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Firefox 3 vs Opera vs Google Chrome

by James 28 November 2008 19 Comments

Hello people! Yesterday I finally decided to test Opera 9.5 when Google released its own browser, Google Chrome. I decided to test that one too and make a quick comparison between Firefox 3, the browser I’m currently using, Opera 9.5 and Google Chrome. Let’s see how they behaved.


There are three things I consider to be important for a web browser: speed, memory load and customization. Let’s compare the three browsers for these criteria.

I didn’t use a timer, so this is based only on my perception – the fastest browser is Google Chrome, Opera is just a little bit slower, and Firefox 3 is by far the slowest of the whole bunch.

Memory load
I loaded the same page in 5 tabs in each of the three browsers to see how much memory they take. Here are the results:
1. Opera – 17 MB
2. Google Chrome – 31 MB
3. Firefox 3 – 88 MB

There’s no question about it, Firefox is the most customizable browser around, you can add thousands of features and they all integrate in the browser. Opera’s widgets are somehow similar to the Firefox add-ons, but I found their way of implementing the widgets highly annoying: they don’t integrate in the browser, they open up separately.
Google Chrome is the less customizable of the three, no add-ons available for now.

I was looking to change my default browser, Firefox 3, because I was a little bit annoyed by the way it behaved and by the high memory load. I would have chosen Opera if the widgets would have been implemented differently. This may come as a surprise, but I’ll choose Google Chrome, I like it a lot because it’s simple and fast. And it imported my Firefox settings (bookmarks, passwords, etc) easily and with no errors. So then, Google Chrome it will be, hoping that it will become better and better!

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  • Anonymous said:

    I’m afraid you measurements on memory usage aren’t correct. When I start Chrome with say 3 tabs, I see 4 chrome.exe processes in the task list. You need to add up the numbers.
    For better process statistics my advise would be to use MS Sysinternals Process Explorer.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I had only one process showing in Task Manager with 5 tabs open. Maybe it was because all the tabs displayed the same website, but that’s what I did in all three browsers. I’ll keep an eye on this issue.

  • Anonymous said:

    not quite accurate, ionute 🙂 (si eu sunt roman)
    look for the tests made by the Devil Mountain Software company: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Resource-Hogs-Google-Chrome-and-IE8-Beta-2-Compared-to-Firefox-3-0-1-92927.shtml

    FF rules!

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I know that the test might not be as acuurate and professional as the one you mention, but so far I’ve been using Chrome for two days and it works great – a lot faster than Firefox, never crashed, never jammed my system although I work with more than 10 tabs sometimes. Firefox was crashing quite often lately 🙁 I would have chosen Opera but that widget system was simply driving me nuts.

  • Anonymous said:

    Why not compare MS Internet Explorer here too. Um, this site is for Windows Freeware, and IE is free too with Windows. Firefox & Chrome appear not to be able to save webpages as a single (archive) file. Thus I don't use the others.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I gave up on IE years ago, but I always tested the new versions that came out. I was disappointed every single time.

  • Anonymous said:

    hi i have a qweustion
    can i better use fire fox or google chrome then windows IE?
    sorry for the bad english.
    greetings kevin

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I’m using Chrome right now and I’m pretty satisfied. My second pick would be Opera. The third would be Firefox.

  • Anonymous said:

    I don’t get why you finally picked Chrome over Opera, since you report that it’s more customisable, lower on resources and only slighty slower.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I chose Chrome because it’s faster. Opera is more customizable, but I don’t like those widgets, so I wouldn’t have used them anyway.

  • Danbo19 said:

    I was using Google chrome exclusively for quite awhile after it came out. But firefox just released 3.5 beta so I decided to check it out. With a few tweaks, it can be just as fast as google. However the beta isn’t as stable, and google just plain works. Always. So its a tossup for me, I have been bouncing back and forth between them.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Switching to Chrome wasn’t an easy decision for me, I’ve been bouncing back and forth myself. However, I’m keeping an eye on Firefox, it’ll be a nice battle between the future versions of these two programs.

  • rono said:

    Just try to use latest software called cometbird using mozila engine it is much lighter & faster than mozila,google chrome & opera.But it also support all addon of mozila firefox.So it is a powerfull browser which is fast.light & more customizing capability.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Cometbird looks really interesting, I guess more competition would eventually lead to progress. Anyway, it looks great after a quick first glimpse, thanks for the suggestion.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Thanks for the review, it will be published as a guest post 🙂

  • Willi said:

    ever since you published the Google Chrome report I have been using it and was pretty satisfied. Now I stumbled upon another browser (like we need another one 🙁 ) – but I think you should check it out.
    Very customizable and just as fast as Google Chrome – incredibly light weight.
    The World Browser.
    I am torn between the 2 now — maybe I’ll use both.

  • Jon said:

    Hey anonymous from the top, it shows five different processes because each tab is a new process in chrome, so that if it is freezing up you can kill the process without ending the whole browser.
    4 tabs equals 4 processes plus the browser itself which makes 5 processes. This can be better for security and for keeping the browser available without ending it just because of a tab.

  • rono said:

    Just try lunascape worlds fast hybrid engine web browser build by japan.http://www.lunascape.tv/

  • 72 Programs For A Freeware Only PC | Freeware Mission said:

    […] Google Chrome – I like it better that Firefox because it’s a lot faster, more reliable although less customizable. […]

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