TBH Google’s arguments seem sound to me, and the article I shared is biased.
For instance, it omits to mention that the userbase of ad blockers is small (so small I sometimes I marvel at the amount of work that is put towards foiling them, but then again local stats could be different from global), and uBlock Origin’s is smaller still.
It follows, IMO, that Google hasn’t much to lose from this change, unless for some reason the public opinion swings, which doesn’t seem very realistic an option to me, because of how small the numbers are.
Also, they have the sound arguments, and even figures, showing that this will benefit the average user, who doesn’t use an ad blocker, and if they do, they use the despicable AdBlock Plus.
All of that notwithstanding because I am indeed a gorhill fan and whenever the new manifest gets deployed in my beta channel I’ll likely be out of an ad blocker and whenever I look at the Internet without one, I recoil in horror, and that’s without all the tracking, profiling, and so on…
XDA is one the major Android development communities, so those usage stats refer to smartphones only.
On the desktop Firefox is faring less badly, but still under 10%, it would seem.
The problem is Firefox IMO doesn’t have the chops to match Chrome at a functional level, no matter how much we would like it to.
In that I find Firefox similar to Linux in that the happy few who use it are indeed some varieties of hard-cores, who are ready to give up on some comforts in order to avoid Chrome (Windows).
In fact I’m afraid Firefox’s predicament is worse, because you have these other Chromium based browsers that steal different fringes of hard-cores away, reducing its share even further, even though we’re just talking about a few percentage points, every little point matters a lot for Firefox, more than it does for Chrome.
If Firefox is now at 9% or so, and we held at gunpoint everybody using Opera and the other minor browsers and forced them to switch to Firefox, its share would grow to less than 15% anyway, and more likely settle to no more than 10 to 12%.
Firefox needs to steal users away from Chrome, and to achieve that goal, it needs to provide a strong alternative to Chrome. And right now, sadly, it isn’t.
Chrome won the war, because it was faster and sleeker than Firefox, and because it came at the right time when Firefox was in a horrible position owing to the 4.0 trainwreck, and Internet Explorer had already begun to fade.
To make a come-back, Firefox would need strong selling points, a bullet-proof PR campaign and a massive blunder from Google so that the userbase will be activated and have a reason not to be lazy about it.