A new report suggests Google is purposely slowing YouTube on non-Chrome browsers like Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox. It seems the company has been deliberately hampering performance of the new YouTube Polymer UI.
Chris Peterson, Technical Program Manager for Mozilla found the technology that underpins Polymer is only available in Chrome. He took to twitter to explain this means Edge and Firefox run the video site slower:
“YouTube page load is 5x slower in Firefox and Edge than in Chrome because YouTube’s Polymer redesign relies on the deprecated Shadow DOM v0 API only implemented in Chrome,” Peterson explained.
“YouTube serves a Shadow DOM polyfill to Firefox and Edge that is, unsurprisingly, slower than Chrome’s native implementation. On my laptop, initial page load takes 5 seconds with the polyfill vs 1 without. Subsequent page navigation perf is comparable.”
Taken at face value, the web browser market appears to be competitive. Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera have browsers that gain regular new features and are becoming more secure. However, a closer look shows the market is not really that open because Google’s Chrome simply dominates.
YouTube page load is 5x slower in Firefox and Edge than in Chrome because YouTube's Polymer redesign relies on the deprecated Shadow DOM v0 API only implemented in Chrome. You can restore YouTube's faster pre-Polymer design with this Firefox extension: https://t.co/F5uEn3iMLR
— Chris Peterson (@cpeterso) July 24, 2018
Google has not commented on the situation, but there are some things to consider. If the Chrome technology is not a requirement but something Google included to stimmy competition, then the ramifications could be huge. The company is already in trouble in Europe for monopolizing both shopping searches and Android browser competition.
However, it is worth considering the other side of the coin. If an underpinning tech is needed to run Polymer, how could it be Google’s fault if Edge or Firefox lack that technology.
The real question here seems to be is Google limiting performance on rival browsers on purpose?