Tip for web browser users out there.
If your browser is sucking in some way, like it's slow on certain sites, or it's crashing, or being unresponsive, or anything else, don't think this:
"Dang, this browser used to be great, but it just sucks now. What happened to the developers? Did they just stop caring? This is pathetic, I long for the days when this browser was all about being awesome and wasn't such a huge piece of junk."
Why should you not think this? Because, in most cases, the problems you're seeing aren't ones affecting all users of that browser, and they're not ones the development team is aware of. If your browser is crashing every ten seconds this might be hard for you to believe, but it's quite plausible for one person's browser to crash every ten seconds and 100,000 other people to see no crashes at all. So yeah, you're getting a bad experience, but it's not usually because of some large-scale downward trend in the quality of that browser, it's some more specific set of local problems.
This even applies if you have friends that confirm your anecdotes. "Anyone else's <browser name> behaving terribly lately?" is pretty much guaranteed to get affirmative responses no matter which browser you name
. Then people will talk about how they switched browsers and life got much better. But a day later there will be a thread that flips the names of those two browsers around and you'll still see tons of posts in it.
So what should
you do about this?
Basically, you should ensure the developers of your browser are made aware of your problems, so they can fix them, for you and others. Yes, I just said above that you may be 1 in 100,000 having a bug, but given the size of modern browser userbases that could still mean ten thousand people seeing the same issue. There are two ways you can do this:
(1) Make sure you turn on anonymous stat collecting and crash reporting. I believe Chrome, Firefox, and IE all have this; in Chrome, open chrome://settings/ , click "Show advanced settings" at the bottom, and check "Automatically send usage statistics and crash reports to Google". This provides critical data we use to find and fix crashes; for example, it gives us your OS, browser version, hashes of installed extensions, and a crash stack. With that information it's much more likely we can find and fix crash bugs.
(2) File bugs for any consistent problems you see. Firefox and Chrome both have easily-usable public bug trackers; you can file Chrome bugs at http://crbug.com/new
. Browser bogs down when there are more than three embedded videos? File it. Browser takes two minutes to load your startup tabs? File it. Browser hitches for a second when you type a key in the address bar? File it. The worst thing that can happen is that your bug gets closed. The best thing is that you end up providing the information we needed to find and fix some performance regression affecting not only you but tons of other people. File bugs!
I won't claim we browser developers don't go through periods when our products have more bugs -- we absolutely do -- but I can guarantee you that not only the Google developers but the folks at Mozilla, Microsoft, etc. want to make the best products they can. If something is so bad you need to switch browsers just to keep your sanity, by all means do so; but whether it be for your old browser or your new one, following the steps above helps not only you but everyone else too.