Firefox 1.5 is the first browser I specif­i­cally re­mem­ber us­ing (discounting AOL, which was a lit­tle more than a browser). Back then Firefox users were hip, the cut­ting edge. We’ve got tabs, man, so you can visit mul­ti­ple web pages in one win­dow! Eventually Firefox got bloated, tak­ing up too much mem­ory, and my brand loy­alty only lasted un­til about six months af­ter the re­lease of Google Chrome.

A chubby prairie dog
The de­f­i­n­i­tion of bloated

Now Google Chrome is bloated. And ever since Google Reader was dropped, I’ve won­dered if it’s wise to have all my eggs in one Google bas­ket.

So I’m open to us­ing an­other browser, but I do have some pre­req­ui­sites for switch­ing:


This should re­ally go with­out say­ing, and all ma­jor browsers do fall into this cat­e­gory. Evergreen browsers up­date fre­quently & in­cre­men­tally, in­stead wait­ing years in-be­tween re­leases, and then need­ing to unin­stall the old ver­sion and in­stall the new ver­sion from scratch. Barbaric.

An old photograph of two men talking
I in­stalled the lat­est ver­sion of Netscape Navigator last fort­night!”

With as quickly as things move in web land, we need browsers that stay up to date.


I want to use the same browser at home and at work. I want to book­mark an ar­ti­cle at work and read it at home. I want to search my en­tire brows­ing his­tory, not just my his­tory in that lo­ca­tion. And I don’t want to in­stall ex­ten­sions sep­a­rately on each dif­fer­ent com­puter I use (although if I dis­able an ad­don I don’t want that synced; I don’t need my Chromecast ex­ten­sion at work for ex­am­ple). This leads right into…


It makes sense to use the same browser on desk­top and mo­bile, but I don’t have to, as long as I can still sync book­marks be­tween desk­top and mo­bile. Right now I’m on Android, so it has to work well there.

Dev tools

On desk­top I need web de­vel­oper tools. Partly for work. Partly for de­vel­op­ing per­sonal sites, like this one. Partly for when I come across an in­ter­est­ing fea­ture or font and want to look un­der the hood.

Ad blocker

I dis­able ad block­ing for sites that I like, and that ask nicely. But for sites I don’t know, or don’t trust, or don’t like, or that don’t ask, ads are gonna be blocked.


My one es­sen­tial ex­ten­sion. KeePass is a pass­word stor­age app that I love. However, I love it less each time I have to open the ap­pli­ca­tion, log in, search for the web­site, copy the user­name, paste it into the browser, copy the pass­word, then paste it into the browser. Much nicer to have it au­to­mat­i­cally fill in cre­den­tials (chromeIPass). On mo­bile, it would be nice to re­move as many of the above steps as pos­si­ble (KeePass2Android + Google Chrome Mobile is cur­rently the best so­lu­tion on Android).

Site search from the ad­dress bar

I can’t re­mem­ber the last time I had to use the old Google trick of prepend­ing site:” to a search to get re­sults from a spe­cific web­site. I love be­ing able to search sites from the ad­dress bar.

Searching for Richard Scarry
It’s a busy world

I don’t think these are un­rea­son­able re­quests. I’m will­ing to give every­one a shot, and see who meets all seven re­quire­ments. Except Safari for Windows. Not gonna do it.