What’s The Story?
I’ve been using Google Chrome for Linux since it was first made available. I use Gmail, Google Docs (now Drive), Google Plus, Google Adsense, Google Analytics, Google Music, and many more. I am the original owner of an original CR-48 Chromebook, having received mine way back in Dec. 2010. I promote Google services at work and have worked hard to point my business’ compass towards their entire suite of offerings. I use a Samsung Nexus S with an official build of Android 4.04 and I’m only interested in official devices moving forward.
At the same time, I have been gently treading a fine line between complete faith and trust in Google and fear of the Orwellian future they are capable of realizing for us all.
What did you find?
I recently switched from Kubuntu 12.04 to Ubuntu 12.04 for production. I had planned on doing so as soon as The Gimp 2.8 was released. Well, it’s here and I’m happy. After freshly installing 12.04 4 days ago, I decided that I would try to use Firefox for a change and see what it has to offer. I haven’t used it actively since the early 3.x era and I was sure that I’d find something to like about it. Things have been working out great when I’m accessing a non-Google page. Very early on, I started seeing a lot of this…
The connection was reset. The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.
OK, let’s refresh the page. I would get this message an average of 3 to 4 times before my Gmail would load. If I wasn’t seeing that error, I was getting just a plain white screen. Firefox seemed pretty confident that there was nothing to load yet there was just a white void for me to stare into. If it wasn’t that, it was this…
It wasn’t long until I started to see the trend. I never had any errors loading Slashdot or OMG Ubuntu. Hacker News, Reddit and all the other sites that I frequent all loaded fine, %100 of the time. Of course Google Plus, Adsense, Analytics and Google Drive all gave me “Connection Reset”. So today, while running errands, a really nasty notion came to me. Is Google using user agent strings to create a poor experience in Firefox?
I decided to test this theory.
Let’s test it
First, I installed Google Chrome. Here is my user agent string.
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/535.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/18.0.1025.168 Safari/535.19
I installed the User-Agent-Switcher add-on for Firefox. Then I manually added the string to the add-on and activated it. I wanted to be certain the the strong was really reporting, so I pointed Firefox at whatsmyuseragent.com. Yep, look’s like it works.