YouTube's reportedly taking longer to load if you're not using Chrome

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YouTube has been cracking down on ad-blockers in recent months, pushing users to either deactivate their ad-blocker on its platform or subscribe to YouTube Premium. Now, the Google-owned platform may have taken things one step further: Firefox users are reporting a noticeable increase in load times on YouTube's desktop website, and it looks like that’s an intentional choice on Google’s part.

Redditor u/vk6_ recently shared a video showing a five-second delay when loading up YouTube on Mozilla's Firefox web browser. For a few seconds, the page remains mostly blank with background elements populating but no videos to be seen. After the brief delay, the page loads up as usual. Other Redditors also ran into the same problem, claiming that YouTube is taking noticeably longer to load on Firefox and Edge, whereas on Chrome, there's no wait time. Annoyingly, the delay doesn't just trigger once, but rather every time a YouTube link is opened, users said. 

Upon analyzing the JavaScript files that the YouTube client uses on desktop, one user uncovered code that shows a "timeout" function in the script that forces users to wait five seconds for the page to fully load after checking for the user’s browser of choice. Nothing in the code itself singles out Firefox or Edge in particular, but some users have found that using a filter for this code seems to solve the issue. Others reported that when spoofing the user agent of Firefox to make it appear to be Chrome, YouTube loads up as fast as usual with no five-second delay. Even more curious still, 9to5 Google experimented with the reverse, and found that spoofing Chrome to act as Firefox didn't push this delay into effect.

Some users suggested it may be related to the ad-blocker crackdown. Several posited the code could be a clumsily implemented ad fallback if a user uses an ad blocker, with the relevant code possibly ensuring that an ad is displayed for at least five seconds before the video begins. 

When reached for comment, a YouTube spokesperson said users who have ad blockers installed "may experience suboptimal viewing" no matter what browser they use:

“To support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favorite content on YouTube, we’ve launched an effort to urge viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad free experience. Users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they are using.”

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.

  • Ni!
    5 Seconds? Unbelievable. Is that legal.? let's make a big deal ou of it. Or people cold jus subscribe to premium, or use Brave browser , or a client version Like Newpie, revanced or use add-ons. Just please don't make a fuss about it. It's only 5 seconds