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Google Allegedly Slowing Down YouTube On Purpose When Using Firefox

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Some users have been reporting that the redesigned YouTube, which launched nearly a year ago, appears to load slowly when using any browser other than Google Chrome, and there's a very clear explanation as to why.

According to Chris Peterson, a program manager for Mozilla, it's not Microsoft Edge's, Firefox's, or Safari's fault — it's Google's. The redesigned YouTube relies on a deprecated shadow DOM API that's only implemented in Chrome, essentially forcing other browsers to render YouTube five times slower.

It's Not Just You: Google Is Slowing Down YouTube On Other Browsers

It's not the first time for Google to favor its own browser by deliberately making the experience of using its sites and services worse on other browsers. Platforms such as Meet, Allo, Google Earth, and many others have all been blocked on Edge in the past, and some of these have all also been blocked on Firefox. As The Verge notes, it appears Chrome is slowly turning into the next Internet Explorer 6 — with developers primarily favoring Chrome then working on rival browsers later.

Not only does YouTube load slowly when using other browsers, but the experience can often be far from pleasant as well. For example, when visiting YouTube, it keeps pestering users to download and install Chrome with various pop-up notifications. When users do install Chrome, they find that YouTube loads much faster, causing those unaware to think that perhaps Edge, Firefox, and Safari are just bad browsers.

As to why Google is doing this, Peterson wrote:

"I assume Google has metrics showing that the Polymer redesign increases Firefox and Edge user engagement more than the slow polyfills hurt it." Interestingly, "YouTube still serves the pre-Polymer design to [Internet Explorer 11] by default so they could choose to serve it to Firefox and Edge too."

How To Fix The 'YouTube Is Slow On My Browser' Problem

Fortunately, there are workarounds to this problem, and they're pretty easy to do. Check out the instructions below.

For Edge Users: Edge users need to download Tampermonkey from the Microsoft Store. Afterward, go to Settings, find the "extensions within edge" option, and enable Tampermonkey. Download this script to force YouTube to the classic mode.

For Safari Users: Similarly, Safari users must download the Safari version of Tampermonkey. Click "Trust" when the browser brings up an installation prompt. Then, download the same script linked above to force YouTube to the classic mode.

For Firefox Users: Firefox users only need to download this YouTube Classic extension to force the site to load properly.

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