Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome Harmony

September 23rd, 2008 by jeremychone

Google Chrome is only about three weeks old and is already an Internet phenomenon. To sum it up, Google Chrome is all about making web browsing safer, faster, and easier. While some might see a fierce competition between Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, I see harmony.

Here is some background to better understand this point of view. There has been a somewhat valid belief stating that the un-typed and interpreted nature of the JavaScript language was a major limitation for building demanding client applications. Consequently, to overcome this challenge, the browser technology providers had the following two options:

  1. Re-invent the language by “upgrading” the JavaScript language to a more a traditional typed and object-oriented language, such as Java or C#, allowing the runtime to just focus on running the code.
  2. Re-invent the runtime by creating novels ways for the JavaScript virtual machine to parse and interpret the JavaScript code, making the language as robust and reliable as more traditional languages.

Conforming to the EcmaScript’s Harmony decision, which focuses on not reinventing [or forking] the language (i.e., not doing #1), Google and Mozilla are actually genuinely working on the same goal, which is to make the current JavaScript faster and more reliable in a completely transparent way to the web developer. So, from a language point of view, Mozilla and Google are actually in complete harmony in pursuit of the Open Web vision.

Here are a few Q&As to summarize my take on Google Chrome from a developer’s perspective.

Which one is faster?

It does not matter as long as they keep fighting it up. Google Chrome got a good PR head-start, but, Mozilla Firefox 3.1 is back in the race with TraceMonkey.

What’s the good news?

JavaScript has become a safer bet for developers. With Google, Mozilla, and Apple seriously investing in JavaScript, from applications to runtimes, developers can rest assured that the language has a bright future. I also think this will be a factor in forcing Microsoft to react aggressively, assuming it does not want to see the Internet slipping way (again).

What’s the bad news?

The caveats (and there are always some) are that developers will have yet another browser to test against and the market will have yet another browser to adopt.

So, at the end, I think that Google Chrome is a good thing for the Open Web in general, and my hope is that it will be a forcing hand to get Microsoft to update its Web strategy.

For example, given that Microsoft Internet strategy seems to be mostly focused on the plug-in front (i.e., SilverLight vs. Flash), it might be interesting for Microsoft to just re-use the Mozilla or Google JavaScript virtual machine. Why not?  Developers will be happy, and Microsoft would be able to fully focus on SilverLight and .Net.


7 Responses to “Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome Harmony”

  1. Reno Says:

    I use Google Chrome because it is really faster. And I use Firefox because of the many usefull plugins.

    Presently, they are complementary.

  2. ASP.Net Guy Says:

    I tried Chrome but will stick with Firefox for a while. The difficulty in reconciling browser rendering differences is getting insane. I’ve had more clients last year asking for Safari compatibility for their sites – generally because the CEO uses a Mac and we need to please him. Testing for IE6/7, FF2/3, Safari and now Chrome is about enough already. Will one of these finally unseat IE or will the industry continue to be stuck in the mode of having all these smaller players continue to push Microsoft to react but never actually panic.

    Adoption rates of alternate browsers here in the Midwest are very low among small businesses and the non-techie. Until those users can be convinced to change, FF, Chrome and the other players will continue to be second chair.

  3. Jim@Belosic ADG Advertising Says:

    I love Chrome…but I must say that some of the sites I’ve designed using a CMS have wierd formatting issues that I don’t run into in IE or Firefox. I’m homing that this will be resolved once it’s out of beta.

  4. Download Firefox Says:

    Excellent point of view. More people using open source Web browsers that support W3C Standards, such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, is good for the Web.

  5. matt Says:


    Call me crazy, but I think I’ll stick with firefox for now. Don’t want all my eggs in Google’s basket…maybe I’ll try safari when I convert to apple.

  6. azali-rahsia perniagaan dan pemasaran internet dirumah Says:

    I used both of them and it is really useful to me. It make easy to me find the relevant website. It is excellent updated from google.

  7. Irina Pinball Says:

    I have to say I still use Internet Explorer 6.0, little embarrassed. But 90% of the time its Firefox. I would like to try Chrome sometime, looks like a simple yet effective browser.