Chrome is one of the best browsers out there because it offers everything to meet your needs. But this article isn’t about how good chrome is but rather what it can do to you if you continue using it.
For starters and it isn’t a secret anymore that Google Chrome harvests your data. When you sign in to Chrome and browse, Google tracks your browsing habits. Regardless of how many ad blockers and privacy extensions you use. The underlying mechanics prevent you from exercising your privacy right.
The alternative to Chrome is, of course, non chromium Firefox. Sure, you’ve heard about it and you might be using it too. The Mozilla Firefox has a storied team behind it with a track record in the browsing world. Their focus is on privacy and in no way compromises performance. Firefox has features that you’d need through third-party add-ons in Chrome.
So what are the benefits of using Firefox over Chrome? Here are 8 reasons:
1. You can safeguard your privacy
Firefox stands out from the chromium browsers like Edge and Vivaldi due to its open-source code. It does a good job of protecting you against third-party cookies that tracks you on the web no matter where you go. What I particularly enjoy about Firefox is its containers feature. You won’t find it elsewhere. Facebook container, for example, opens up Facebook. This means the “Metaberg” can’t track what you’re doing elsewhere in the browser. All Facebook services including Instagram and WhatsApp web opens in the Facebook container. Sites with login with the Facebook button show you the container icon. This prevents any access to that website by Facebook unless you allow it. Although it’s an add-on only available in Firefox.
Another point, I’d like to highlight, is the case of fingerprinting. Sure you’ve started using Firefox and ditched Chrome. But the web is a dangerous place and websites track you by fingerprinting method. It’s a less pervasive way of gathering data on you. For example, you’re a fan of dark mode. And when you use it in any browser the website fingerprints you. It marks you as someone who prefers dark mode due to your use of the Dark Reader extension in browsers.
Now you’re in the pool of users who uses dark mode extension. If you rely on AdGuard, you’re now pooled together in the category of users who prefers dark mode AND hates ads. Once they’ve enough information, tracking you on the web as THAT user who has the said habits is easy. It’s subtle but after a while, it works and you’re assigned a label. Browsers like Brave and Firefox lets you block fingerprinting. It limits access to websites or trackers from gathering info. It could range from your device, browser version, extensions, region, and searches. You can select from the Standard or Aggressive options. Latter can break sites.
That’s why you’re recommended to use private and anonymous search engines. Because services such as Google can estimate your location through your IP address. VPNs can help in masking your IP address as well as the Tor browser. With Tor, you sacrifice speed and user experience. Thus, it’s advisable to use fewer browser extensions and only those that are essential.
Firefox settings also support “DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH).” You can specify a secure DNS provider in the field or can select from the list of providers. The safest ones are Cloudflare, OpenDNS, Quad9, and AdGuard DNS. When you access a website, the DNS server it uses is the default that’s assigned to you by your ISP which may not be secure. So anyone can see what websites you’re visiting over the network. With the DoH feature, you force the process to happen over an encrypted server.
2. You can install add-ons on mobile
Firefox browser on mobile offers installation of add-ons/extensions. You can install uBlock Origin, Bitwarden, NoScript, etc. to make browsing safer.
3. You can block videos from auto playing
Do you find auto-playing of videos annoying when you visit a website? Sure you do. Firefox helps you by muting those noisy auto-play videos in the background. It’s helpful when you’re on limited bandwidth and the auto play eats it like hell. In Chrome, you have to find a third-party extension for sites that serve you auto play videos.
Firefox mutes out-of-the-box videos by default. For YouTube, you have both audio and video blocked. You can configure auto play settings in Firefox.
4. You can speed up web browsing
Firefox blocks trackers. This eliminates slow browsing because trackers can weigh it down. Since the more scripts a page loads, the more time it takes to load. These usually run in the background but you can feel them in your browsing experience. For faster web browsing, use Firefox. As for crypto miners, Firefox prevents cryptojacking. It is a technique whereby a bad actor can install malicious code on your computer, and the rest is history.
Firefox puts a stop to crypto miners from accessing your system. It then increases performance and browsing speed!
5. You’ll find it lighter on your system’s resources
Chrome is a memory hog which means it eats up your RAM like no other. It can also hit your PC harder than you’d expect. Sure Chrome works on fixes now and then but Firefox never had memory issues. It’s generally light on your resources even when you have many tabs or browser windows open. You don’t feel a thing. But it’s far from perfect, I’ll admit.
If you leave tabs open for many days in Firefox, it can impact the memory. You can nuke them using Firefox Task Manager. The tab or window comes back immediately. If the browser is set to remember history, you can restart it. This restores all your opened tabs from before. No need to reboot your system.
6. You can sync data across all your devices
Part of what works for Chrome is the Google ecosystem. Your passwords, history, and bookmarks sync across all your devices. Sure but at the cost of your privacy. Firefox does the same. You can sign up for Firefox Sync and sync your browsing experience on all your devices. Enjoy an article on your mobile and want to open it on your PC, send that tab to open on your computer. Don’t remember the site you visited on your computer? Check your history and it will show up on your mobile device. Any saved passwords will work the same. But you must not save passwords in a browser.
Firefox also provides services such as “Firefox Relay” but you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to. It’s best suited for tech nerds or privacy enthusiasts. Because it entails features like email masking and data breach monitoring.
The sync experience is quite seamless. I’ve tried Brave browser too, which is my favorite but their sync isn’t good. Because you can’t send the tab to another device. You have to look under History to see what other tabs are open in the browser on your other device. Vivaldi sync experience is a bit rugged too.
7. You can view a webpage in Reader Mode
It’s when you want to read an article or news to absorb information but without the clutter around it. To help you focus Firefox’s Reader Mode provides you with that.
Not the best because sometimes spacing can be out. But it’s better to read without annoying popups, video embeds, and advertisements. Click the Reader Mode icon in the address bar and you’re good to go with a clean view. the text is large, in plain font, and with images that relate to the story. Chrome has had this feature on and off because the development team isn’t sure whether to keep it. As then it strips them away from any ads.
Firefox introduced this feature and had since stuck with it. A stark contrast in philosophy compared to Google-run Chrome.
8. You can view the code because it is open-source
Yeah, but who cares. Those who do know realize how important this aspect is. I mentioned earlier that Firefox’s code is open source. Anyone with the right knowledge can view and check whether the code is secure. Chromium by default is open source. It was when Google used it to develop Chrome and made the code closed source is where the problem is. It’s proprietary. You can’t vet what’s under the hood.
This makes it a huge privacy risk. Remember Google’s revenue model is advertising. It’s not offering anything for free and you’re the product. We’ve heard it many times over but we fail to ponder what it means. Open source allows you to identify and fix any vulnerabilities before they’re exploited. That’s why I switched to Firefox.
Write in the comments why you think Firefox is better than Chrome.