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Goodbye Chrome?
2019-01-23
Tags: English Blog Internet Privacy Firefox Google

About ten years ago I might have written a rant like this:

Dear Firefox, there was a time, when your name was Phoenix and when you were lean, fast and fun to use. Now you are fat and slow. Look at the new star in town: Chrome, that’s what a browser should look like.

Now back to the present, Firefox got a lot of overhaul, it became fast again. And Chrome is the one getting fat. It even gets confused when you use multiple accounts e.g. to separat browser sync and your main Google identity (esp. in Drive). As a workaround, the forums advice you to use another browser. Another annoyance in Chrome on Windows is the integrated “malware scanner” which requires crowbar methods to be disabled permanently.

In addition: Google’s business is not free software but advertising and big data. So it was a wonder that you could install addons like µBlock and µMatrix. It was no wonder that there was no extension API in Chrome Mobile. So I switched to Firefox Mobile as soon as it got the API required for µBlock and µMatrix.

I was not much surprised to read the following article on golem.de (german). For µBlock/µMatrix-users like me the most prominent voice in the case is the addon-author Gorhill, who expresses his concerns in this comment (english). In short: There is a change under discussion which would affect (read: break) the webrequest API heavily used by content filter addons.

Even if the API change will be not as harsh as it sounds at the moment, the announcement lets me reconsider my browser strategy. Since all the essential extensions (µBlock, µMatrix, Tampermonkey) are available for Firefox too, the switch would not hurt much.