Mozilla exec says Google slowed YouTube down on non-Chrome browsers

YouTube has allegedly been slowed down on Mozilla’s Firefox and Microsoft’s Edge browsers.


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A Mozilla executive says Google’s redesign has made YouTube slower on Firefox and Edge.

Chris Peterson, the software community’s technical program manager, tweeted on Tuesday that the video sharing site loads at a fifth of the speed on non-Chrome browsers due to its architecture, as first reported by Sofpedia.

“YouTube’s Polymer redesign relies on the deprecated Shadow DOM v0 API only implemented in Chrome,” he wrote.

“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.”

Peterson suggested fixes for both Firefox — Mozilla’s browser — and Microsoft’s Edge that revert YouTube to a previous version using add-ons. 

He notes that YouTube “still serves the pre-Polymer design” to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 11, which launched in 2013 and has been replaced by Edge, and suggests that Google could have taken the same approach with Edge and Firefox.

Neither Google, Mozilla, Microsoft nor Peterson immediately responded to requests for comment.

In May, YouTube revealed that it has 1.8 billion people registered viewers every month and previously said that 400 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute — so its performance is a vital factor in people’s choice of browser.

Chrome is the most popular web browser and accounts for 59 percent of website usage, according to analytics firm StatCounter. Firefox accounts for 5 percent, while Edge has 2 percent.

Last weekend, Firefox added the ability to block autoplaying videos with audio to the Nightly test version of its browser.

On Tuesday, the latest version of Chrome expanded Google’s fight against surveillance and security risks by showing a “not secure” warning for any HTTP website.

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