Mozilla intern examines startup speed of Firefox, Chrome

By on June 18, 2010, 4:47 PM
A Mozilla intern has figured out a way to make Firefox open faster or at least seem like it's opening faster. In a blog post, interface designer John Wayne Hill explained how Chrome, although only slightly faster than Firefox at starting, feels much quicker. After analyzing videos of the startup process for both applications, Hill found a fundamental difference in the way each launches that makes Chrome feel snappier.

Apparently, when Firefox is opened it draws the window, then the browser interface, and finally the homepage. Chrome on the other hand, draws the window and browser interface simultaneously, and then it loads the website. In Hill's words, "Firefox feels very sequential in its loading, while Chrome seems to do everything at once."

Additionally, Hill says that Chrome places less of a visual emphasis on the webpage loading icon, whereas Firefox's is in plain sight not to mention that Chrome's icon animation rotates faster. Chrome also hides website titles until a page is mostly loaded, whereas Firefox shows the title more quickly making it seem like users have to wait longer.

All of these things apparently add up and give the illusion that Chrome is significantly faster, and Hill says Firefox can be tweaked similarly. Head over to the full blog post for more information, including a few data graphs illustrating the speed differences between Firefox and Chrome.

User Comments: 21

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

I have a very low-powered laptop. Since Firefox went to 3.5, I can no longer use it for anything but the most absolutely basic of browsing tasks. Chrome, on the other hand, I can use as a fully-featured browser for embedded media (e.g., YouTube, Hulu, etc.). Until Firefox slims itself back down to something reasonable, it's dead to me.

Guest said:

Same here. I have trashed the entire Firefox for Chrome since chrome 5 was released. I liked firefox in the beginning, unfortunately it has become so much sluggish now. Chrome is the way to go.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Geeze...what hardware you guys got running? I'm using a netbook and chrome and firefox run the same.

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

Good point, if your computer can't handle browsing, you might have a problem.

foreverzero89 said:

opera>chrome>firefox. /topic

Guest said:



Where do you live, in a cave? Opera better than Firefox? SMH.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I am unsure there is any significant speed difference between any of these browsers. I ran a personal test to see whether Doogle's claim of having fastest browser was any good .... and frankly I couldn't notice a difference which would compel one to consider changing his/her preference of any specific browser. In fact, in many instances IE still 'feel's bit faster albeit not actually being that faster, same goes for chrome.

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

I won't refute the intern's findings, he may be right, but Chrome feels considerably snappier for many tasks when actually browsing pages and working on multiple tabs. That's what makes a real tangible difference and not millisecond application launch measurements or JS benchmarks that tell us close to nothing.

Chazz said:

It's the exact opposite for me, when running multiple tabs chrome has a bigger impact on my legacy computers. It goes from fast to slowing my entire computer down. But again, thats on really old computers. I feel no difference on my normal computers.

As for the "browser wars", as long as they boast and brag about speed instead of innovative feature, firefox will always be king. Anyone that feels like their browsing is slow need to either get off of dial up or buy a new computer. 10 years is enough time to have saved up money for an upgrade.

Guest said:

ask yourselfs, how much do you spend on a car?

every 3 years a new ride? why not every 2 years a new computer?

Deathstar17 said:

foreverzero89 said:

opera>chrome>firefox. /topic

Yeah as long as features and extensions don't count...

tengeta tengeta said:

How about working on security for Firefox instead, its starting to get a lot of holes. I don't give a flying crap at all about it opening in a shorter time span that I most likely won't notice.

Guest said:

After MS, Apple shills we have Google shills.

Talk about security Firefox is lots better, and while we are at it you know Google has been criminally gathering wifi data during snapping streetview. I am considering dumping Google as my search engine.

Guest said:

Firefox is a bloated, wheezing wreck that can't get out of bed in the morning. So much for that.

Google is an ad company and Chrome is part of its User Tracking and Behavioral Targeting apparatus. Why would anyone submit to being tracked and targeted by an ad company?

Opera is small and fast -- it runs on a 10 year-old 666MHz / 64MB machine I found at the dump! Seriously, Opera starts in seconds on that box and is usable on sites like Youtube and Facebook -- Chrome and Firefox? Well, they behaved like a pair of lurching, brain-hungry zombies and in the end I enjoyed killing them.

Ok, so I have a modern machine and I don't need to choose a light, fast browser; but y'know, given the options, I think I will.

Guest said:

You're a gimp...

Guest said:

Me too switched from Firefox to Chrome and i'm a Firefox add-on developer and i see many users asking to make my add-on for Chrome too but Chrome don't has the necessary APIs to make it possible to do it. So users has to wait until Chrome will have more advanced extension capabilities :(.

Mikymjr Mikymjr said:

I'm mainly using Chrome and sometimes IE8. Firefox worked well in the beginning. But after sometime it seemed that sometimes it used alot of my proccesor recources without me doin anything at that time and lagged alot

Guest said:

Buy a new computer if you can tell the difference in browser speeds. It means your computer sucks.

Guest said:

Interesting observation.Though I have Chrome and Opera,I still use Firefox 90% of the times since its more versatile and more customizable.Chrome seems a bit naked(literally) and I find Opera even more bloated than Firefox-It uses over 100 MB memory with Google opened on my PC.Frankly I don't give a damn if one browser opens a page 1- 2 seconds faster than another.

Guest said:

W? "its dead to me" .. Firfox gives me no respect either, Now it sleeps with the Fiches.

Guest said:

I wish they would a study on how many times their browser has to be uninstalled then reinstalled running neck to neck on my PC, funny I never had any problems with IE

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.