Chrome Extensions, Enough to Replace FireFox?

When FireFox was released most users adopted it for the speed and standards support. But with Opera and Chrome now running circles around it in speed and standards, why is FireFox's user base still growing?

Extensions, extensions, extensions. While FireFox still holds the lead in sheer volume and variety of extensions, Chrome has caught up enough for me to make it my primary browser.

Lets take a look at the some of the most popular FireFox Extensions, a few extensions I can't live without, their Chrome alternatives and the pros and cons of each.

AdBlock: Unquestionably the most "must have" add-on for any browser. Surfing the web just isn't the same without it.

Chrome Alternative: AdBlock
While the Chrome version of Adblock renders up ad-less pages, it's still downloading those ads in the background. If you're running ad-block to reduce your bandwidth usage, the Chrome version of Ad-Block may not cut it for you.

NoScript: Extra security and speed while browsing by blocking JavaScript, Java and other executable content. Stops most of the webs worst browser attacks cold in their tracks.

Chrome Alternative: None
While there are built-in options to only allow javascript only on sites you specifically allow, at this time the necessary functions to enable this sort of blocking aren't available in Chrome. But don't despair, according to the NoScript developers these functions will show up eventually.

FireBug: Web development tools integrated right into FireFox. Shows download times, HTML, CSS, scripts and live edit any of them.

Chrome Alternative: None Needed (for small values of none)
Chrome includes a dev console that mimics 90% of the functionality of FireBug. To access the developer console at any time in Chrome press Control (Command on Mac) + Shift + J.

GreaseMonkey: Modify any website to look better or perform better. Add functions that were not previously available.

Chrome Alternative: None needed! Most GreaseMonkey scripts will install themselves directly as extensions in Chrome. Not 100% compatible, you'll just have to test to see which extensions work.

FireGestures: Mouse gestures for FF. Switch to a new tab, open a tab, close a tab or create your own commands. Opera has this functionality built-in.

Chrome Alternative: Smooth Gestures
Exactly the same functionality, exactly the same performance.

Unlinker: Take a list of unlinked or linked image URLs and in one click have those images load on the page.

Chrome Alternative: SB Unlinker
Same functionality. Only down-side is instead of the unlinking function residing in the right-click menu like FF, it resides in a button in the navigation bar. Functionally its perfect.

Download Statusbar: Skip FireFox's native download window and use this much more streamlined and still functional add-on.

Chrome Alternative: None needed!
It's almost as if Chrome stole the idea from Download Statusbar. As they say; Imitation is sincerest form of flattery.

Smooth Scrolling: FireFox has this built-in, but for some reason the Chrome developers didn't feel the need for it. I'm such a stickler for smooth scrolling that this one lack of feature prevented me from using Chrome at all for quite a while.

Chrome Alternative: SmoothScroll
It does exactly what it says, and because of its customization is better than FireFox's scrolling.

A few of the extensions available for both FireFox and Chrome:

Xmarks: Bookmarks and Password Syncing. Password syncing not supported on Chrome currently.

Cooliris: Transforms your browser into a full-screen 3D Wall for searching, viewing and sharing the Web.

Stylish: Lets you easily install themes and skins for Google, Facebook, YouTube, Orkut, and other sites.

Web Developer: Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.

With these extensions Chrome has all of the flexibility plus an extra dose of speed versus FireFox. I've taken the plunge and am now using Chrome as my primary browser. The next version of FireFox is aiming to take back the speed crown by incorporating a lot of the features that makes Chrome so great, running tabs and plugins as independent processes being one of those.

  1. avatar Thomas K. says:

    Very good article!
    The main reason I haven't replaced Opera as my main browser is that Chrome seems to have issues with flash, at least on my PC.

    What issues? It wont let me use the controls of flash videos (volume, disable ads, scroll through the video etc)

    Maybe it's that I am using windows 7. Maybe this wont be an issue on XP.

  2. avatar Matt says:

    You should try out the version 5 beta of Chrome. They've build the flash plug-in right into the distribution. It may solve some of your issues.

  3. avatar Thomas K. says:

    Thanks a million Matt. I will definitely give it a shot!

  4. avatar Konrad says:

    What would be an alternative to Weave? I love having synchronized bookmarks on all my computers. I also love having them stored securely and not scanned by Google.

  5. avatar Matt says:

    Have you tried Xmarks? Its linked in the article. It does bookmark syncing across IE/FF/Chrome.

  6. avatar Blaise says:

    As an alternative to greacemonkey, I recommend using an extension for chrome - called Black Canvas Script Handler!

  7. avatar BlackMaster says:

    thanks. useful post

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