Will Google Chrome supplant Firefox as the power user's browser of choice?


Will Google Chrome signal the end of Firefox’s “geek” domination? That is, will Chrome one day replace Firefox as the computer savvy user’s browser of choice? Maybe, friends. Maybe. Reasons? Chrome is faster, it’s newer (who doesn’t love a shiny, new toy?) and it’s architecturally better—a YouTube tab crash doesn’t bring down the entire browser.

Such is the thesis put forward by author Keir Thomas. Thomas, whose books include Ubunutu Pocket Guide and Reference, seems to think that Firefox has “lost the plot,” and that Mozilla’s focus on whiz-bang features at the expense of core competency have greatly hurt the browser’s reputation. At the same time, Chrome has made headway with the same power users who originally made Firefox popular all those years ago. (Anyone else remember using Firefox when it was called Phoenix? Those were the days, I tell ya!) And if enough of these users go full-Chrome, to paraphrase the movie Tropic Thunder, Firefox would have lost its most ardent supporters.

But the extensions! Yes, we know. Many Firefox users cling to the browser because of this or that extension, and if Chrome can’t replicate Extension_Function, then they won’t be switching. Fair enough, sirs, that’s your prerogative, but are there enough of you guys to prevent non-extension users from switching? I, for one, have regularly used a grand total of one extension, and that was Gina Trapani’s Better Gmail. But considering I use Mail.app most of the time, it won’t really be missed. Besides, WebKit is my browser of choice nowadays; I’m extension-free, and loving it.

I don’t know, just something to think about. Should Chrome mature into a proper browser, and Firefox continue to flounder (if that’s even the right word to use), we may well be seeing more and more “power users” switch over, who will then tell their less savvy friends, who will then tell their friends, etc.