Design, Firefox and Chrome.

What’s the difference between Firefox and Chrome?

The main difference is the streamlined and intuitive interface. Chrome is fast and fluid. Firefox is relatively sluggish. Whenever you type a URL and press ‘Enter’ or ‘Return’ in the omnibar, Chrome (and even Safari) clearly show you that they are busy fetching the page. You can find a circle rotating rapidly beside your tab telling you that they are working furiously to load your site. Firefox previously didn’t have this. They had a dotted circle that rotated at a snail’s pace which didn’t quite signify that urgency and dedication a user needed.

Ever since Mozilla realized that Chrome is taking a chunk off their pie, they started taking things seriously. Mozilla decided to revamp the browser design to prevent the existing user base from shifting to Chrome. Not only that, it began increasing the iteration number rapidly- openly telling the world that its ready for competition. (Here’s how the Firefox’s iterations go…Firefox 0.1 to Firefox 4 took 9 years. Firefox 4 to Firefox 13 took 1 year. 8 iterations in a single year!). They removed all the unnecessary buttons (forward button), shifted the home button to the right and made the interface a lot simpler. They also replaced the rotating dots with a rotating circle just like Chrome and Safari.

The other thing is, you don’t find the menu bar in Chrome. The design is minimal and the interface is pretty straight forward with small refresh, forward and backward buttons with a large address bar spreading all the way from left to right. The new tab button doesn’t have any indication unlike Firefox which displays a significant ‘+’ beside every tab. Seasoned users may not care about Chrome not having a ‘+’ sign but Google should also keep the grannies and the not-so-tech-savvy people in mind. Maybe they thought “Grannies don’t multi-task.” Despite the fact that Mozilla combined the search and address bar, they still have the search bar to the right. This is for quick access to Wikipedia, Ask and other websites.

Field Highlight feature is another thing that Firefox added in the recent iterations. Previously, Chrome and Safari had this interesting feature where the field you are currently working-on is highlighted. (If you’re typing your username, that field gets highlighted and when you move to password, that field is highlighted). Firefox didn’t have this feature previously. But they tweaked the browser interface and making all the small-but-significant improvements. Still, Firefox uses huge amounts of RAM and takes a lot of time for startup. Fix this and I will become a Firefox evangelist. I am already one, but give me more reasons to be a better one!

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