Mozilla Executive Claims That YouTube Is Five Times Faster on Chrome Compared to Edge and Firefox
Youtube is far from what it used to be in the early days. The video hosting platform has undergone several transformations over the years, and not all of them have had desirable effects. Recently, it received a design refresh with Google’s Polymer library which enabled “quicker feature development” for the platform. However, the change seems to have affected some browsers negatively. According to Chris Peterson, a Technical Program Manager at Mozilla, YouTube’s performance on Mozilla’s own Firefox as well as Microsoft Edge is about five times slower compared to that of Google Chrome.
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
In the thread that follows, Chris goes on to explain why YouTube loads faster on Chrome compared to other browsers. YouTube relies on the deprecated Shadow DOM v0 API which implemented in Chrome. As a result, it makes the site around five times slower on competing browsers such as Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox. Later on in the thread, Chris mentions a couple of workarounds for users on Edge and Firefox, which involve the use of extensions to restore an older version of YouTube.
A more permanent solution to the problem lies with Google, who have to revert Firefox and Edge users to an older version of the YouTube interface, as it does for some Internet Explorer users. The move won’t be popular with users, though, as the new YouTube UI has grown on many people. Google is yet to comment on the situation, and I’ll update the article when they do.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Google slowed down YouTube on other browsers intentionally, but it is worth noting that YouTube launched the Polymer redesign about a year ago. Polymer 2.0 and 3.0 support both Shadow DOM v0 and v1, but YouTube is still using Polymer 1.0. It isn’t like Google to use a deprecated API on purpose. Wonder what’s going on here.