So no ad blocker, but I always blocked or forced “click to play” client side dynamic content (java applets, flash, javascript, videos…).
    They are most used for fancy web design I don’t need, or throw ads and crap at my face.

    I often have to whitelist local JS though, as some CMS and websites require it to display anything.
    Or I switch to Firefox “reader view”: it only displays main content and embedded pictures, and don’t get side tracked my JS dependencies that block rendering.

  14. Moridin says:

    I use Pale Moon. It’s essentially Firefox 28 with security patches and some other updates under the hood(it’s also 64-bit by default, even on Windows). No Australis, no Firefox Hello and none of the other crap Mozilla has been trying to push in the years since the split. Apart from WebAssembly, I can’t say that there are any features in more modern browsers that I’d like.

    1. Freddo says:

      Pale Moon is my main browser. I use Brave as my secondary browser (mainly so I can easily have two google accounts active at the same time, a private account and a public account).

      1. Rob says:

        Does Pale Moon support Firefox’s Multi-Account Containers? That’s the browser feature I can’t live without anymore. By long-pressing the new tab button you can create a tab in what is basically an entirely different Firefox profile with its own saved logins, cookies, etc; but unlike a separate profile you can have tabs from many different containers open at one time, and you don’t need to reinstall and setup all of your addons for each container. It’s great when you have to juggle personal and work accounts on the same computer.

        1. Liessa says:

          Wow, those are really useful. Thanks! Now I can stay logged in to YouTube, where it actually makes sense, without sharing my whole life with Google.

          Another thing I like about Firefox is that it allows you to disable all media autoplay in the config settings (though annoyingly they keep changing the settings with each update, so I have to keep going back to about:config to mess around with them). Since forced autoplay is something that provokes me to near-hysterical rage, this is a must for me.

    2. Steve C says:

      I used to use Palemoon. I no longer do and cannot recommend it. It has problems and the developer is an ass. Both on a policy level and on dealing with individual users.

      I’m currently using Waterfox. I do not like it enough to recommend it. This is the first I’m hearing about Brave. I wish that description of Brave appealed to me.

      1. SebWanderer says:

        If you don’t mind using a Chromium-based browser, Brave is a great option. Both for privacy and speed.

  15. Groboclown says:

    My biggest concern for a web browser is security. I’m running Firefox with NoScript, uBlock Origin, A cookie manager, privacy badger, and an ad blocker. NoScript is one of those “must haves” which I haven’t found an equivalent for in Chrome. I do like Chrome’s security model – separating tabs, graphical rendering, and management by process – as that adds another layer of protection against attacks. Both browsers, though, have extremely strong security teams.

    1. Hector says:

      I see you are a Firefox of culture as well.

    2. tmtvl says:

      If you’re not using HTTPS Everywhere yet, it may be up your alley.

  16. Joshua says:

    One of my favorite YouTube Content Creator’s was talking about all of the ad nonsense on his channel not too long ago:

    I personally use Firefox, and recently ran into an annoying issue. I noticed that I occasionally had difficulty with using the site for my company’s bank (Frost Bank), especially when I had to change the date ranges on anything. I do a bank reconciliation every day, so if there’s any time when I need to change the default date from yesterday (such as after a holiday), I would run into issues. It would allow me to select new date ranges, but the “Ok” and “Cancel” buttons would be missing so there would be no way to confirm any changes.

    To make a long story short, when I called the bank’s website department to see if it was something like a permissions issue, it turned out that their site is just not compatible with Firefox, just Internet Explorer or Chrome. Is this something anyone else has run into? It’s not like Firefox is some hip new startup.

    1. Chad Miller says:

      Yes, at this point Chromium (what Chrome is built upon) is popular enough that some companies have just stopped bothering with anything else. MS Edge was its own thing for awhile until it switched to a Chromium-based version specifically because they got sick of trying to maintain compatibility with sites that were too dependent on the current state of Chrome.

    2. neminem says:

      I haven’t personally (not recently, anyway), but it also does make some sense – Firefox used to be big, but they really botched things over the past few years. I had been a Firefox loyalist since they were Netscape – I basically grew up with it – but they made me switch to Chrome a few years ago for a number of reasons, and I get the impression that’s been happening a lot. According to Wikipedia, only ~8% of people on non-mobile are using Firefox, actually *less* than the number of people using Safari. And who optimizes their site for Safari?

      1. Joshua says:

        Good to know, thanks!

    3. King Marth says:

      The great thing about standards is there’s so many to choose from.

      Plus side, sounds like your bank does support Chrome. Had to keep Internet Explorer around for a long time to manage government and bank websites which couldn’t handle anything else.

    4. Nimrandir says:

      While my wife was working from home, she had to use Edge on our laptop because her employer’s websites claimed to require it. If Chrome had been installed, it probably would have worked, but we decided it wasn’t worth an additional download just to check.

    5. SidheKnight says:

      “Is this something anyone else has run into?”

      Yes. This is exactly what made me switch from Firefox to Brave (incompatibility with my bank’s Home Banking).

      And according to a colleague of mine, it’s pretty much for the reason Chad Miller suggested. “As long as it works on Chrome and the latest IE version (now Edge), it’s fine”. I can’t confirm this, though.

  17. MelTorefas says:

    I use Chrome for my personal gmail account, my google voice number/calls, and watching video content. I use Firefox for my formal gmail account and all of my other web browsing. I find sites generally more readable on Firefox, and chrome completely lacks a top menu with bookmarks. I have a hundreds of meticulously organized bookmarks, so I find Firefox far more usable in that regard. Firefox’s interface is also more customizable, I think.

    I used to basically only use Firefox, but a few years back they completely changed their system and a lot of addons broke, including the ability to make or receive calls via google voice. I don’t know if they ever fixed that because I switched to using that account on Chrome and now I am fine with it. Using two separate browsers also makes using two separate google accounts easier. And I really do feel like video content plays a bit better on Chrome, but that could be my imagination.

    I tried Brave once, but only very briefly. It all seemed weird and with the controversies they had I just said “heck with it”. Not that google is controversy free, but, eh.

  18. Orillion says:

    I use Vivaldi because, despite nearly every website on the internet STILL being optimized for a 4:3 ratio (or a phone held vertically, which works out to the same or thinner proportions in practice, it’s the only browser I’m aware of that (without addons) lets you use some of that wasted side space by putting your tabs there.

    It also has this nifty side-panel thing and gesture control, lots of other customizability, and while it is built atop a foundation of Chromium, it’s faster than actual Chrome in practice.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I usually just have two windows open side by side. For example, Shamus’ site reads very well on the left, with some Wikipedia article on the right. :)

      As for why websites are made skinny, I think it’s to do with readability. Like, it gets difficult to not lose your place reading a long line, or when you go from the end of a line on the right, and come back to the start on the left. Now, theoretically that’s a problem for the reader to solve, by resizing their windows and/or font sizes, but websites usually target the broadest audience, and many people wouldn’t even have a clue about how to do that…

    2. tmtvl says:

      I love 4:3 ratio screens, additional vertical space is nice.

  19. Ninety-Three says:

    A built-in adblocker! How times have changed. I can remember being opposed to ad blockers on principle. In fact, my position evolved quite a bit over the years…

    The big thing that shifted my stance was learning just how little creators make off ads. Video preroll ads for Youtube, one of the more lucrative styles of ad, make a fraction of a penny per view. If you adblock your way through every one of a creator’s videos, then at an output of two videos a week you might end up owing them twenty five cents of revenue in a year. This is highway robbery and it is the height of selfishness for anyone to waste people’s time like that. If they were making, I dunno, minimum wage off me then I’d be a lot more sympathetic to the “creators gotta eat” argument but we’re talking about rates that work out to thirty cents per hour! Fuck every single person who imposes that on their audience, I’m not going to respect anyone who respects my time that little.

    1. tmtvl says:

      One dollar on Patreon/SubscribeStar/whatever basically equals thousands of views without adblock.

  20. neminem says:

    Weird. I’d used Firefox since it was Netscape, and only switched to Chrome a few years ago (maybe… 2014ish?) because *Firefox* went from what you described at the beginning, to the bloated ugly horrible mess it is today. I was super sad about that. Still use it as my primary browser at work, because I like its javascript debugger the most (though I’m also still bitter they ripped out the previous javascript debugger I liked more, a few years ago, and replaced it with a worse one, but still the best of the three, last I checked.)

    At home I switched to Chrome a few years ago, though, and while its needlessly overly protective extension model that won’t let me alter extensions even if I turn on every possible developer option is occasionally irritating, I haven’t had *any* performance issues (which I can’t say about Firefox; IE/Edge is obviously out of the question for all sorts of reasons). At one point a few weeks ago, I briefly had four *windows* open, one with about a dozen tabs, a couple others with a couple each, and then my main one with about 20, several of which were open to Youtube (not actively playing videos, obviously, but still, Youtube). Granted, my machine’s pretty beefy, but still.

    I’ve heard about Brave, never bothered with it though – I’m huge into the idea of passive beermoney, and I’ve tried a a couple other adblockers like that that promise to split the profits with you “eventually”… after a few of those never actually graduated to letting you actually cash out (they were always “coming soon” until eventually it was replaced with “sorry, we’re terminating the service”), I’m burned out at this point – not gonna try any more until they’re *proven*.

    Completely agree with you about the evolution of opinions on adblockers, though. It is no longer really a choice, ads have just gotten too awful. Don’t even really care at all about sites tracking me, but I do care about flashing, screen-eating, loud videos, not to mention the occasional attempt to infect my machine with malware.

  21. ccesarano says:

    I’m considering switching back over to FireFox since they’ve really stepped up their game with competition from Chrome. However, I’m still kind of stuck in Chrome’s ecosystem, and that I’m a front-end web developer by trade means I’m basically building for Chrome as it is. There are also, admittedly, plenty of good dev tools in Chrome, though the same can be said of FireFox.

    I finally added an Ad Blocker as well, though mostly for YouTube. It worked perfectly for a while, but Google seems to be trying to combat the ad blockers as now ads will show up with a PlayBack error for a few seconds before moving onto the real video. Still better than an annoying advertisement.

  22. Bubble181 says:

    Just as an FYI, Chrome offers the “show as on mobile” functionality as well. Press F12 (dev tools) then select “Toggle device toolbar”. Alternatively, Ctrl-shift-M should work too, apparently. The menu on top then allows you to switch between a variety of phones and tablets.

    having said that, I still use Chrome almost exclusively, becuase while it annoys me, it hasn’t quite risen to the point of being horrible enough that I want to go through the pain of changing. With my phone being Android and using Google Calendar, GMail, Google Drive, etc, I’m fairly well-entrenched in the Google surroundings which means it gets harder and harder to switch.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Firefox _also_ has buttons in their dev-tools, for toggling between different device-sizes! ;)

  23. C.J.Geringer says:

    I use opera.

    Less RAM intensive then chrome, plus has a built-in VPN, and I generally like the way it works.

  24. Paul Spooner says:

    I use Chrome at home and for personal stuff. At work I leave the default browser settings alone though, so that Internet explorer or Edge or whatever comes up when I click links that I didn’t intend to, or want to visit vendor sites or do research or whatever. That way I can close the whole browser when I’m done and still have my e-mail open in Chrome.

    As for having tons of media tabs open? I literally never do that. My Chrome window is Gmail, Outlook (Yes, I still use my hotmail account), and maybe a document or article or calendar or whatever. I never visit sites with aggressive adverts, so I never run an ad blocker.

    And as far as privacy is concerned? I consider the internet to be a public space. If I don’t want someone knowing something, I don’t put it on the internet.

  25. Retsam says:

    I think my view on ad blocking is probably following a similar trajectory to Shamus, but I’m still a few steps back. I’m at the point of “having an ad blocker, but one that has to be manually enabled on when I visit a site”.

    Yeah, the current situation of ads really sucks… but I also think a big reason that they suck because of adblockers.

    It used to be that a website could run a few unobtrusive ads and be reasonably profitable, despite generally lower traffic volume compared to today. What changed? Well, ads are worth much less money today. So to compensate, sites are running more and more ads to make up for the lost revenue.

    But why are ads worth less money today? I’m pretty sure it’s because the reality is that most of the internet blocks ads. I’m much less willing to pay you to put my ad on your site if I know that only like 20% of your users are actually going to see the ads. And it’s a vicious cycle: more people block ads, ads become worth less, companies are more aggressive about ads to compensate.

    It’s really tempting to just chalk this up to corporate greed and just brush it off with like “why don’t companies just run fewer ads and make less money then?” but in a lot of cases, I think these websites are legitimately struggling to make ends meet. From my outsider perspective, the Escapist seems to be a good example of this sort of site that, despite having pretty high quality content, and being a prominent website for a popular hobby, yet consistently be struggling to stay afloat.

    And the potential collapse I think could be a lot worse than just turning the clock back to 1997, but a fundamental end to idea that everything on the internet is free and open by default. And that could be catastrophic, and not just for the obvious “I have to pay to use websites that used to be free” reasons. We’re already struggling with polarization caused in part by people only reading news stories that are biased towards their particular world-view, and self-constructed echo chambers. How much worse does that get when the echo-chambers are not just self-constructed, but enforced by pay walls?

    Obviously, the whole situation is a chicken-and-egg sort of problem – and certainly unscrupulous ad practices were a big factor – but today’s situation with regard to advertisement was entirely predictable, and arguably avoidable. Maybe the 1990’s era model of “a couple mild ads and you’re rolling in profit” was never sustainable for other reasons; but it really feels to me that we killed the golden goose because it was a little bit annoying at times.

    Like I said, I’m largely following Shamus’s trajectory; so I’ll probably give up one of these days. But I still can’t shake the feeling that by ad blocking I’m contributing to the problem, not solving it.

    1. Xeorm says:

      I’d really guess too that a lot of the issues with ad-based revenues come from a misunderstanding of how to appeal to the audience. The ad companies seem to be concerned about stuff like click-through rate, even though basic internet security has you never clicking ads. Or weirdness where you buy one thing on amazon and suddenly you’re bombarded with similar ads for the same items. It’s like they don’t understand basic buying habits.

    2. Echo Tango says:

      From my personal experience, I think the more annoying ads are because the average person has to be screamed at to take notice of something. I can’t ignore ads, so I rely on a blocker, but my brother has a different temperment, and just ignores ads by sheer force of lackadaisical attitude. Like, ads on radio, TV, movies, etc, all have their volume cranked up compared to the programs they’re attached to – IMO the average person just won’t listen unless they’re (metaphorically) being grabbed by the shirt-collar to pay attention. The internet got started by quiet nerds, but now the ads are targeting everyone else. :)

    3. Steve C says:

      I disagree. Because no individual or business ever says “Well, that’s enough money. I’m satiated.” It both is and isn’t corporate greed. It is just the way of the world. Ads were always going to be more complex and aggressive overtime regardless of user activity. If anything, the lower price for ads made them less prevalent. For example: This blog. Shamus determined the tiny amount he was earning from them made it not worth dealing with.

      1. tmtvl says:

        Companies are going through the issues nations went through. “We need to make sure we keep surviving so we must make sure we earn/control as much as we can so we can keep surviving even if a disaster happens.”

    4. The Puzzler says:

      I thought the reason ads are worth less money these days was that most users have learned from experience never to click on an ad.

    5. LCF says:

      I’d say ten to fifteen years ago, ads were just as bad and annoying and aggressive.
      I feel it did not change much, rather we changed, as our patience ran thin from abuse and we accessed the tools to alleviate that burden.
      I took to adblockers when Youtube got too greedy and decided to insert video ads, instead of being satisfied with banners and small bodies of text.
      “Don’t worry, it’s just one from times to times.” fast became “Have a video ad before every video! Hey what’s that? You’ve been watching the same file for 20 mn? HAVE AN AD MOTHERFUCKER!” . These clowns deadass stop what you’re watching mid-word to pass an ad.
      They could have levered theit dominant position to extoll more money per ad, especially from the big companies which could afford it. They chose to hurt us all instead, with more advertisement. Let their greed be forever remembered.

  26. Corvair says:

    Currently, I use Pale Moon, a fork of Firefox. It’s not the most slick or fast browser, but it’s fast enough, a and relatively few people use it, so the potential for it to go “creepy” is rather small. Basic addons run on it – like NoScript or UBlockOrigin, and that’s all I really need.

    It does have issues with a select few sites, like youtube – the site causes the whole browser to hiccup for a few seconds whenever a new video loads, and displaying the chat actually makes the entire browser sluggish, which makes me believe those google engineers who claim they made their sites intentionally behave like ass to soft-force people onto Chrome.

    For those occasions (e.g., GOG occasionally breaks some functionalities until either they fix their code, or PM pushes an update), I still keep Firefox around, but I’m considering switching to something less greedy for my personal info.

    Also: I used to be someone who got paid from ad money, and I switched to blockers years ago, because it frankly is a vaccination for your PC: Not doing it is completely irresponsible. Doesn’t even matter that the revenue that’s lost to adblocking is something like a dollar a year per person.

    1. Steve C says:

      Sadly the developer of Palemoon is at minimum unpleasant if not full on creepy.

    2. Ira says:

      I remember Pale Moon used to handle YouTube fine, but a month or so ago Google stopped letting you disable Polymer any more. The Polymer interface is what Pale Moon finds so hard to handle, and it’s uglier and less convenient than the old one to boot, so…


      Damn it, Google…

  27. Christopher Dwight Wolf says:

    Nothing really deep, use Firefox with Ublock Origin. When I run into a video that gets upset because of the adblocker I just copy paste the website over to Chrome.

    I am interested in the Noscript people are bringing up. Does it disrupt a lot of websites?

    1. Corvair says:

      How noticeable NoScript is depends on the sites you’re visiting. 20sided, for example, functions perfectly with NoScript, for example (which speaks to its quality, if you ask me).

      Other sites do not even load properly until you whitelist some of their server dependencies in NoScript. I would say that it takes some getting used to (e.g. getting a feel for which addresses you need/want to allow to be able to use a site, without just allowing everything on it), but it also gives you a really good feel for just how much information siphoning is going on over the web, and how interconnected many sites are. There’s news web sites that try to run scripts from thirty different other domains just on their landing page alone!

      1. MikeK says:

        Agreed, and once you get the hang of it, there’s usually a small subset of sources which you need to allow to get the basic functionality of a site.

        I’m actually amazed at how terrible some sites look without all the scripts blocked (in terms of added garbage, videos popping up in the middle of text blocks, etc.).

  28. Nimrandir says:

    We use Firefox on our computers, because I found the about:mozilla pages funny back in grad school. On my phone and tablet, I use Chrome, because my devices are cheap and short on storage.

    I don’t have much else to add to the discussion, as I’m not a power-user by any definition. I might never have noticed the tab slowdown since I almost never have more than two tabs open at once. Heck, I normally only have two tabs when I need to access a Moodle course and a homework platform simultaneously. Students will stop by my office with questions, and I have to suppress a cringe when I see over a dozen icons across the top of the browser window.

    1. Joshua says:

      While I stated above that I use Firefox, I forgot to mention that I use Chrome on my phones. My deep, research-based methodology behind that was using the default software installed on the phone.

      1. tmtvl says:

        I use Firefox on my phone because for a while I ran a degooglified custom ROM and FF was the best available option.

  29. Geebs says:

    Safari, because I mostly browse on my phone or tablet these days.

    It’s probably not going to last (because Apple are moving into Services), but I reckon a few hundred monetary units at the time of device purchase is worth not having to waste time worrying about what my data is being used for, over the next five years.

    I also don’t have to worry too hard about a company the size of Apple getting taken over for their user data. Only the other month I had to bin my FitBit after I heard that Google bought them out.

  30. Narkis says:

    I switched from Firefox to Chrome about a decade ago. Earlier this year I switched back, abandoning Chrome for much of the same reasons. The switch was a bit of a pain, but I’m satisfied with Firefox now. I’m curious what are the problems others have with it, I haven’t really ran into any.

  31. Yerushalmi says:

    For many years I stuck with Firefox because of the LiveClick extension. Then Mozilla changed how extensions worked and made it no longer compatible. I’m still using Firefox, mostly from inertia (and also because Google’s intrusiveness creeps the heck out of me). But I’d love to hear if anybody knows of a browser that supports LiveClick-style functionality…

    1. Yerushalmi says:

      As for ad-blocking, I use uBlock Origin, but in blacklist mode. Ads are enabled by default, but I disable them on a site-by-site basis when somebody uses them in a particularly annoying way.

  32. Hector says:

    I wanted to make a joke posts of “Ah, I see you are a Firefox of culture as well.” Then I decided that would be WILDLY obnoxious. Still wanted to though!

    1. The Puzzler says:

      You, or someone with the same name, did make such a post. I didn’t get the reference. I could try to look it up on KnowYourMeme but it would probably demand that I disable my adblocker…

      1. Hector says:

        It’s not really reference, just a rather silly line from a rather obscure anime. People just kept sing it as a joke to imply agreement in an un-necessarily complex fashion.

  33. Karma The Alligator says:

    On the performance side, Chrome began driving me crazy a few months ago when individual tabs would hang for several seconds at a time. I ran into this a lot when scrolling media-heavy subreddits. Sometimes the page would stall and the entire Chrome interface – including switching tabs – would become gradually more unresponsive until I restarted it. My computer is pretty beefy, and I’ve never run into these slowdowns before. Performance seems nice and smooth outside of Chrome, which leads me to believe the problem is with Chrome and not the hardware / OS.

    Been getting that, too, and from what I could find searching online, it’s due to an unstable internet connection, so Chrome just freezes every time your connection drops, however quickly it’s back up, even if you’re not trying to load anything.

  34. Thomas says:

    Thanks to this post I’ve just discovered a Firefox extension that automatically skips sponsorship spiels in Youtube. That might be my biggest internet quality of life improvement this year. (Also “OneTab” that puts all your tabs into a list if you’ve got too many open)

    1. Nimrandir says:

      The important thing is: do you still get the reminders to hit the bell? We obviously can’t survive without those!

      1. Thomas says:

        It even has an option to filter out those. I figured that might make a video jump and weird though.

        You can get rid of intros, credits, self-promotion, sponsors and call to actions, at which point some videos start looking like swiss cheese. There’s not much left to watch!

        1. Nimrandir says:

          I could see watching a video or two with all that stuff removed, just to see what’s left. Some enterprising creator might even be able to make a video out of comparing big-name ‘content to promotion’ ratios!

  35. Nentuaby says:

    I strongly recommend NOT using Brave, unfortunately. The company pushing it has already done several scuzzy things. For example, when you use their “tip jar” thing, for quite a while they were not telling you whether or not the creator you were trying to tip was signed up to actually receive the payment; then they’d simply keep the “orphan” tips for themselves. I think they fixed that after a LOT of outcry last year, but… It’s not a good precedent.

    Also they keep running experiments with layering their OWN ads over the ads they block.

    1. SidheKnight says:

      I don’t use the tip jar thing, so no problem for me there.

      As for their own adds, it’s also optional. I don’t see any ads because I have not opted in to their ad program.

      And the browsing speed advantage is noticeable. If it wasn’t, I’d be using Firefox probably, since I don’t use any Chromium-specific addons.

  36. SidheKnight says:

    I use Brave, and recommend it.

    It’s really fast because it blocks ads natively, before they have a chance to load. And is very focused on privacy.
    I also use DuckDuckGo for 95% of my searches. Screw Google.

    BTW, the bitcoin-based tip jar service is completely optional. I don’t use it.

    That said, Firefox is a good option too. Its what I use on my phone.

  37. EOW says:

    I’m using firefox with duckduckgo and so far i feel pretty good about it.
    Might not be the epitome of privacy since i do have an account, but so far i can’t complain, the pc stays clean and i can easily block annoying cookies.
    It helps that in europe they are passing laws to reduce corporation powers especially on the internet, so usually i can pretty much negate any non essential cookies… althought what “essential” means is spotty at best

  38. Alice says:

    I’ve been using Vivaldi for the last few years. Chromium-based, with lots of nifty little features like tab stacking and tiling, mouse gesture support, plus endless customization options. They’ve made a mobile version a while ago, but I haven’t switched on mobile yet because most of what I like about it is PC-only.

  39. AndrewCC says:

    Actually, Shamus, Microsoft Edge…

    I’ll show myself out.

    (But really Edge is pretty good, and MS has a better reputation than Google these days, imho).

    1. Kylroy says:

      It’s almost as if being the default browser of people who are barely technically literate shapes development in a way that is unappealing to power users.

      1. AndrewCC says:

        You wouldn’t be under the illusion that Chrome and Edge target different demographics, now, would you?
        Cause that would be hillariously wrong.

    2. raifield says:

      To be honest I’m using the “new” Microsoft Edge and…it’s fine. I replaced Opera with it and other than losing Opera’s tile-based startup page I can’t see anything wrong here.

  40. noga says:

    I tried linux in a dual-boot configuration for a while, I wanted to give a chance for the apps that came with the distribution and not force what I was used to with windows. So it happened for a while that I used Chrome on Windows and Firefox on Linux. After a while I started to like firefoxes features and performance and it was just more conventient to move to it completly. This, and I also gone a similar way with regards to google as shamous from when I moved from firefox to chrome back in the day.

  41. Lino says:

    Chrome (which also has the function of seeing how pages look on mobile devices). For the longest time, I was a loyal user of Firefox, but they lost me once they began trying to become Google. That, and it was getting very slow and unwieldy.

    I switched to Brave, and loved the speed, but there wasn’t an easy way to migrate my mobile bookmarks and logins from Firefox. So then, I switched to Chrome (which already had some of my mobile bookmarks), and I’ve been pretty happy with it. It’s got a lot of add-ons, and I’ve got everything just the way I like it.

    Also, one of the things I didn’t like about Brave was how pushy they were about their cryptocurrency which they use to pay sites and creators.

  42. Ramsus says:

    I’ve been on Firefox since…. Netscape stopped being relevant. My history goes something like Personal Computers weren’t a thing everyone had yet, AOL, Netscape, Firefox. I know I have briefly used microsoft browsers… but only long enough to go “I hate this” or “this is the only thing installed and I’m just using it to download Firefox”.
    I’ve briefly tried Chrome but didn’t like it and saw no reason to switch. And my most memorable/first experience with it was loading it up and it asking me to install a bunch of stuff which broke my computer.

    I’ve been using Adblock Plus and NoScript for years now. Basically as soon as I became aware those things existed. This has probably saved me from an unknowable amount of computer problems, let me browse the web without constant worrying, and made my experience of the internet be so almost completely add free that it was news to me just a couple years ago that youtube is basically the same kind of advertisement hassle cable TV is for other people. Having avoided those kinds of adds for years now I’ve probably saved at least an entire total year of my life not spend with that hassle and now any time when I’m in a situation where I have to (at someone else’s home or such) I’m just going “UUUUUUGH WHY!?” internally.

    I just whitelist/unblock scripts as needed/where appropriate for decent site advertisements that aren’t obtrusive/worrying…. but that’s basically stopped being a thing for the last few years as people have seemingly moved on. Maybe not youtube people, but there’s basically no way I’m dealing with that level of hassle to support my favorite content creators when there are other viable means of doing so. And really just about every content creator I watch either clearly already gets most of their support from patreon or sponsers (with in video advertisements that I can just skip past if they aren’t putting in effort to be entertaining about it).

  43. Asdasd says:

    God, that was my exact progression as well. Except now I have to manually check up on my parent’s devices every 2 months to make sure Microsoft hasn’t reinstituted its Edge malware as the default browser again.

    A friend recommended Brave to me a couple of months ago. I always like to keep a spare browser, so I downloaded it and gave it a poke-around, but I got a weird vibe from it (it was clear there were some kind of monetisation shenanigans going on) and uninstalled it pretty quickly.

  44. Agammamon says:

    So, serious question here. I use Firefox primarily and only use Chrome for a single purpose – it allows streaming to my Chromecasts across the house. And I do that rarely.

    So, is there sufficient advantage to Chrome to be worth switching? If so, what? Firefox, at least, doesn’t chew up RAM.

  45. Decius says:

    If you want my assistance with advertising to me: Don’t try to follow my browsing patterns and show me ads for the things that I just bought- I literally already have what I want.

    Notice when I’m looking for something, and provide me, at that time, with someone who has done a comparative analysis of the options in that field and can give me a feature-by-feature comparison, along with affiliate links to purchase stuff. If the internet can produce a single source that I trust to be honest and not biased towards the highest-paying affiliate, then I only need one. In reality, I’d prefer two independent biased sources so that I can cross-check their lies.

    1. Agammamon says:

      Gee, that sounds like a lot of work.

      But I see you just bought a couch – so here are 50 adds for couches for you to watch.

      1. Decius says:

        Also, it should be pretty simple to single out groups of people that don’t menstruate, and not try to sell them better menstrual products.

  46. Pink says:

    I use brave on mobile, and waterfox on desktop except for a couple sites that only work properly on chrome for whatever reason.

  47. Erik says:

    I’ve been on Firefox for a very long time, and have stayed on it because some of my favorite addons didn’t have Chrome equivalents, at least not for long enough that I stopped thinking about switching. (My wife uses primarily Chrome, so on our shared media computer in the living room we each have our own browser with our own accounts and bookmarks, which is handy.) Most of my addons are irrelevant here, as they’re aimed at media and image interaction, but there are a few I refuse to live without.

    My primary addons for the ad/privacy front are the built-in container system to isolate all Facebook stuff, NoScript which I use aggressively, and the EFF Privacy Badger app for cleaning up any remaining cookie issues. Between all of that, I suspect I have an anomalous and hard to track profile online, as most of the tracking sites are forbidden and those that aren’t tend to only work on particular sites.

    But I have to say: aggressive NoScript use makes everything load SO much faster. When the huge mass of unoptimized libraries and trash videos provided by the ad vendors is completely blocked, pages load in reasonable time. When I go to my iPad, even though Safari supports some level of ad blocking these days it still takes painfully long to load things.

  48. Chris says:

    I use firefox and run privacy badger, ublock origin, noscript, https everywhere and noscript. I have chrome installed when something doesnt work because it is a mess of adblock detection, javascript detection, and other weird stuff that doesnt work. It saves me a lot of headaches as i dont have to worry about ads, stuff that moves around and other annoying things web 2.0 thinks I should enjoy. I know im strangling small creators, but if i can drag google/facebook with them its an absolute win. Heck, even on the chrome browser i installed a basic adblocker because the web is just too horrid to browse it without it.

    I also install the basic stuff on my parents’ browsers. My mother got comments on her work how her browser was so clean and quick, so she asked me what to tell her colleagues to install to get the same experience.

    1. tmtvl says:

      You like noscript so much you run it twice? I could make a Monty Python joke here, but I forget the fine details of the Spam sketch.

  49. wumpus says:

    Safari, as I’m on an ancient Mac laptop or my iPhone. I’m about to shitcan Safari, though, as it isn’t reliably compatible with everything I browse, and Apple’s security cruft has made sites that I use regularly unreachable, forcing me to switch to Chrome if I want to use them.

    I’m very frustrated with Apple at this point, as I really only use this laptop for email and browsing, and Mail has been an unbelievable disaster since about El Capitan, while Safari is slowly losing functionality. Apple’s solution seems to be to push third-party alternatives rather than fixing their own damn software. I realize my laptop is quite old, but email hasn’t gotten any more complicated in the last several decades, so it’s inexcusable that their mailreader works less well with each release.

  50. Ziusudra says:

    I recently switched from Brave to Iridium, which is Chrome without Google or Brave. Ghostery and HTTPS Everywhere handle privacy and ads better than I trust any browser to.

  51. Rosseloh says:

    I used Brave for a month or so, right after it “got big” (for all I know it’s after it was released in the first place, but I don’t remember).

    I was driven away by the adblocker, actually. I don’t recall the details, but it was both blocking things it shouldn’t have, and not blocking things it should have….which is normally fine, sure, these things have to learn – but I couldn’t help it learn. There was no “block element” option, nor a way to turn it off temporarily.

    I switched back to Firefox after having used Chrome (and Brave) for nearly ten years once Quantum came out, and Firefox is WAY better now. Like, in the mid 2000s it was *the* browser to use, and then it got bloated and slow, so I switched to Chrome. Then, ten years later, Chrome is going down the same path and here comes Firefox Quantum with massively improved performance and features. I switched back, and haven’t looked back.

    As a side note, we do periodic tests at our shop to find the “best” adblocker for general use, because we put one on every customer’s computer unless they specifically request to not, and we have concluded on uBlock for the last four or five years now.

  52. General_Karthos says:

    I’m still using Chrome but it takes it too long to start up and it hangs up annoyingly and no longer gives me quicker access to my e-mail than it would if I bothered to use the (still more atrocious) e-mail feature on my computer. It’s still better than Safari, but a move to a new browser can’t be too far off.

    It’s just a chore to do and I don’t have enough incentive to do it right now. Like those system updates that only appear when you’re running six applications at once and it wants you to restart your computer instead of suggesting it when you sit down and start opening those applications, or as your closing them down for the night, it would be convenient to do if I thought of it when I wasn’t in the middle of doing something or intending to do something, but that’s the only time I use the web browser, and thus, the only time I think of it.

  53. Scerro says:

    I’m on Chrome, but I’m at the point where I would hop fairly easily.

    I still miss the awesomebar, but disabling search suggestion providers in Chrome is essentially what I want from the bar anyways – frequently used sites and bookmarks.

    There’s a few reasons why I don’t go back to Firefox. I tried Vivaldi, but it’s awful customization of the search bar and some other things made me not bother going back to it after reinstalling windows. I’m still fairly salty about some politics they pulled back in they day, and they had a massive stretch where they were extremely stagnant (Err, like chasing the Google train and failing at it). They’ve come a long way, but poor PDF support and bad printing support remind me that it’s not worth bothering going back too.

  54. pseudonym says:

    I use firefox. I have been using it since 2005 and never have had a reason to switch. It is the default on most linux distros as well. Since firefox 57 (quantum) they changed a lot of their backend code. They ported some of their engines to rust. In fact rust was developed at mozilla in order to do safe multithreading in a low-level language, specifically to make firefox faster. It worked well.

    As for ad-blocking I have changed firefox defaults. By default it only enables do-not-track mode in privacy mode, I set it to be used all the time. On top of that I use the privacy badger add-on, which blocks tracking cookies by looking at their behavior. This gets rid of most (nearly all!) ads. I don’t mind adds as long as they don’t track me and are implmented ethically. Apparantly almost none of them are.
    I have disabled the blocking on the sites I frequent very much, but the ads there are not annoying.
    I also use the facebook container and google container plugins, which I can really recommend.

    Firefox browsing for me is a pleasant experience so I use it on mobile and pc. I have thrown out all the search engines except duckduckgo and wikipedia, and I am really happy with it. Duckduckgo finds stuff that I searched for, unlike google which finds the stuff it thinks I want based on a complex model that isn’t correct and mostly ad-driven.

  55. ThricebornPhoenix says:

    Two years later…

    The process that took you eight years took me around eight weeks. I have a much, much lower tolerance for advertisements than most people.

    Firefox has been my primary browser since before it was Firefox. I tried Chrome at some point, but I didn’t like the feel of using it, there were some weird rendering problems, and it wasn’t noticeably faster than Firefox anyway. It didn’t last long.

    Sometimes an update changes Firefox in a really annoying way and I look at the alternatives, but so far none of them actually sound any better. If anything, most of them sound quite a bit worse.

  56. Craig says:

    Microsoft Edge (chromium).
    Right, Microsoft bad, evil company. But.
    Google Chrome is getting fat, and has always been a bit creepy. Firefox is also fat.
    Edge – still (relatively) lean. Also, my information is not their source of income. I am not the product – at best, whatever of my metadata they collect is a very small sideline.
    All the extensions of Chrome, all my passwords and bookmarks transferred over.

    1. TLN says:

      I briefly tried out Brave last year but it didn’t really seem different enough that it’d be worthwhile to switch. I don’t quite have the horrible performance issues with Chrome that you’re describing, although opening task manager at any time shows it eating an amount of RAM that is quite frankly insane compared to what browsers used in the past. That said I’m getting roughly the same resources usage from Brave as well. Also since it’s Chromium it has the same issues with addons that people got mad about with Chrome last year.

      I can’t say that I’m a fan of Chrome, or Google in general, nor have I been for years, but so far I haven’t found a good replacement either. I might go back to Firefox after 10 years without it, but last time I tried it seemed even more bloated than Chrome somehow.

  57. Blue Painted says:

    I’m on Chrome and “Chromium Edge”

    I started on Netscape Navigator 3.2 because Internet Explorer 3 was worse. I switched to IE when I switched to Win95, actively avoiding Firefox because of the hip/smugness that surrounded it in. I’ve encountered Safari on Mac, and immediately install Chrome on any Mac I have used because of the number of websites that it can’t handle (or handled, it’s been a while) and because of the irritating Mac-ish-ness of it. I use to keep Opera, Firefox, Safari and so on up to date for cross-browser testing but these days I no longer have to, due to change of work.

  58. Borer says:

    I’m using Vivaldi. It’s based on Chromium and widely compatible with Chrome extensions (I use some and Chrome has a healthy ecosystem). It also has lots of customisation options. I used Firefox before but they had just changed their UI design (I didn’t like the new rounded tabs, for example) and on top of that they were breaking extensions with every update (or so it felt like to me). Has that improved? I know they’ve switched to some new API or language or something for all their extensions.

    Anyway, I wanted something new and I had gotten used to the bookmarks sidebar that Firefox has (and also Internet Explorer / Edge but I’m not going there). Not many browsers still do that and Vivaldi delivered. It also has square tabs! None of that rounded stuff I don’t like. And it lets me easily change the colour scheme. I love customisation! There are also other features like stacking/grouping tabs or having them tiled inside the same browser window.

    Vivaldi has its issues such as the hassle of setting up search engines (in the search bar next to the address bar) and for a while full screening one window would close the sidebar on all other windows for some reason. Personally, I’m also having issues with hardware acceleration but that’s more of a nuisance than a real problem. At worst Vivaldi still seems like the least bad option for me so I’m sticking with it for now.

    I’m also using the mobile version of Vivaldi (mostly so I can have all my bookmarks synchronised across all my devices). One (the only?) feature I love about the mobile variant is that they’ve placed the tabs button at the bottom of the screen. With how big phones are getting these days I can hardly reach the top right corner of my phone’s screen where Chrome decided to put it. Other than this neat little feature it’s exactly what You’d expect from a mobile browser. Sadly, it doesn’t have an ad blocker (yet). I can’t really recommend the Vivaldi mobile as it’s mostly a re-skinned version of Android’s default browser that also syncs my bookmarks.

  59. Laswer Hawk says:

    I just want to chime in and say Firefox. Definitely Firefox.

  60. Sleeping Dragon says:

    Firefox and Chrome. At the time I got the PC I’m currently using I also switched to a two monitor setup and I’m using the right one mostly to have a stream or video running while I do stuff on the one in front of me. I’m still using Firefox for most of my things but I’ve found it was actually easier to configure a second browser with the addons and bookmarks for my media browsing.

  61. Jonathan F. says:

    I mainly use Opera – which is now a Chromium browser – as Firefox doesn’t seem to handle heavy tabs well*. I still keep Firefox around for a couple things Opera doesn’t interact with properly (Pandora, notably), and check on it periodically to see if it’s caught up on useability again. And just about nothing except Chrome seems to handle Duolingo consistently.

    *I’m not sure if this is quite fair: Opera’s trick that keeps it purring along has to do with how it handles background tabs: it appears to load them and then pause all scripts/players somehow, and I don’t know how much of that’s replicable if you fiddle around with another browser’s setting.

  62. Philadelphus says:

    There’s also the “Bold” browser if you’re looking for new browsers, which forked from Brave in June after it turned out Brave was surreptitiously redirecting searches to some cryptocurrency companies to links which gave them a commission (it used to be “Braver” until the Brave team threatened them with trademark infringement).

    Interesting, I’ve never encountered any performance problems using Chrome or Chromium (on my computer, Chrome occasionally hangs for a few seconds on my phone), and not for lack of trying; I currently have 97 tabs in Chrome and 48 in Chromium open, and this is pretty much the standard whenever my computer is on. Though this is a beefy gaming rig, I suppose, or maybe the types of pages I keep open aren’t the ones that cause problems.

  63. Ira says:

    I used Firefox for a while, but abandoned it when it shifted to a Chromium base. That was around… version 29, I think?

    Now Pale Moon is my primary browser: a fork that sticks with the old Firefox architecture. It doesn’t always work well with new sites and can be slow, but it has one feature that, for me, is a deal-breaker for everything else. That feature is letting me put my tabs below the address bar. All Chrome-based browsers, from Chrome itself to Edge to Opera to Brave to neo-Firefox cannot do this. They can only have tabs in the header, and I hate that. I outright refuse to use it. It’s awful.

    That said, every now and then some things don’t work in Pale Moon, so I keep Edge and Opera installed as back-ups. I’ve found Edge to actually be quite good, and probably the fastest browser I have installed. I use Opera only more intermittently, but it’s useful for the built-in VPN. Opera is also the standard browser I use on my Android phone, where I find it excellent and easily the best option.

    I don’t think I’ve ever used Chrome much, and I have a policy of avoiding it like the plague. I do not trust Google at all and do not wish to reward them. I once tried Brave, but my impression was that it was basically like Edge or Opera only pretentious, and it wasn’t worth the hassle. To be honest, to me all the Chromium browsers feel pretty much the same.

    Still, overall I still recommend Pale Moon. Tabs below the address bar for life!

    1. Chad Miller says:

      I used Firefox for a while, but abandoned it when it shifted to a Chromium base. That was around… version 29, I think?

      Firefox doesn’t use Chromium.

      1. Ira says:

        Ah, well, my mistake. Around 29 it got a lot more Chrome-like, as I recall.

    2. Woolie Wool says:

      You’ll need an edited userchrome.css, like this one, to have tabs on the bottom in Firefox:

  64. toadicus says:

    I have an Android phone, so any pretense of keeping any of my thoughts or actions private from Google is long gone. That said, I use Firefox on mobile for adblock and Chrome on PC for inertia.

  65. Woolie Wool says:

    Does Brave allow customization of the UI and, more importantly, match the respect the theme/design rules of the operating system or desktop environment? I still use Firefox mostly because it can, with some difficulty, put the tabs down below where they belong, but it still thinks it’s more important than the environment it’s running on and shoves flat design (that doesn’t quite match the flat design of any of the leading OSes/DEs) down users’ throats regardless of their operating system or configuration. I don’t trust Firefox throwback browsers like Pale Moon enough to do business of any kind on them.

    1. Steve C says:

      The throwback browsers are for people who don’t trust/like the main fork. Their audience is a self-selected subset of users who don’t trust in general. Therefore the throwback browsers get extra scrutiny and peer review by their particular brand of users. When one of those browsers missteps then it creates waves you can find pretty easily. The result is that you can trust those assuming you do a small bit of due diligence first to find any criticisms.

      For example the problem with Palemoon is that the developer is a obstinate ass and generally unpleasant combatant person. Which comes out in policies in bad ways. I don’t recommend that one. But unless you can find a specific complaint like that about a fork, it is going to be pretty solid in the trust department.

      1. Ira says:

        I wonder if anyone can clarify what they mean by this?

        I mean, I don’t really care whether the people who worked on my browser are jerks or not. That’s their business. I don’t live with them; they’re not my friends. What difference does it make to me? Besides, someone would have to be implausibly nasty to be a match for the collective nastiness of a large tech company…

        1. Steve C says:

          Well it can mean that support sucks. (Which it does in this situation.) It can mean that interoperability issues can be met with a ‘go to hell’. (Which it does in this situation.) Nuking of criticism posts. (Again) Pissing off volunteers. (The list goes on.) For another example, google “yandere simulator dev drama”. That game is never going to be finished nor fixed for the sole reason the dev is a jerk.

          The problem isn’t that they are a jerk. Not directly. It is all the knock-on effects of someone acting like a jerk. The toxic atmosphere and drama they create that impacts the product. It also comes out in the type of decisions that form policy and mission statements.

          The real world equivalent is having the cook spit on your food because you sent back because it was cold.

  66. PowerGrout says:

    Gotta put in a shout for two mobile browsers:
    Firefox – for it’s relatively complete compatibility with full-fat addons like uBlock origin and Stylus, presumably NoScript too? I really oughta get and start checking that out someday…
    NakedBrowser/NBpro – take a look, if it’s ‘for you’ you’ll know

    I don’t have much illuminating to say about desktop experiences besides having the opposite experience to everyone else vis a vis Chrome and FireFox mostly regarding YouTube this last year or three. A lack of hardware decoding for VP9 on my RX480 make videos run very poorly and exert a terrible toll on my 3rd/4th gen i5’s – decidedly less so under Firefox than Chrome. That and the new YouTube layout itself which (much like the new codecs they’re forcing) is apparently more resource demanding than 4K gaming, and again noticeably moreso under Chrome than FireFox.

    1. Steve C says:

      NoScript was great. Past tense. You aren’t missing anything today.

  67. Simplex says:

    I’ve been using Firefox for years and can wholeheartedly recommend it.
    Firefox is the only browser whos authors do not have a vested interest in extracting as much data from its users as possible.

  68. Jordan says:

    As much as Chrome has its issues, I suspect the slowdown is from a corrupted install more than anything. Deleting the profile folder, or choosing the ‘refresh’ option would likely fix that. The same thing has happened to me with Firefox too, where simply copying down what extensions I had on and then doing a refresh solved innumerable issues.

  69. Mariusz Pociask says:

    Firefox. I’ve been using Mozilla products since the original Mozilla Browser days. From time to time I try something else – like Opera, Vivaldi or Edge Chromium, but I always go back to Firefox.

    No other browser is as stable as Firefox. No other browser allows me to keep 200-500 tabs open at once. No other browser has as useful addons (useful to me) and no ther browser spies on me as little as Fx.

    Firefox is not very fast, but it always gets the job done. And never, ever crashes.

  70. Andrew_CC says:

    I’m using Opera as my default and the Speeddial is what is keeping it that way.
    Recent changes to the Recently Closed Tabs function make me reconsider if I wanna keep using Opera, though.

  71. Studoku says:

    Is this a Netfix original? Because it sounds terrible.

  72. Synapse says:

    Firefox all the way for me been using it for years now, it also helps during my dev work at times with its dev tools.

  73. MaxEd says:

    Firefox, because I love to lose vertical space. No, that’s not sarcasm. I never made a switch to Chrome, because of its “tabs on top” look – I want my f…ing title bar and menu to be on top, and I still have bookmarks bar below the URL window, thank you very much (it’s been a non-stop battle to keep this layout even in Firefox, but at least it allows me to do it, if with help of some hidden options and/or plugins, and Chrome doesn’t).

    Also, I use Firefox because it’s less commerce-driven than the rest of offerings (not counting some browsers that came from Linux side of things originally, but those are a bit too different).

  74. CloverMan-88 says:

    Hey Shamus, you can preview sites in mobile display mode on Chrome too! Just press F12 and choose mobile/tablet preview icon in the upper left corner of the developer menu that shows up. You can even resize the screen preview to see if the dynamic resizing features work properly!

  75. Stu says:

    I feel bad using an adblocker, so unblock it sometimes.
    If a site shows me one non-intrusive banner ad, while respecting my adblocker, I unblock it.

  76. Lucas Ieks says:

    Brave! Because it’s just Chromium with an adblocker pre-installed.
    I used to use Google Chrome in the beginning (because that’s what my father installed), and then switched to Firefox when I switched to Linux (because that’s what came with Ubuntu at the time). Later, I switched to Arch Linux and could choose my browser, so I tried Chromium (not Google Chrome) and liked it. But since I regularly changed window manager and sometimes window systems, it would become crashy and I’d switch back to Firefox, until it became unstable and I switched back to Chromium. I swapped them for a while, until I eventually stuck with Chromium.
    Then, someday, looking for a more lightweight browser, I found Brave, which is, like, 5% lighter than Chromium with an adblocker, because it already has one built-in.
    But I’m seriously considering writing one myself. There are libraries like WebKit available that make that not too hard, and I’d like one I had control over and could run natively on Wayland (which neither Firefox nor Chromium or Brave do).

  77. Dennis says:

    Firefox has gotten a lot faster in the past few years (the Quantum update), and if you’re using it on Android you can install uBlock Origin. I went from Firefox to Chrome around 2010, but switched back in 2016 since I was trying to get away from Google’s ecosystem. I also prefer using open-source stuff, and now that Edge has switched to Chromium, Firefox and Safari are the only two other browser engines. I really don’t want Google to have more control over web standards than they do right now.

    Unfortunately Mozilla laid off a quarter of their people today. IMO they spread themselves way too thin on tangentially-related products throughout the 2010’s. I hope they can focus on the browser, but the press release talks about VR and they fired a lot of engineering staff.

  78. Anachronist says:

    On my Linux box, I use Opera. It has its idiosyncrasies, and every once in a while I have to switch over to Firefox. Opera has a built-in free VPN.

    Chromium is basically “Chrome without Google” even though it’s a Google open-source project on which Chrome is based.

    And on any browser, I make duckduckgo my default search engine. If I need Google or Bing, I can always type it into the address bar and use it.

  79. Anachronist says:

    According to Brave, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and many others are all based on Chromium. And of course Google Chrome.

    So with Brave and any of those others, you’re basically using Chromium, just with a different wrapper.

  80. Thomas Adamson says:

    I quad-wield.

    Vivaldi for general browsing – youtube/twitter/reddit/news/reading with adblock

    Firefox Developer Edition with various javascript framework extensions for web development

    Vanilla Chrome for looking at the results of my code

    Firefox for my less… errr…. salubrious activities

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