Google's Chrome versus Firefox: A quick comparison of the two biggest web browsers

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Google's Chrome versus Firefox: A quick comparison of the two biggest web browsers

chrome vs firefox 2

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

My web browser of choice is Google's Chrome, but I'm always on the hunt for a better browser. 

After all, it's the app I use most often on pretty much any computer. If a browser can perform faster and more efficiently that Chrome, I'd absolutely consider it. 

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Interestingly, Mozilla - the company behind the Firefox browser - makes some pretty enticing claims about its browser. One of those claims is that it uses 30% less RAM than Chrome, which is particularly interesting. It means that Chrome might not slow down my computer as much as Chrome does when I have a ton of open tabs.  

Another tasty claim is that Firefox loads websites faster than Chrome. 

I tried Firefox to see how well it stacks up against Chrome:

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Design.

Design.

Above, Firefox is on the left, and Google Chrome is on the right.

Design-wise, both web browsers are pretty similar. Firefox has the edge for ease of use, however.

Things like a larger back button, customizable menu bars, and simpler setting options make Firefox more user-friendly overall.

Which one slows your computer faster?

Which one slows your computer faster?

Mozilla touts that its Firefox browser uses 30% less of your computer's RAM than Chrome.

RAM is essentially your computer's short term memory where it stores apps that you're using for quick access. For browsers, more RAM on your computer means more browser tabs, add-ons, and extensions you can have without your computer slowing down. If your computer slows down and you're just running a web browser, chances are that web browser is eating up all your computer's RAM.

I found that Firefox uses more RAM than Chrome, which not only debunks Mozilla's claims in my basic test, but also comes at a huge surprise considering Chrome's reputation as a computer performance killer.

With this in mind, Firefox is likely to slow down your computer faster than Chrome.

For the sake of clarity, I started out with fresh versions of Chrome and Firefox and loaded the same websites on both browsers. I tried in on both Mac and Windows machines and still found that Firefox used more RAM than Chrome.

I've also tested this before when Mozilla first made the claim about its new Firefox browser in late 2017, and found the same result.

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Loading sites on Firefox.

Mozilla claims that Firefox loads websites slightly faster than Chrome. Firefox does seem snappier sometimes, but not always.

Here's the same site as above loaded up on Firefox:

The page loads up slightly faster than on Chrome, with the image loading almost instantaneously while Chrome takes a few extra milliseconds to load up.

Add-ons and extensions.

Add-ons and extensions.

Both Google Chrome and Firefox have their own add-on and extensions stores where you can find useful tools to enhance your browsing experience. For example, you can find a variety of password managers in both stores that let you create strong passwords and log you in automatically to websites.

You can check either Chrome's or Firefox's stores to see if it has the add-ons and extensions you want.

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Google Chrome has one major feature that Firefox doesn't.

Google Chrome has one major feature that Firefox doesn't.

If you find the "casting" feature in Google's Chrome browser useful, Firefox won't be for you.

Google's casting feature lets you look up a video on YouTube or Netflix and other video streaming services and apps, and play that video on a separate device that has the same app. For example, I can find a video on YouTube in Chrome and press the cast button to play the video on my smart TV, which has the YouTube app installed.

Netflix had trouble casting to my smart TV from Chrome, despite the fact that I have the Netflix app on my TV. It works fine with Google's Chromecast devices, however.

At the moment, Firefox doesn't support casting.