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FireFox Flocked: Feature Glut vs. Performance

Mozilla has released the scoop on Coop (sorry, couldn’t resist), a product that will incorporate social networking right into the FireFox browser.

This cannot be good news to social browser Flock (originally built on Mozilla) says TechCrunch. (Flock is another story on it’s own right: pre-release over-hype, underwhelming early beta, still waiting for a 1.0 product). Not everyone thinks Flock is .. well, *flocked*, for example Matthew Ingram and Mark Evans think the more competition the better.

But there is a bigger story here. The initial reaction on TechCrunch is almost unanimously negative – and it’s not the typical Arrington-bashing pile-on.

  • “I hope they offer a version without. I want a browser, not a social network.”
  • “I’d rather see them address the resource-hogging issues in Firefox. If social-networking features cause it to use any more system resources, I’ll need a freakin’ dedicated server just to browse the web.”
  • “It does sound exciting but why does Mozilla want to add further memory hogging features in firefox.”
  • “I don’t want anything more in Firefox until they stop it consuming 98% of my CPU cycles.”
  • “Firefox is still a resource hog. I’d rather see that fixed before it becomes a social browser.”

Clearly, users want their browsers to work reliably, fast, without becoming a resource-hog. I’ve said before, performance is a feature, and apparently it’s becoming feature #1 for many – yours truly included. I must be getting old, not getting this social “networking 24×7″ – heck, I don’t even watch Justin.tv smile_omg

Now, to be real, I’m sure (?) Coop will be an optional add-on, so those who don’t want it can continue with a more lightweight browser. But this mini-revolt at TechCrunch is a good reminder that the memory-hog issue has been present and largely unaddressed by Mozilla for years. I think it also offers a lesson to any software company: even your most religious fans/users can easily jump ship if either something better comes along, or you “flock” up badly.

Related posts: Startup Meme, Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim, Infocult, Techscape, mathewingram.com/work, Mashable!, Mark Evans, Compiler, franticindustries, 901am, CenterNetworks, Between the Lines, The Social Web and more …

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t watch Justin.tv either. I have absolutely no interest. Maybe I am getting too old as well. As for Coop. If it ever comes to life, then I am unlikely to use it. To me Firefox is a browser and a productivity tool and it shall stay that way (now the memory leaks would be a good thing to fix)

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t watch Justin.tv either. Maybe I’m too old as well (16) :D

    And yes, I’d rather have them fix the CPU hogging trouble so that I can run Visual Studio, WMP and Firefox with 20 tabs side by side without having to hit the disk hard with paging…

  3. Anonymous says:

    And hey, I don’t get social networking either. Except if it’s explicit, like Flickr or Blogs. Orkut and Myspace seem to be a waste of time for me…

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