What Does the Fox Say
When it comes to Mozilla Firefox web browser, you’ve got only two options: love it or hate it
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Firefox ain’t a new kid on the web browsers’ block. It’s well-known and beloved by millions for over pretty much a decade.
Its browsing speed is competitive. It has a ridiculous set of customization options. Regarding personal privacy and security issues, Firefox gives a friendly jab to others. Need some add-ons? There are lots of extensions provided by third-party developers as well. Moreover, Mozilla tries to make some kind of reasonable collabs, just like with Pocket — a “read it later” app.
Goodies, goodies, goodies.
But, even though, it seems that Firefox is losing its popularity. Little by little.
According to StatCounter, which analyzes usage data from more than three million websites, Mozilla's desktop browser left behind the combined market share of Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge, and has found itself in second place. But recently each and every browser has been rigidly losing Grand Prix to Google Chrome, which now controls over 60 percent of the market globally.
Internet browsers are important. It’s a piece of software that we use all over the day for the most part of online interactions. Currently, in 2016, if you are to compare, let's say, Top 5 desktop browsers, you’ll barely be able to feel the difference in terms of overall speed and performance.
Keeping that in mind, it’s quite important to compare browsers aesthetically as well. Because we hope that it at least looks attractive, simple, and clear. As it should, frankly.
In my personal opinion, Firefox is a browser that looks slightly grotesque with OS X simplicity and elegance. The user interface features both a URL field and a separate search field, despite the fact that you can search perfectly well by typing into the same box. To the right of both the URL and search fields there’s a labyrinthine array of icons — one for editing favorites, one to show a bookmarks list, one to show the downloads list, a home button, Firefox Hello (a tool for group browsing sessions), and an icon to save the page to the Pocket.
But wait. That’s not it, folks.
Next to all of that there’s the menu icon, which pops up a grid of another set of icons, this time to do with configuring or utilizing the features of Firefox.
All this bunch of stuff could be almost completely customized by drag-and-drop, so you are able to easily create your own Frankenstein browser. Someone might find it awesome and super useful, but others might hate it right away and find it kind of annoying and a bit old school.
Lets leave all that UI/UX alone and talk about something decent that Firefox offers.
ADD-ONS AND PERSONALIZATION
Firefox has tons of add-ons. One of the most interesting add-ons is Pocket, and you have it by default here. The Pocket for Firefox button lets you save web pages and videos to Pocket in just one click. Pocket strips away clutter and saves the page in a clean, distraction-free view, letting you access it on the go through the Pocket app. All you need is a free account, an Internet connection, and the Pocket button.
The new distraction-free reading mode does exactly what you think it does. It works like similar features in other browsers in that it extracts the actual article text from a website and displays it, hiding the ads, menus, and other distractions. There’s not a lot of features here, but you can change the size of the font, switch between sans-serif and serif fonts for viewing the text, and choose between the light, dark, and sepia backgrounds. When you land on an article page, a book icon appears to the right of the address box. Just click this icon to turn on the reading mode.
Firefox Hello is designed to run collaborative browsing sessions with friends, in which you share the same web page and view each other via webcam. Hmm, okay. It’s supposed to be a handy and useful feature if you want to “safely and securely” share something that you’re looking at and make a faster common decisions in real time. But, on my opinion, there are too many odd interactions that everyone should do to create a somehow satisfying experience. Why shouldn’t you simply chat with your friend? Anyway, this feature works with other browsers that support the required WebRTC feature, such as Google Chrome and IE, but not yet Safari.
Another essential feature for today’s cross-platform user behavior is synchronization. For this purpose there’s a Firefox Account, by using which you can sync bookmarks, passwords, tabs and more across all your devices. This includes the iPhone and iPad devices now that Mozilla has finally released a version of Firefox for iOS.
PRIVACY AND SECURITY
Firefox has a proven commitment to security, with generous and well-paid bug bounty programs. Its reputation as the browser of choice for many ISec (information security) professionals speaks for itself. It also highlights the data protection as a key issue, stating in its corporate manifesto that “individuals’ security and privacy on the Internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.”
Individuals’ security and privacy on the Internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.Firefox Manifesto
Another impressive security feature of Firefox is one-click website info. You simply click the site in the address bar to view important safety information. With a single click, you can easily clear your personal information, including history, cookies, passwords, and web form entries.
HELP AND SUPPORT
Like most web browsers out there, Mozilla provides a scope of online docs, such as FAQs, video tutorials, and knowledge-base — a place where you can chat with the Firefox community in case you need some instant help. That’s pretty much it. Unfortunately, there are no support options in terms of email or phone.