Mossberg on Chrome on Mac

Walt Mossberg, on Twitter:

If you use a Mac, and you insist on using Chrome, stop complaining about speed, fan noise, or battery life. It’s well known that Chrome is a resource and battery hog, especially on Macs. Safari is fully capable, quite fast and very privacy & security focused. Just use Safari.

If you’re a Firefox fan, that’s good too. My point is just that Chrome, which years ago worked great on Macs, is now a big problem, and that Chrome users with degraded Mac performance or weaker battery life should look to their browser choice, and not blame the hardware.

There’s no question that this is a tradeoff — Chrome is, in terms of web technologies, more featureful than Safari. There are web apps that work in Chrome that don’t work in Safari, or work better in Chrome than they do in Safari. But the tradeoff in resource consumption is significant.

It’s funny reading the replies to Mossberg’s tweet. A bunch of people suggest using Brave or Edge or Opera — all of which use Chrome’s Chromium HTML/JavaScript engine. In terms of resource consumption, none of these browsers are any better than Chrome. The difference is in the browser interface — an important difference, but irrelevant to what Mossberg is addressing.

It’s also funny how angry some Chrome fans are about this, particularly web developers. They argue that the problem is that Safari is slow to adopt Chrome-first web technologies without acknowledging that the reason Safari has better performance and stronger privacy goes hand-in-hand with the fact that these technologies Safari hasn’t adopted are resource-heavy and potentially privacy-invasive.

Personally, I use Chrome solely for logging into Google services. Otherwise I avoid it for privacy reasons. (No reason to worry about Google and privacy while I’m logged in, using a Google service.) For anything non-Google that doesn’t work in Safari, I flit between Firefox, Brave, and Edge.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020