Last week, Google Chrome users were shocked to find that Facebook appears to have dropped support for their browser, recommending Opera instead as one of the three supported web browsers, fueling further speculation of a takeover by Facebook of the popular web browser. It appears Facebook has since regretted this premature update, as their support page once again shows all four major browsers (IE, Safari, Firefox and Chrome).
*Update: As of yesterday, Facebook has been loading excruciatingly slow on Chrome, leading some to believe that Facebook may be deliberately throttling browsing speed for Chrome.
The Browser War
It is a known fact that historically, Google and Facebook have always been at each other’s throats, although the truth is, the hatred seems to be more on Facebook’s part, as Google never seemed to feel too threatened by the new kid on the block. Remember the whole "Facebook can import Google contacts", but not the reverse saga? The only exception might be Chrome’s direct integration with Google services, rather than Facebook, but in my opinion, that sort of favoritism is expected.
And here’s something interesting to close off on:
It appears that many large companies are sabotaging Opera’s user experience by blocking or serving Opera broken or outdated code. You can see for yourself by spoofing the user agent header. Compare the code that you receive from Google’s servers. If the user agent contains Opera, there are large parts of code missing or are outdated. You can clearly see that by doing server-side browser sniffing, Google is serving different content for Opera than for the other major browsers.
I can’t say for the many browsers out there, but this happens a lot to Opera. For example, big companies like Amazon and Microsoft also do the same thing and serve Opera different code. Amazon serves Opera missing code that prevents many of the Amazon features like Amazon Cloud, Amazon TV, appstore, etc., from working. The workaround for server-side browser sniffing is to spoof as a different browser so that servers can’t detect Opera from the user agent header. Sadly, spoofing as Firefox is what Opera had to do to bypass Amazon’s server-side browser sniffing.
Historically, Microsoft’s MSN.com sent Opera broken CSS / webpages. You can look at Opera’s response by searching for "opera bork bork bork".
P.S. Here’s my two cents on the browser war: I hate that Chrome “pretends” to be responsive when one of its pages are stuck. Many features on some of my favorite sites don’t work with Chrome, forcing me to switch to Firefox to regain that functionality. However, I’m sticking with Chrome because it performs great overall, and besides, I love Google. Point made.