Google Chrome Extensions vs Firefox Add-ons: Head to Head Comparison
By on December 13th, 2009

It has almost been a week now since Google went live with , and barely over a year since itself was introduced. On the other hand, Firefox has been around for 5 years now and there are tons of which are much more than useful.

chrome_extensions_vs_firefox_addons

So are Chrome Extensions better than Firefox add-ons? Well, lets take a look at some Head to Head comparison to get an idea. I must make a note that Firefox without add-ons is just another browser, and most of its popularity is because of the add-ons. Google Chrome on the other hand is much more faster, however it still lacks several useful extensions, which is why many users are not yet switching to Chrome.

Don’t Miss: Best and Most Useful Google Chrome Extensions

Round 1: Ease of Installation

The one thing I like about Chrome extensions and themes in general is the ability to install and uninstall Chrome extensions without restarting the browser. On the other hand, Firefox needs to be restarted every time you install an extension or theme. Firefox has made some headway in the form of Personas, however the promised introduction of restartless add-ons and theme installation is nowhere to be seen in Firefox 3.6.

Winner: Google Chrome

Round 2: Browser Performance with Extensions/Add-ons

Since the introduction of Google Chrome extensions, many users were skeptical whether installing extensions would slow down the browser or create an impact on its performance. Let’s just say that nothing of that sort will happen, Chrome runs extensions and tabs in separate processes, so no one extension can affect the entire browser. This is a technology which has made Chrome faster than other browsers and much more manageable.

On the other hand, Firefox is known to crawl if you install too many extensions. This may not be due to the browser itself, but try installing 10-15 add-ons and opening 10 tabs, you will notice high memory usage and a significant snag in Firefox performance.

Winner: Google Chrome

Round 3: Choice of Extensions and Features

Firefox has a huge developer base and the number of add-ons available are far more useful than what you will find for Google Chrome. In addition to that, you will also find several complicated and feature rich add-ons for Firefox. However, there are some really advanced extensions created for Chrome too, including Google’s own Speed Tracer. So we can safely assume that you will see some advanced and feature rich extensions for Chrome in the future.

Winner: Firefox

Round 4: Ease of Extension Management

Both Firefox and Google Chrome have decent extension management interfaces. Firefox checks for add-on updates at restarts, however, Chrome automatically updates the extensions. The automatic updates for Chrome extensions can be a bit annoying for users who don’t want to update to a newer version of the extension.

Winner: Firefox

Round 5: Security

Google Chrome runs extensions in a separate process in a sandbox environment, so a problem with one extension should not affect the others. However, Firefox does not have this feature. Quite recently, Firefox disabled some Microsoft add-ons forcefully due to security issues caused by the add-ons.

Winner: Google Chrome

Round 6: Extension/Add-on Categorization

The gallery is in its infancy, and right now there is no categorization, which makes it harder to find extensions you are specifically looking for. On the other hand, Mozilla has a well categorized add-on gallery which makes it very easy to find add-ons for specific needs.

Winner: Firefox

Final Round: Techie Buzz Verdict

Both Firefox add-ons and Google Chrome Extensions have their own plus points and negative points. However, it will take a few months to know which one is better as Chrome extensions are actively being developed as we speak. There is no doubt that many extensions which will be created for Chrome will be ported from Firefox, however, it would be interesting to see how many users switch to Chrome because of extensions.

Have you switched to Google Chrome after it started supporting extensions? Do you still think Firefox is the best browser? Tell us your views and opinions through your comments.

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Author: Keith Dsouza Google Profile for Keith Dsouza
I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website. I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

Keith Dsouza has written and can be contacted at keith@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://pctonic.net Ashutosh Mishra

    Hate to admit it, but at its current rate of progress, Chrome will run all over Firefox in 2-3 years' time. Firefox has really got to step it up and come up with some new and innovative ideas. In my opinion, switching to web-kit could be a huge boost for FF but the Mozilla team doesn't seem kin on doing that.

    • http://keithdsouza.com Keith Dsouza

      @Ashutosh – I believe that it would happen far more sooner than 2-3 years. Firefox is just concentrating on design, whereas features such as separate processes for tabs and restartless extension installation is no where to be seen. And to top it Firefox is a memory hogger.

      • http://pctonic.net Ashutosh Mishra

        Yeah right! Firefox's development pace was much faster than that of Internet Explorer. And now Chrome is developing much faster than Firefox. So in a way, Chrome is the new Firefox and Firefox is the new IE. :]

    • Jash

      Chrome already had the use cases ready, so they took that best from all the browsers and along with the powerful marketing of google (you can see chrome link at the google homepage), no wonder you can do something better which has already been done, same with MS, it has been doing the same thing with Apple for years.

  • Daniel

    As far as extensions are concerned, the Google equivalents for Firefox's AdblockPlus and FireGestures addons have much need of being revamped. Two top extensions that i believe any serious user needs.
    Firefox wins.

    With Cleo addon you can backup/restore all your extensions/themes in one click plus one restart.
    Firefox wins.

    Many other compatible addons Firefox may not make it in for Chrome in a while yet (perhaps a year or two). Diigo, Care2, Cybersearch, Feedly, WOT, DownloadThemAll, SlimSearch and how many other all time favs?
    Firefox wins again (for now).

    Beyond this though (and other things that others may want to add on), competition will be tight for Firefox (and Opera, and Maxthon3!).

    Question is. Will it bring in more users from IE or just those who are in the know?

    • http://keithdsouza.com Keith Dsouza

      @Daniel – I agree with you on several counts, and as you can see, whatever you said I agreed very well in the Round 3 and picked Firefox as the winner.

      Chrome extensions just went mainstream a week away so you can expect lots of improvements over the next few months.

      Also Feedly is available for Chrome and like I said in Round 6 many more extensions will be ported to Chrome and will improve over time.

  • Pingback: FireFox Addons vs Google Chrome Extensions: Will You Migrate? | Search Engine Journal

  • http://www.jaapwillem.com/ Jaap Willem

    I did change indeed, on my Windows computer.. On my Mac I still use Firefox sometimes, as well due to one extension, ubiquity

  • yasser

    Opera was my favorite browser (light, tabs, resume sessions,…etc.) until Firefox started catching up & offering those features & more. Chrome is now doing the same thing. It's just an endless process.!!!!

    I'm just wondering if there will ever be a limit on performance & extensions at which all browsers will end up the same…..?!?!

  • http://timelinelive.blogspot.com Nguyen Hoang Long

    Google is the fastest browser on processing Javascript which is available in approximately 99.99% on NET. I did a benchmark and found this result: http://goo.gl/BySS

  • Anonymous

    Google chrome’s extensions don’t slow down the browser because chrome’s extension interface is very basic. It’s like writing a program in C and offering to link with a plugin. Firefox’s plugin system is more complex and flexible, hence the extreme lag.
    Chrome’s extensions are ok-ish, but I can’t see how it’s better than firefox in security. Chrome has nothing remotely intricate like XPConnect wrappers, which allows the extensions to safely modify the page.

  • http://deadislandwiki.com anno1404

    RE: Ashutosh Mishra on December 13th, 2009:

    Hate to admit it, but at its current rate of progress, Chrome will run all over Firefox in 2-3 years’ time.

    Okay guys, its been 2 years since Mirsha wrote this, I am a loyal firefox user who is tired of how SLOW firefox is. DOES CHROME have as many add-ons/extensions as Firefox now? Is it better? Time for an updated article.

 
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