FireFox Addons vs Google Chrome Extensions

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Ever since Google Chrome blog announced the launch of Google Chrome Extensions, people have never stopped talking when this move is going to kill FireFox.

Well, you might know how much I love FireFox (even despite the fact that because of my experiments with addons it sometimes becomes dead slow) and how hardcore I may become wen it comes to something that I love, but even I couldn’t ignore those talks any longer.

So yes, I went ahead, did some research, tried Google Chrome extensions and here’s what I came up with:

Chrome Extensions vs FireFox Addons

FireFoxGoogle Chrome
InstallationRequires browser re-start (this addon makes the process a bit more easier)Easy and instant
VarietyPlenty of addons availableOnly few extensions so far
Affect on browser performance The more addons, the slower the browserRuns extensions in separate processes, so no extension affects the entire browser.
The update process of extensions (?) Update on the start (with confirmation required)Automatic
SecurityIs known for security issues“Isolated Worlds” : By separating various processes from one another, Chrome should insure one addon security issues does not affect the whole browser

Note: you will need to install a Beta version of Google Chrome to install addons.

So except for a couple of points (one of which is temporal and one is a questionable benefit because auto updating may be not cool but it is good for security as due to that auto-updating feature, Chrome is able to remotely kill any extension that is reported to be doing bad things to people’s systems), FireFox seems to lose.

The comparison resources:

Are you migrating?

I only see one issue with me (for example) switching to Chrome in the near future: I spend 90% of my working time browsing – FireFox is my #1 tool and it will need huge amount of time to get used to a new working environment: to find alternatives to my installed addons and to learn all Chrome shortcuts.

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty

Brand amd Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing,... Read Full Bio
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  • Leftfield

    Restart and fire-up are not some bad reasons because it is required only once and you will not install million extensions.

    From security point what if i use Firefox on FreeBSD? Last security issue was caused by Windows, not Firefox.

    Generally i prefer more Firefox, because i can run it on my FreeBSD; Windows and Ubuntu with same extensions. Runs normally, fast, stable and reliable 🙂

    • Ben

      None of these options are valid for me:
      Yes, definitely! – NOT. I don’t ‘Switch’ I simply added Chromium to my list of browsers that I use for different things.

      No, FF still rocks! – it doesn’t ‘Rock’. On my desktop, it sits quite still and functions very well in ways that Chrome doesn’t.

      Maybe I’ll try – actually I did try and regularly use many browsers.

      I am on IE / Opera – I don’t use IE, but I do use Opera too.

      Why do people using Windows have stupid ideas about having to ‘Switch’ all the time? You should know that people who use Mac computers don’t really use them exclusively – they just recognise that Mac is best for many things. Likewise, people using Linux or BSD also benefit from not choosing the OS most compatible with malware, or that runs the most software, or the best video editor, or the best anti-malware suites.

      Chromium is excellent, Opera is excellent, Firefox is excellent, Epiphany is excellent, and I have absolutely NO intention of stopping using any one of them.

  • Vygantas

    That’s the worst font/background colors I ever saw

  • Kristine

    I think this is a bit biased. I find the all the many processes Google Chrome runs in order to preserve ‘security’ causes my computer to slow down quite a bit when running the same # i would run in Firefox. Firefox has it’s issues, but this comparison chart is written with a Chrome bias (IMO)

    • Kristine

      also not a fan of the autoupdate as my add ons often are the last to be supported in Firefox.. might be ok in Chrome I do not know.. their multi process slowdown issue has turned me back to Firefox

    • Ann Smarty

      It is funny it seems biased to Chrome as I am actually a huge FireFox fan – obviously the job of not looking biased to FF was overdone 🙂

      On a serious note, I wasn’t using my judgments – ws trying to sum up what is being said on the web…

      • DBob

        I found that each extension in chrome used a minimum of 10 – 12 mbs of ram. With just 10 extensions and two tabs
        open, chrome was using close to 300 mbs ram. Much too much, but the cpu usage wasn’t as extensive as firefox with 25 extensions. I have limited ram on my laptop and thus am
        back to using the stable version of chrome.

  • Leftfield

    Ann, your work is great, i like to read everything from you but this test is not your best.

    Comparing browsers is more like apple and oranges. Every browser, except IE, has its own qualities. You should do the fast speed test with, let’s say, how they are opening some major CMS systems: Joomla; Drupal… and WP of course and how much they are eating memory and CPU.

  • Ginger

    I love Google Chrome and was using it almost exclusively, until now. Google Chrome is having a problem today–running very slowly. I switched back over to Firefox. After using Firefox today, I plan to continue using it. It may be a little slower, but seems less flaky than Chrome.

  • Tiago Sá

    Chrome… It can be as awesome as you want, but if it doesn’t let you have separate search fields like Firefox and Opera and IE and whatnot, either through an extension or not, then it won’t cut it. And the same applies to customizable (FULLY customizable) tab behavior like the one provided with Tab Mix Plus for Firefox.

    And about separate processes, it just serves to eat RAM up. With 250 crowded tabs open my Firefox eats up 1675MB of RAM… Chrome crashes the tabs at 120 more or less… And it’s eating about 1,5GB or ram already.

  • Hervé

    Shouldn’t the colors of “The update process of extensions (?)” be interchanged btw Chrome and Fx? Chrome is almost realtime, no startup required, so the cell should be green (instead of red)

  • Ted Pavlic

    Seems to me like the lack of certain extensions will keep me from migrating from Firefox. For example, there is now an Adblock-like Chrome extension, but there is nothing like Vimperator, and there probably never will be. So maybe that will be enough to keep me on Firefox.

  • peaceandserenity

    I read somewhere that FF with all its addons actually causes the “ultra thin” laptops to heat up whereas IE doesn’t. What about Chrome?

  • Alan Bleiweiss

    The only really valuable Firefox plug-in I ever cared about for SEO was GreaseMonkey and the tweak to highlight SERP listings for sites I track, yet it consistently failed to work right no matter what I changed. Eventually I yanked it along with several other plug-ins when I was getting huge problems in my browser. The only plug-ins I still have are Screen-grab, and McAfee site advisor.

    When I heard yesterday that Chrome is going to support GreaseMonkey I got hopeful, though I just put it on the “wait and see” burner.

    Now that you’ve created this comparison, I’m leaning further toward giving Chrome a shot, yet for whatever reason, I have yet to find Chrome actually be any faster than Firefox on my system.

  • ziko

    I should point out that Chrome extension are RAM killers actually every extension eats around 12-20 MbRAM which horrible!

  • Mia Junk

    I use FireFox (currently 3.5.5 for a specific reason otherwise latest beta) and Chrome (Dev 5.0.342.3) heavily along with other browsers IE8, Safari, Opera and Chromium.

    I love FF for its customization and flexibility. I have 104 FireFox extensions installed and all of them are truly outstanding. Overall FF memory usage is higher and there is some noticeable impact on performance but I can live with that choice.

    I love Chrome for it’s speed and simplicity. I was delighted when Chrome add-ons became available. I have 50 of those installed. Here’s the difference. With the extensions Chrome whilst usable is a memory hog with each add-on adding a separate task manager process in Windows and total memory usage is significantly higher (double at times) with just these 50 add-ons versus FireFox with 104 add-ons. The core Chrome process is also usually double that of FireFox with these extensions installed and enabled.

    From my own observations and usage, the FireFox extensions appear to be of better quality in general and obviously greater in number and feature/function mainly due to FF having been around so much longer. Now that’s not to say there aren’t good quality Chrome add-ons, there are but quite a few appear to be buggy more so than those from FF add-on developers.

    In general though extension/add-on development quality concerns me whether FF or Chrome because regardless of choice of browser these add-ons can affect performance and stability of the browser too and in my case Chrome struggles in memory usage and performance with all the add-ons I’ve installed and I’ve had to remove some for stability reasons. FireFox appears to be more stable from that point of view however I want my extensions and add-ons no matter when they were developed and i wish the original developers would keep them up to date for current FF versions. I’ve back rev’d FF to previous versions just to ensure I can use certain extensions and make sure they are not auto disabled with new FF browser updates. I want compatibility.

    That said they’re both great browsers, now if only I could have the simplicity and speed of Chrome with the low memory usage and rich customization and extensibility of FF add-ons….

  • df

    people its just a browser why the fu** would you need addons you wanna play games while your browsing?
    I can already hear the Firefox team: we put an add-on in your browser so you can play while you play.
    also chrome is faster and has a built in spell checker.
    and lets not be fan-boys/girls both are browsers both work

  • df

    people its just a browser why the fu** would you need addons you wanna play games while your browsing?
    I can already hear the Firefox team: we put an add-on in your browser so you can play while you play.
    also chrome is faster and has a built in spell checker.
    and lets not be fan-boys/girls both are browsers both work