Mozilla Exec: Google Slows Down YouTube on Non-Chrome Browsers


#1

Mozilla Exec: Google Slows Down YouTube on Non-Chrome Browsers

Charlie Nash 25 Jul 2018

Google slows down YouTube for users who don’t use the Silicon Valley giant’s own Chrome browser, according to an executive from Mozilla, which makes the Firefox browser.
In a series of tweets, the executive claimed Google was intentionally slowing down YouTube on Mozilla’s browser Firefox and Microsoft’s browser Edge.

“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,” claimed Mozilla Technical Program Manager Chris Peterson. “You can restore YouTube’s faster pre-Polymer design with this Firefox extension.” . . .


#2

A couple interesting things about this:

  1. The redesign that uses the problematic API occurred about a year ago. YouTube just hasn’t updated to Polymer 2.0 or 3.0.

  2. According to the Polymer project, Shadow DOM v0 is the only fully-supported version in Chrome right now. Edge itself does not fully support v1 (unsure of its v0 support). Firefox doesn’t seem to have ever fully supported v0.

In other words, Google has yet to update YouTube to a new Polymer version. This wasn’t some change made recently to give Chrome an edge. It’s just that now is when someone from a competitor, in this case Mozilla, brought it up. Microsoft probably wouldn’t have in this case since even allowing v1 wouldn’t help them. Allowing v1 is really a Firefox-specific fix right now, and this seems to be the first Mozilla has taken notice.

Basically, this seems to be standard development problems, not something done for anticompetitive reasons. Chris himself doesn’t appear to be that accusatory (certainly not as much as the media is), just explaining the problem and letting people know of a fix until Google gets around to updating its own stuff, whenever that is. Perhaps a Polymer update will receive more priority now that it is definitely affecting a sizable audience.


#3

Google needs to be broken up. But that won’t happen because the politicians on both sides are firmly in the control of corporations. If they decide to ever quit their racket they’ll end up making good money as a high ranking exec in a corporation and making good money being a director in others.


#4

Thanks for that explanation. This instance does look to just be technologies that are not aligned. While I am sure there are instances that could be pointed out as examples of Google acting bad this doesnt look like one of them.


#5

ZMystiCat . . .

Basically, this seems to be standard development problems, not something done for anticompetitive reasons.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Certainly this is a good “excuse”.

The problem is, there is always an excuse.

We’ll see.

For now I am not making a judgment upon their INTENTIONS on THIS issue. (But I MAY in the future).

If they had some real competition (if they were broken up) maybe this would be less apt to occur.


#6

Going after Google can also be profitable. Plenty of its competitors like Microsoft and Oracle have, in the past, teamed up to lobby against them. FairSearch is one example of this.

As someone who has done software development for a large tech company: This kind of stuff happens a lot.

While some bugs are found through monitoring, most software developers are more interested in developing new features than bug hunting and squashing. That’s why they need things like SRE teams to make sure that they aren’t so focused on new features that reliability gets lost. However, the bugs are generally brought up by customers and prioritized.

This is, as far as I’m aware, the first time that a bug affect Firefox has been brought up with YouTube’s use of Polymer. Perhaps Google knew of slower load times on Firefox and Edge, but when you’re at Google’s scale, bugs that no one is complaining about tend to have lower priority than those that are getting complaints.

I’m not sure how breaking them up in this case would work.

Let’s say that, theoretically, YouTube is broken off from the rest of Google, and Alphabet can’t stop it by making YouTube its own organization under Alphabet. It’ll instantly become a major Google customer, since it will still probably run on Google Cloud. Sure, YouTube could decide to one day move to AWS or Azure, but that’s probably not going to happen.

Further, this is an issue of YouTube seeming to favor Chrome over other browser. Even if they weren’t part of Google, though, they’ll still prioritize Chrome development over Firefox and Edge. It isn’t a matter of anticompetitive practices. It’s a matter that Chrome is vastly more popular than those two combined!

Further, YouTube will still probably be all over Google. It’s the most popular video-sharing platform, so its videos will continue showing up in Google Search results. It’s a very popular app, so it will probably continue to ship with Android or get downloaded quickly, like with iOS. Signing in with a Google account is also something many non-Google websites already do, and YouTube could continue just using that itself without adding a separate user system. It could also continue using Google’s ad network

While I understand concerns regarding Google’s size, I don’t see how a breakup would immediately help this situation, should it help at all. I guess YouTube could be bought up at that point, but that’s probably going to leave us in the same situation we’re in now. It’ll just be someone like Microsoft or Amazon instead of Google.


#7

Cathoholic . . .

If they had some real competition (if they were broken up) maybe this would be less apt to occur.

ZMystiCat . . .

I’m not sure how breaking them up in this case would work. . . .

While I understand concerns regarding Google’s size, I don’t see how a breakup would immediately help this situation, should it help at all. . . .

. . . It’ll just be someone like Microsoft or Amazon instead of Google.

I think the Justice Dept. needs to break up MORE than Google.

How would that help?

Think about if you MAY lose customer base
to the competition
because you neglected something to make your browser seamless . . . .

Vrs.

If you did NOT NEED to be concerned about that issue, and if you did NOT make your browser seamless it really wouldn’t matter.
You CAN’T lose your customer base to the COMPETITION,
when there is essentially NO COMPETITION.


#8

Sorry, but I can’t figure out what you’re talking about. Who is the “you” in each example? Who is the customer base? What is being neglected? Why are the examples focused on browser features rather than the web app itself? How does it at all relate to breaking up a company?


#9

ZMystiCat . . .

Sorry, but I can’t figure out what you’re talking about. Who is the “you” in each example?

That’s OK.

It was meant to be a generalization.

It has as much to do with principles of running a business, as it does with Google per se.

If you still can’t see that, then fair enough and I’ll probably leave it at that for you.

But other people WILL be able to understand this concept.


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