Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wired: New Firefox Better Than Chrome

David Pierce, Wired: [M]y expectations for Firefox Quantum, the new browser from Mozilla, were not particularly high. Mozilla made big promises about Quantum's speed and efficiency, which are what everyone makes big promises about when they launch a new browser, and they never really make a difference in the experience. Sure, a couple dozen Chrome tabs can bring even the beefiest computer hardware grinding to a beach-balling halt, but Chrome does the job. What could Firefox even do to win me over? It turns out there are lots of things Firefox Quantum could do to improve the browser experience, and it did many of those things.

More

If you're looking at a page on your phone and want to load that same page on your laptop, you just tap "Send to Device," pick your laptop, and it opens and loads in the background as if it had always been there. You can save pages to a reading list, or to the great read-it-later service Pocket (which Mozilla owns), both with a single tap. ...

Quantum feels like a bunch of power users got together and built a browser that fixed all the little things that annoyed them about other browsers. It has a QR code reader built in. It has a menu item for copying a URL, and if you've ever tried to copy and paste a long URL on your phone you know how nice that is. Firefox even makes screenshots more intuitive: it can capture a section, everything on your screen, or the entire webpage all at once. You can even turn on "Night Mode" and invert the colors on most blindingly white websites. All these things are so fiddly in other browsers, requiring bookmarklets and extensions to work. Firefox just put them all in the browser.

Comments

Night mode alone has me interested in trying out this browser. Will report back

#1 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2017-11-26 06:21 PM

Firefox has been my preferred browser for many years. I still use Chrome, Safari, and IE as well, but I prefer Firefox.

#2 | Posted by cbob at 2017-11-26 08:48 PM

I've always used Firefox, the plug-ins are second to none. But it had become a bloated mess.

I've used Quantum since beta and it blows away everything out there today. Truly an impressive piece of software.

#3 | Posted by Ben_Berkkake at 2017-11-26 11:41 PM

I abhor the new firefox. It sucks badly.

#4 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-11-26 11:43 PM

Even though I have always been a Firefox user, I still had Chromium (Linux user... we use "Chromium" not Chrome) on the side. It did some things better.

But after using Quantum? Chromium uninstalled. Don't want to see it ever again. Bye.

Quantum is REALLY REALLY good.

#5 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2017-11-27 04:43 AM


A different view:

Firefox Quantum: A leap forward, or a fatal trip?
www.computerworld.com

Firefox Quantum is faster, but users will lose all their rich extensions.

I used to really like Firefox. Back in 2004, when Firefox 0.93 rolled out, I loved it. It was so much better than the competition. Mind you, when your chief rival is Internet Explorer 6, it doesn't take much to be impressive. My love didn't last, though.

Within a few years, Firefox grew slow and bloated. By the time Google released Chrome in 2008, I was ready for a change. Since then, I've kept a reviewer's eye on Firefox, but I was never tempted to go back.

In the most recent web browser report from the federal government's Digital Analytics Program (DAP), (the only reliable measurement of web browser popularity), Firefox is down in the dumps with 6%, far, far below Chrome, at 44.5%; Safari, at 26.7%; and even Internet Explorer, at 12.9%. Indeed, earlier this year, Andreas Gal, a former Mozilla CTO, declared Firefox all but doomed to a long, slow death. Not good.

So Mozilla decided not just to give Firefox a furlift, but to rebuild it from the bones out into a new, powerful and fast web browser. The result is here today and it's called Firefox Quantum. ...

Mark Mayo, Mozilla's head of all things Firefox, said, "Firefox Quantum is over twice as fast as Firefox from six months ago, built on a completely overhauled core engine with brand new technology stolen from our advanced research group."

I hate to say it, but it wouldn't take that much to be twice as fast as Firefox used to be. The real question is: "Is it faster than Chrome?"

Believe it not, sometimes it is. I threw a slew of benchmarks at the latest browsers on my Windows 7 test box. Firefox Quantum and Chrome 62, the latest version of Google's web browser, split the results down the middle. Oh, and Internet Explorer 11? Please! It was gasping for breath, usually in last place....

Remember how I mentioned all those things under the hood that had changed? Those same improvements have also put an end to many tried-and-true Firefox extensions.

The people I know who were still using Firefox kept with it because they liked how those extensions gave them complete control over the browser. Now, many of those extensions are defunct....

So am I going to go back to Firefox? No. I'm a Chrome user now. That said, I'm glad to see Mozilla trying its damndest to make Firefox relevant again. I wish it luck. I fear, though, that even with Firefox's speed increase, the extension problem is going to tick off many of its most loyal users.

Good luck, Firefox. You'll need it.


For me, it was the lack of support for the extensions I depend upon that made me switch off the new Firefox.

Speed is nice, but speed without functionality is useless.

#6 | Posted by LampLighter at 2017-11-27 09:53 AM

The different tools we use in network engineering each have a preferred browser. I usually have IE, Firefox, and Chrome running and a few tools are still in the stone age and run java clients.

#7 | Posted by hatter5183 at 2017-11-27 09:55 AM


@#7 ... The different tools we use in network engineering each have a preferred browser. ...

It's not just network engineering tools.

When I was in IT, I did run into the network engineering tools issue of which you wrote, I also see, to a lesser extent, browser specificity with some of the sites I visit as a plain, ordinary web surfer.

About three to five years ago it started to get worse, as sites started to make the mobile version of their site the primary version, with "workarounds" (I'm being nice) in place to accommodate desktop browsers.

But this Firefox fiasco is a mess. Yes it is faster. But the added functionality of the plug-ins that had been touted widely and loudly by Mozilla as a reason to use Firefox was just abandoned, with Mozilla saying that it's not their problem.

It is the type of behavior I'd come to expect from Microsoft, not Mozilla.

#8 | Posted by LampLighter at 2017-11-27 10:26 AM

For me, it was the lack of support for the extensions I depend upon that made me switch off the new Firefox.

Yes, I also found it disturbing that most of my favorite extensions no longer worked. But then it took me two hours total to find new ones that worked just as well or better. And then three of the extensions I used previously also got updated to work with Quantum.

Most extensions will get updated or replaced with better ones. I've caught back up, at least.

#9 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2017-11-27 10:47 AM


@#9 ... Most extensions will get updated or replaced with better ones. ...

I searched. Of the ten extensions I use, only three were upgraded or had suitable replacements. The remaining seven had no replacements or the replacements were of such dubious quality that I didn't want them on my computer.

I've no doubt that in the longer term the Firefox extensions library will be the great resource it once was. I'll be checking from time to time and if Firefox becomes usable for me again, I'll switch back.

I view the browser as a tool, not as a religion. :)

#10 | Posted by LampLighter at 2017-11-27 11:17 AM

Using the new firefox now.

My yahoo fantasy football page doesnt work on it.

#11 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-11-27 02:41 PM

Using the new firefox now.

My yahoo fantasy football page doesnt work on it.

#11 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-11-27 02:41 PM | Reply | Flag

Not much works on it. It's a step 20 years backwards.

#12 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-11-27 02:42 PM

Is it possible to un install?

#13 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-11-27 03:11 PM

Is it possible to un install?

Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-11-27 03:11 PM | Reply

I just did so yes you can downgrade to an older version.

#14 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-11-27 03:27 PM

I just did too. It's already running faster. I'm no luddite, but I hate new technology that is worse than old technology. Like people replacing buttons and knobs in cars with touchscreens. Just because touchscreens made phones better, all these idiots think they must make EVERYTHING better!

#15 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-11-27 05:58 PM

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