Wednesday, December 19, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Google Intentionally Favoring Chrome, Hurting Edge?

JoshuaJB (via comex, Catalin Cimpanu):

I very recently worked on the Edge team, and one of the reasons we decided to end EdgeHTML was because Google kept making changes to its sites that broke other browsers, and we couldn’t keep up. For example, they recently added a hidden empty div over YouTube videos that causes our hardware acceleration fast-path to bail (should now be fixed in Win10 Oct update). Prior to that, our fairly state-of-the-art video acceleration put us well ahead of Chrome on video playback time on battery, but almost the instant they broke things on YouTube, they started advertising Chrome’s dominance over Edge on video-watching battery life. What makes it so sad, is that their claimed dominance was not due to ingenious optimization work by Chrome, but due to a failure of YouTube. On the whole, they only made the web slower.

Now while I’m not sure I’m convinced that YouTube was changed intentionally to slow Edge, many of my co-workers are quite convinced - and they’re the ones who looked into it personally. To add to this all, when we asked, YouTube turned down our request to remove the hidden empty div and did not elaborate further.

And this is only one case.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Make no mistake, Google crippling GSuite on iPad is absolutely intentional. They can singlehandedly propel the narrative that MobileSafari isn’t a good browser, especially in businesses and education. If Apple were to improve Safari, Google would just break something new

Nick Heer:

Chromium is, by all accounts, an excellent rendering engine. It is not inherently bad for Microsoft to switch its rendering engine, and it is not even necessarily bad that there is less diversity amongst rendering engines. The concern is that Google’s rendering engine is not separate from Google as a company, and its manipulative and self-preferential tactics for directing the web in a direction it favours.

Malte Ubl:

I see some folks sharing anecdotes abound Edge browser development. And boy, do I have anecdotes. The EdgeHTML side of the story is totally made up, because I have no insider knowledge whatsoever–but who would let that go in the way of a good anecdote?

[…]

I happened to work on an apparently sufficiently popular website Google+ (RIP) to make their “Must under all circumstances work” compatibility list.

First this felt pretty cool. We tested the site in Edge and it seemed to just work. Nice.

But then shit started to fall apart. Literally every day our dev team broke Edge.

It turned out the browser implemented the sparsest possible subset of the web platform to make Google and other popular websites work. And literally nothing else.

So, whenever you added code that used an API which was reasonable to assume present in a browser that managed to start up the app, that just didn’t work.

It seemed like at times they implemented web APIs in a way that only accepted exactly the arguments that we happened to pass.

Previously: Microsoft EdgeHTML Replaced by Chromium, On Switching From an iPad Pro and a MacBook to a Pixelbook.

3 Comments

Lack of web rendering engine diversity is bad for the web. Time for Apple to resurrect Safari for Windows? Would that help??

(But uh, Apple should not do that thing where they include Safari in the "Apple Software Update" pop-up that users of Win iTunes or Win iCloud get. That was not cool.)

I think the simple fact right now is that web standards are so complex that it is no longer possible to build a browser from scratch, not even if you have all the money in the world. Let's hope that Microsoft will fork Chromium soon.

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