A Technical programmer at Mozilla has accused Google of slowing down YouTube on other browsers. Chris Peterson –the guy pointing a finger at Google- says since Google owns both YouTube and Chrome, they are implementing some exclusive tools that rob Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge users of the best experience:
YouTube page load is 5-times slower in Firefox and Edge than in Chrome, because YouTube’s Polymer redesign relies on the deprecated Shadow DOM v0 API only implemented in Chrome. YouTube serves a Shadow DOM polyfill to Firefox and Edge that is, unsurprisingly, slower than Chrome’s native implementation.
Why so technical Mr Peterson? I resorted to the simple and straightforward eye-test to determine if my experience was worse off in eitheir Edge or Mozilla and I must say I don’t entirely agree with Peterson. The issues that came up for me were less to do with speed actually…
Is there an impact on the end users?
In terms of speed, it seems there is next to no impact on end users. I didn’t see a difference in load times between the videos I played but Mozilla developers are looking at more technical issues and maybe they are looking at benchmarks. I played the same video at the same resolution in Chrome, Edge, Opera and Mozilla and honestly, I didn’t see any difference. What I can definitely say is that in our eye-test Chrome was not 5x faster than any other browser.
If however you use Mozilla and you can actually spot the difference, you can install the Restore Classic YouTube extension. Edge users I don’t know what to tell you.
Is Chrome more optimized?
Some weird things I did notice during testing include a prompt that came up whilst I was using Edge that seems to suggest that the Edge browser is insecure. One pop-up read:
Google recommends using Chrome, a fast and secure browser. Try it?
Factually, this statement isn’t inaccurate but Google uses suggestive language that seems to say the browser you are using (which isn’t Chrome) is insecure.
Another odd thing I noticed was that one video was accessible in Ultra HD quality if viewed in the Chrome browser but in the Edge browser it was only limited to Full HD which is inferior. This problem was exclusive to Edge and Mozilla, as Opera (desktop) and Chrome browsers were loading the videos at the highest resolution. Maybe the Mozilla Programmer was right after all and Google are specifically targeting them and Edge.
Is there a problem?
I think Google is just exercising a right they have and I don’t see the problem. What are your thoughts? Are Google playing fair? Does it even matter which browser YouTube is optimised for, especially when we consider that the Chrome browser belongs to Google?