Google’s recently redesigned YouTube page now features a dark mode for night-time viewing. But there’s also a darker side to this update, according to one Mozilla Firefox developer.
Chris Peterson tweeted on July 23rd that the video site’s new redesign relies on a depreciated API that is only implemented in Chrome, resulting in five times slower loading speeds for other browsers like Mozilla’s Firefox and Microsoft’s Edge.
Peterson also stated that the video site intentionally serves Firefox and Edge browsers a Shadow DOM polyfill that is slower than the native implementation found in Google Chrome. Upon doing some testing, Peterson discovered that videos take around five seconds to load on any browser but Chrome, while the Chrome version loads snappily at just one second.
This move isn’t the first time we’ve seen Google give its own browser preferential treatment over other browsers. If you’re a Firefox or Edge user who wants to revert to the older version of the video site to prevent these artificial load time issues, there are add-ons available for both browsers that will serve the old version of YouTube for now. You won’t have access to some of the nice features that the update included, but at least your load times won’t be artificially slowed, either.
Google’s response to the controversy has been to say that they’ve found load times between competing browsers to be the same, before and after the newest update.
The spokesperson also says they recently fixed a bug that could have impacted load times in Firefox and other browsers, and that when Google discovers such bugs in any browser, it resolves them.
Chrome is the world’s most popular browser according to recent metrics, as it accounts for more than 59% of website usage around the globe. YouTube is the world’s most popular video destination, with more than 400 hours of video uploaded to the website every single minute.