Firefox vs Chrome

Microsoft recently announced they were moving their Edge browser to the Chromium renderer. That makes me sad, not least for the risk of monoculture, but mostly because Google does not have my best interests at heart.

Google is an advertising company. They will not allow anything into Chromium that will have an adverse effect on advertising. To whit, anything that discourages human interaction will likely never make it into Chromium.

Eye catching is the name of the game in advertising. Any way to drag my attention to a particular point is the goal. We humans, having evolved as a potential prey animal, have a finely tuned visual system that will alert us to movement. “Oh, crap! Leopard in the leaves! Run!”

Case in point: animated gifs. Blinking, flashing, obnoxious animated gif have been the advertisement standard since Netscape banner ads debuted. Then came Flash. Now HTML5 has the <video> tag. My brain feels under assault.

Firefox has had the ability to disable animated gifs for years and years. There is still no built-in way to disable gif in Chrome. There are plug-ins that claim to halt/block animated gif, but I’ve never found one that actually works. The only solution to Chrome has been to globally block images and cherry pick sites to allow images (a whitelist). Firefox +1, Chrome -1.

Flashblock and other plugins would cure the scourge of Flash videos. Those plugins also made most of the web loading times tolerable. Chrome has “ask permission to run” for their built-in Flash player. Firefox +1, Chrome +1.

And now Flash is dying (buh bye) and HTML5 <video> is taking over. Video support is baked into the browser. Now the web is all about <video> advertising. Firefox to the rescue again.  Seems to work so far. Firefox +1, Chrome -1.

Total score so far: Firefox 3, Chrome 1.  Long live Firefox.

Firefox about:config

image.animation_mode;none  <– disable animated gifs (has worked for years)

media.autoplay.default;1  <– stop auto play HTML video (works so far)


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