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complicated browser relationships

Since I started using the Internet in the late 90s, I’ve had two long-term monogamous relationships with two browsers: Internet Explorer and Chrome. When Firefox appeared on my radar, sometime before its 1.0 release, I’ve used it off and on. I was, however, mostly faithful first to IE6 and then again to Chrome.

Google owns a lot of my data and this won’t change in the near future. It’s naive to think I can completely quit Google even if I want to. Why? Their services like Google Maps are far ahead of the competition. Google Analytics is almost as synonymous with websites as HTML, CSS and Javascript. I use an Android phone and likely will continue to because of my reliance on Google services. I also have a naive but established level of trust that Google is only profiling my data for ads and not selling identifiable information to third-parties.

For the foreseeable future, I will probably have a complicated relationship with Chrome. All Google services will continue to use Chrome. I will keep using Chrome’s DevTools for most development work because of features like Workspaces, Lighthouse, and breakpoint inline comments which are quite useful.

Google has forced Chrome to become a huge privacy mess. I don’t care how much trust I put into Chrome, I will treat it like any other service that wants to siphon my data by now limiting my usage.

I’m forcing myself to go back to Firefox. But I will likely switch between the two most of the time.

For all the rest…

  • I don’t use Windows enough to care about Edge and its user experience doesn’t impress me. It also lacks privacy and script blocking extensions I desire
  • Using Safari is no better than Edge for the same reasons. Apple is likely not a privacy issue like Chrome but I don’t have the same established trust with Apple’s closed-source browser code. I also don’t enjoy using it for development; its version of DevTools aren’t as polished in ways that Chrome’s is such as inline comments during debugging
  • Tor Browser is great privacy browser but far too slow for day-to-day use. Good to keep it in the toolset, however

I hope Firefox can claim almost all of my Internet consumption someday. Until then..

It’s complicated.

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