Early last year, YouTube received a design refresh with Google's own Polymer library which enabled "quicker feature development" for the platform. Now, a Mozilla executive is claiming that Google has made YouTube slower on Edge and Firefox by using this framework.
In a thread on Twitter, Mozilla's Technical Program Manager has stated that YouTube's Polymer redesign relies heavily on the deprecated Shadow DOM v0 API, which is only available in Chrome. This in turn makes the site around five times slower on competing browsers such as Microsoft Edge and Mozila Firefox. He went on to say that:
YouTube serves a Shadow DOM polyfill to Firefox and Edge that is, unsurprisingly, slower than Chrome's native implementation. On my laptop, initial page load takes 5 seconds with the polyfill vs 1 without. Subsequent page navigation perf is comparable.— Chris Peterson (@cpeterso) July 24, 2018
Peterson has also suggested that another way to fix the problem would be to offer the older version of YouTube to users on affected browsers, which is what Google does for Internet Explorer 11.
Another rather interesting aspect to note is that Polymer's latest versions support both Shadow DOM v0 and v1 APIs, but for some reason, Google still uses Polymer 1.0 with the deprecated API. Google is yet to comment on these claims.