Level 12
Users of YouTube may have noticed that the site has gotten a lot slower over the past few months, thanks to the website's recent Polymer redesign, which is said to make browsers outside of Google Chome significantly slower.

Mozilla's Technical Program Manager, Chris Peterson, has stated on Twitter that the redesign can make YouTube web pages take up to five times longer to load on Chrome competitors like Mozilla FireFox and Microsoft Edge, all thanks to Google's use of a depreciated API called Shadow DOM v0.

The Shadow DOM v0 API is used exclusively by Chrome, giving Google a distinct advantage over their competitors, leading to claims that the use of the depreciated API was intended to harm the performance of their competition. This news comes one week after Google was fined €4.34 billion over anti-competitive practices on their Android platform, some of which stem from Google forcing device makers to install Google-made applications on devices.

Thankfully, there is a fix for YouTube's slow loading issues on FireFox, Edge and Safari, with the YouTube Classic extension for Firefox forcing YouTube to use its older (and faster) website design while Tampermonkey on Edge and Safari can also be used to "restore YouTube Classic" using a script. Details on how to use Tempermonkey are available in Chris Patterson's recent tweets. Sadly, the move to YouTube's old web design will remove features like Dark Mode and change several aspects of the website's modern UI.

Strangely, YouTube's recent redesign uses Google's Polymer 1.0 Javascript library, with more recent Polymer 2.0 and 3.0 iterations offering support for both Shadow DOM v0 and v1. This oddity leaves developers wondering why YouTube didn't use a modern version of Google's in-house libraries or choose to send non-Chrome users Polymer-less versions of YouTube, which is what happens on Microsoft's Internet Explorer 11 browser. Both of these changes would address YouTube's slow load time issues.

It is undeniable that these changes have resulted in Google's browser offering a better user experience on YouTube, a Google-owned website, leaving many to see this as an anti-competitive move from the company. Hopefully, Google will update YouTube in the near future to use Shadow DOM v1, as this API is supported on competing browsers and will negate today's slow loading issues.


Level 30
Content Creator
The problem is that youtube has no real competitors, so they are able to help boost the performance of chrome and therefore pushing people to switch to it.
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