Browsers and the Agony of Choice
A while ago I decided to stop using Mozilla's Firefox (version 3, as it was then) as my browser of choice, opting instead for Google's Chrome (those being the only two valid options, since I wouldn't touch IE and wasn't so keen on the smaller offerings). There were a number of reasons for this, most notable the bloat I was finding in Firefox and I preferred Chrome's minimalist approach. All good then.
Then Firefox 4 came out. I took a cursory look at this and liked what I saw, but here's the rub: I didn't switch back from Chrome. Firefox certainly appeared to be moving in the right direction (copying Chrome in many areas, or so it seemed to me) but I had made the switch to Chrome and Firefox hadn't done enough to woo me back.
This is actually the situation with a lot of software that you can download for free (or for very little) over the internet these days. Once you start using it, there is a natural inertia to changing what you know and trying something new: it's just too much hassle. Trying something new needs to give you a significant boost in some area you are interested in before it is worth your while suffering the pains of moving. I often wonder if that is the main reason Linux hasn't yet taken over the world. Of course, when it comes to file sharing, the situation is often compounded by the fact that to move from one file sharing provider to another involves the significant hassle of moving all your data from their cloud to the new provider's cloud.
I have recently come across some indications that I may switch back to Firefox in the near future. A few sites I have been visiting have had quirks that I merely assumed were to do with the site being poorly programmed. Well, ok, in essence they are, but those quirks have been fixed for me by using Firefox to view them. Leaving aside the obvious "Shame on you, site, for not testing your user experience on Chrome" statement, I do find it interesting that even in these heady days of browser choice and interoperability, there are still marked differences in the end experience offered by browsers.
So now I find myself in a browser limbo, unsure whether to commit to the new Firefox and this unwilling to invest more effort in configuring Chrome to suit my tastes. Literally, the agony of choice.
Image credit: Maggie Smith