Firefox still struggles with Google

Recently come back to Firefox due to the sluggish performance of Chrome… but it seems I jumped from the frying pan into the fire. My three (most obvious) concerns:

  1. unsurprisingly, I don’t just use my PC for browsing and Firefox doesn’t always have focus. When I flick focus to it I have to wait while it (presumably) sucks down a mountain of resources before it becomes useable; essentially the same reason I left Chrome. From a layman’s perspective you’d think with all the horsepower a simple browser could be made responsive… why are we still using PC’s like it’s 1999?

  2. And this is the biggie… Gmail periodically disconnects from Firefox with it’s annoying timer suggesting its going to try a reconnect (which always fails). You not only have to close Gmail and probably lose work, you have to shut down Firefox and restart it - probably encountering a dialog that tells you Firefox is still running and a second instance can’t be run. May be just me, but I would have thought Gmail was in common usage - regardless, this is kinda “amateur hour”.

  3. This is just me, because it seems I’m the only one who doesn’t like being constantly pestered and notified, but this “New version - update?” almost every other day is beyond ridiculous… decently written software should not require anywhere near this many updates (if they are actually required and not just unessential new features like pockets or whatever). As I say, most people seem content to waste large swathes of productive time being diverted to secondary tasks but I’m no fan of it.

  1. Is your computer short on memory? Is there any use of swap? On my computers Firefox has no delay when I focus on it, but I have enough memory so nothing gets swapped.

  2. I haven’t seen this issue. When Gmail tries to connect it connects unless there is a network problem, and when it can’t connect Gmail doesn’t hang. I can’t remember losing any work (and I run the Nightly version of Firefox, not the release version).Are you running any extensions in Firefox? Try running in Troubleshooting Mode to see if Gmail is more reliable there.

  3. What version of Firefox are you running? The release version has only had five updates in 2023 – that’s one every 14 days. If you are running the beta version you should switch to release if updates bother you. (Beta has more updates because you get every beta test release. The purpose of running Beta is to help test new releases.)

  1. I love the use of terms like “short” and “enough” to describe a hardware requirement for what should be a fairly routine software usage (we are talking about a browser here right? When did that become heavy enough to need a hardware upgrade?)
    My computer has 8GB RAM; how much is considered “enough” to drive a browser these days? Not so much interested in monitoring memory usage or otherwise reverse-engineering software tools to perform basic functions on a PC - which is the point a lot seem to miss…

  2. Gmail hangs on Firefox are not repeatable but occur often enough to have been easily noticed if they are a systematic issue, which may not be the case for people running higher-end systems or obscure configurations. I’m just running plain vanilla Firefox on a plain vanilla laptop with no extensions or tweaks of any kind - which is why I assumed the issue might be observed more widely.

  3. Just using update 110.0.1; pretty sure I did an update last week and it told me SAME DAY after a restart there was a newer version. Since then I’ve been pestered with a dialog to update every time I give the browser focus. I tend to update manually and only when necessary so it would just be nice to be not constantly asked to answer the same question…

I recognize none of your issues.
And I’m also a Gmail user. Don’t remember experiencing any connection problems.
Admittedly I have what could probably be described as highend hardware. But I don’t see why it would matter much to connection issues. It sounds weird what you describe, not sure what the reason could be.

Don’t understand what you say about updates. Generally I think Firefox gets very similar number of updates compared to Chrome. But I think Chrome only updates silently when restarting, while Firefox offers you to update as soon as it detects there’s an update. What do you mean by “update manually and only when necessary?”. Generally I would think it would be stupid not to update immediately because there could be important security fixes. In general - like Chrome - Firefox has a major update approximately once a month. Then there’s typically one or two minor releases (bugfix releases including security fixes) in between. If you prefer a more conservative/cautious approach, you could try Firefox ESR. This only has one major update each year. But you still get the frequent bugfix releases and some minor “low-risk” (low risk of breaking something) updates.

Release schedule for both the regular Firefox and for Firefox ESR:

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  1. The question isn’t whether your system has enough memory to run a routine browser. The question is whether the other programs you are running leave enough memory for your browser to run.

@stig… running high-end hardware and not replicating the issue isn’t a super-helpful reply. On updates; installing unknown content without control is a better fit for my definition of stupidity - empirically (in my experience) this represents a higher risk to functionality.

@bjh… thanks, useful comment. Other apps are consuming 75% of my 8GB, so may be a concern - question is, if memory management is happening (swapping, etc), I could understand the performance hit, but why does Google drop/fail connection… and other questions like “how much physical RAM does Firefox actually need to run well”, “are others seeing this and not reporting it”, etc

I found myself here because I experience similar problems on my MacBook Pro (M2 processor, 16GB RAM). @Richard_Whitebrook You are not alone :slight_smile:

After Firefox has been running for a while, there is a noticeable lag when ⌘-tabbing into Firefox from other apps, or ⌘-`-tabbing between Firefox windows.

My typical recourse is to quit Firefox completely and restart; then things are snappy for a little while.

I always have Gmail and Google Calendar running in my browser — maybe the Google apps slow Firefox down over time?