I wrote yesterday about how I converted a relative of mine from a Chrome user to a Firefox user. The post was picked up by the tech press including Tom’s Hardware and Conceivably Tech. (Tom’s said I “described why getting users back from Chrome may nearly be impossible”, which I think is a laughable exaggeration of what I wrote.)
The good news is that the two major stumbling blocks I faced during the conversion are well on the way to being addressed.
- The situation with third-party add-ons will be greatly improved in Firefox 8, which is scheduled for release in just a few days (2011-11-08). The first time it runs, Firefox 8 will present the user with a window that lists all the installed add-ons, distinguishing between add-ons the user installed explicitly and third-party add-ons that they didn’t install explicitly. The user will be asked to confirm which add-ons they want, and the third-party add-ons will be disabled by default. The bug for this feature is here, and there is a follow-up bug here.
- An “import history from Chrome” feature is being worked on right now. Here is the feature page, a tracking bug, and two dependent bugs. The aim was for it to make Firefox 10, which is scheduled for release on 2012-01-31, but it looks like it might not make that release. Hopefully it will make Firefox 11, which is scheduled for release on 2012-03-13.
Another point raised by commenters was that Chrome has a version of AdBlock Plus. However, the Chrome version still has major shortcomings compared to the Firefox version. This page states “We are currently working on providing the same experience for Google Chrome as what you are used to from Firefox. Please keep in mind that we are not there yet and much work still needs to be done. There are also known Google Chrome bugs and limitations that need to be resolved.” This page lists the major shortcomings. Maybe those shortcomings will be overcome in the future, but until they are, it’s not a reasonable comparison.
In conclusion, the point of my post yesterday was not to say “OMG Firefox is crap the sky is falling in”, but rather “here’s what happened when I tried this”. I knew that the two obstacles I listed were being worked on, though I didn’t know the details. (Many thanks to the commenters who filled me in.) The fact that they are being worked on and/or have been fixed is rather encouraging. It’s also worth noting that Firefox’s new rapid release calendar like these make it into the hands of ordinary users only 2 to 3 months after they are implemented. With the old release calendar, these two improvements wouldn’t have made it into a release until mid-2012 or later.