The Firefox 4 Beta recently hit the streets and many of you are wondering does it represent any major improvements and more specifically how does it compare with Google Chrome. In a nutshell, Firefox 4 (originally Firefox 3.7) will be faster, lighter and more reliable than any previous version of Firefox. Is that enough to get back the ground that it has given up to Chrome, that I am not quite sure of.
Firefox 4 is an improvement in almost every area, its sleek “tabs at the top” look, combined with tab isolation which makes the browser more stable by now allowing failure of a component in a single tab to crash the entire browser. When it comes to speed Firefox 4 is much faster than its predecessors, however, it is still not quite as fast as Chrome and their my friends lies the rub. When it comes to the speed and smoothness with which the web is surfed, Chrome is still the standard by which all other browsers must be measured. Another area where Mozilla MUST speed up Firefox is in the time that it takes to load itself into memory. Currently, of the three major browsers I would have to rank it number three in this category. Chrome probably loads the fastest, then IE (which should be the fastest since its integrated into the OS) and then pulling up the rear our old friend Firefox. This has been a major issue for years and while they are making improvements they just aren’t big enough.
Recently, after fighting it for a few months I started to use Google Chrome as my primary browser at the behest of a friend and I have to admit that I liked it more than I thought I would. It’s light, fast and highly extensible. My major problem with Chrome is its lack of a robust image manipulation capability, I run several websites and the way that Chrome handles resizing is crude at best, not convenient for someone like me at all. I admit that I am the exception and not the rule but something as basic as image handling in a browser should not be left to third party extensions.
In the end though, if you left Firefox because of issues of speed and instability then Firefox 4 represents a step forward that should satisfy your issues, I’m using the beta and haven’t had a crash yet. If you left Firefox because you want something that was faster in both the speed at which it loads and the way it renders webpages and you don’t have any major functionally requirements of your browser besides surfing the web then I can’t say Firefox 4 will be enough to get you back. For me personally, I am still on the fence I mean if Chrome could address the image manipulation issues, I don’t know that I would use Firefox 4 over the most recent version of Chrome and that’s big coming from me. You are talking to a guy that made the switch to Firefox over 8 years ago and never looked back and suddenly this new kid on the block Chrome has me rethinking what a browser could and should be. So I guess what I want to you know from you guys is, which browser do you prefer and why and also have you tried the Firefox 4 Beta and if so how do you like it?