Web Browser Grand Prix VIII: Chrome 16, Firefox 9, And Mac OS X

Crowning Two Champions In Windows 7 And OS X

Web Browser Grand Prix Champion, The Windows Circuit

Although Firefox demonstrates the least number of wins (one less than IE9, Opera, and Safari, and two less than Chrome), it achieves the highest number of strong scores and only turns in one weak performance. Firefox 9 solidifies Mozilla's Web Browser Grand Prix championship, which was precariously handed out to Firefox 7 last September. Congratulations Mozilla! It's good to see that this browser war veteran still has some fight left in it.

Chrome 16 is still just a minor performance update away from matching or perhaps even surpassing Firefox 9 though, and the recent improvements to Firefox seem to have absolutely no effect on Google's march to the top of Web browser market share.

Opera is still hanging onto a strong third-place position with version 11.60, especially considering it still lacks HTML5 hardware acceleration and WebGL support. But Opera 12 is on the way, and it promises to seriously shake things up, just like the last two whole-number releases out of Norway.

Microsoft Internet Explorer has been stagnating for several months, and it's really starting to show. Last year, IE9 won two consecutive Web Browser Grand Prix championships and stayed near the top of the pack for some time afterward. The browser now resides at the bottom of the heap, tied for last place Apple's offering in Windows 7.

While the Windows version of Safari moved forward since our last look, the progress isn't enough to move the browser out of last place. In Windows 7, that is...

Web Browser Grand Prix Champion, The Mac OS X Circuit


Despite the best efforts of Google, Mozilla, and Opera, Apple Safari retains its OS X Web Browser Grand Prix crown. With a staggering number of wins and an equally impressive lack of weaknesses, Safari 5.1.2 simply owns on its native platform.

The OS X runner-up, on the other hand, is highly debatable. We're going call it in favor of incumbent number two, Google Chrome. Firefox 9 really pulled ahead from the last-place finish it received back in August, though.

Unfortunately, the Mac version of Opera is a mere shadow of its Windows version, landing the Norwegian powerhouse in last place.  

Operating System Comparison

The red bars that occasionally appear in our charts denote when an OS X-based browser beats all of the Windows 7-based competition. We use the word occasionally because we only had to switch the Mac OS X green bars to red four times. That's four out of 35 eligible charts, as opposed to the 10 out of 29 OS X earned on the Hackintosh system we used in Web Browser Grand Prix VI: Firefox 6, Chrome 13, Mac OS X Lion. While many Mac fans expected to see OS X really hammer Windows 7 on a genuine Mac, the home court advantage didn't do Apple any favors.

So, Redmond wins yet another Mac versus PC Web Browser Grand Prix, this time on a mobile system (and a brand new Core i7-based MacBook, to boot). Ouch.

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    Top Comments
  • Been using Firefox for years - it works best for me.
    21
  • Nobody else seems to have noticed that this article tries to rate browsers by speed differences that are far less than the blink of an eye. A browser is a tool - just use the ones you want and stop bothering people about their own choices. (I keep two or three loaded on my machine in case one of them has an issue with a particular webpage)
    10
  • Other Comments
  • Been using Firefox for years - it works best for me.
    21
  • This makes it worth putting up with the constant updates on Aurora. :)
    -1
  • The best part is I'm quite sure that this is using an out of the box build. Using a PGO compiled nighlty build, with about:config properly configured, and addons like Adblock/NoScript blocking things from ever loading Firefox is significantly faster than these benchmarks state.
    9
  • I have use firefox and chrome interchangeably for a few years now. I enjoy chromes streamlined design but have recently discovered the noscript addon for Firefox and have since favored Firefox. I have also found Firefox to be more compatable with school webpages and application pages. Still either firefox or chrome is better than IE.
    2
  • Good point Stoof. I have IE9 and the newest FF, and with the FF add ons, it blows IE out of the water. The majority of IE pages like yahoo video links, boxingscene etc take 6 or more seconds to load, whereas FF is only a fraction of the time.

    I think add ons are much easier to find with FF, and there seems to be a wider variety. Then again I do realize this article wasn't about browsers with add ons.
    4
  • The only one thing I hate about firefox is that it takes a lot of time to launch.
    4
  • stoofThe best part is I'm quite sure that this is using an out of the box build. Using a PGO compiled nighlty build, with about:config properly configured, and addons like Adblock/NoScript blocking things from ever loading Firefox is significantly faster than these benchmarks state.

    Yes, we're using everything stock. There is no one-size-fits-all combination of plug-ins to standardize on, and every browser might not have the exact same plugins available. So that throws out a fair comparison between browsers - wouldn't work for the WBGP. Perhaps an article concentrating specifically on Firefox (or another Web browser) with and without various plug-ins would clear that up?
    6
  • Please use Firefox's latest logo, the one with the shiny orb in Mozilla's press kit! The one they're using now is the old one. http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/brand/identity/
    6
  • Chrome is the easiest to use if you've got lots of tabs open. Scrolling through them with mouse is a breeze and tab management is just excellent.
    -2
  • frost_fenix. I enjoy chromes streamlined design but have recently discovered the noscript addon for Firefox and have since favored Firefox.


    Why do people seem to forget Chrome has this built in. All you have to do is go into the options menu and disable JavaScript.
    -9
  • Firefox!!! oh yeah. i use ff and the new one kinda feels snappier. the addons are awesome.
    i know i know, chrome is faster, has market share, ie 9/10 are coming up, blah blah. but ff can still fight. google's benevolent (read: to antitrust-pacifier) fund injection should help ff. besides, chrome is a sneakware bundled with numerous softwares. ff has scriptblockers that block statcounter. :D
    0
  • Nobody else seems to have noticed that this article tries to rate browsers by speed differences that are far less than the blink of an eye. A browser is a tool - just use the ones you want and stop bothering people about their own choices. (I keep two or three loaded on my machine in case one of them has an issue with a particular webpage)
    10
  • Mozilla-fanPlease use Firefox's latest logo, the one with the shiny orb in Mozilla's press kit! The one they're using now is the old one. http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/brand/identity/

    Thanks for the feedback, and good catch. I must have goofed and started making the graphics with an older file when I already had the newer one. Doh! It's all fixed now, and it should update momentarily.
    2
  • Google Chrome basically sucked after they removed the Side Tabs option.
    -4
  • Have you ever noticed that Firefox hangs up whenever you switch tabs while attaching a file? Or is it only for me?
    2
  • Dear Adam, you might want to remove the html5.com test as it represents nothing but a checklist. In no way does it test the correct implementation or functioning of html5 features.
    6
  • I haven't read the name Soyo in a review since a decade ago...
    2
  • nevertellChrome is the easiest to use if you've got lots of tabs open. Scrolling through them with mouse is a breeze and tab management is just excellent.


    Firefox can do the same with tab mix plus. I couldn't live without scrolling though my tabs.
    1
  • Firefox wins, yet Chrome is #1 in usage.
    Just like VHS vs Beta, NTSC vs PAL or Gasoline vs Electric... just because the public likes something does not mean it is the best solution.
    2
  • Great review Adam...as usual! Awesome work. A good read with my morning coffee! :)
    1