I'm a Firefox fan
For anyone looking for a fast, modern, and privacy friendly browser I still think Firefox is an excellent choice.
In the interest of full disclouser, I am a Firefox fanboy. If Mozilla would let me, I would pay a subscription fee for Firefox but as of now they will not take my money.
However, despite being the default browser on most Linux distributions, Firefox has been bleeding users over the last several years. 🤣
Apparently Linux hasn’t yet become the powerhouse of desktop operating systems we’ve all been hoping for, and hopefully Mozilla has a plan outside of the Linux space to start growing adoption of Firefox with new users. As well as continue being a great choice for those of us who have stuck with them over the long haul.
All jokes aside I think even a lot of long time Linux users have started moving to Chrome, Vivaldi, or even Edge.
I’m not sure what is driving people towards Chrome, Edge, and the other Chromium based browsers over Firefox. In my experience Firefox provides a great browsing experience, while being far lighter on resources than Chrome. Firefox doesn’t seem to eat my laptop battery with the same insatiable hunger as Chrome, and it rarely makes my laptop fans spin up.
What so good about Firefox?
A lot of talk on the web about the value of Firefox seems to hinge on this idea that you need to preach to people about virtues of Open Source, and the free and open web. Or that developers want to keep Firefox around because other browsers (Safari) don’t implement new features quickly enough… blah, blah, blah… No one cares if developers don’t like Safari, or Chrome, or whatever.
If people are going to start using Firefox it’s going to boil down to the basics. It needs to be fast, it needs to have a familiar interface, and it has to have the features people want.
I think Firefox already satisfies these requirements, the tricky part will be convincing people to move off Chrome - the place they already keep their bookmarks, passwords, photos, emails, and other valuable parts of their lives. It’s an uphill battle for sure but here I’ll just present a few of the features that keep me on Firefox, things I think they do better than their competitors.
Some of these things might seem trival or irrelevant to you, but these are the features I appeciate the most and use on a daily basis.
Firefox has a superb reader view. A single click on the icon in the url bar will strip all the unnecessary clutter from a web page and present you with a clean easy to read page, devoid of ad’s, pop ups, and other distractions. Outside of a decent ad blocker, the reader view is one of the few things that makes most modern blogs and news sites tolerable for me.
Almost every browser has a sync feature built into it and most of them work well enough that we don’t often have to think about them.
Firefox at first glance might seem like just another browser that can sync bookmarks, passwords, addon’s and other information. However, Firefox takes user privacy seriously and they’ve put a lot of thought into the type of harm that could be caused if a person’s browsing history, bookmarks, or other data were to be leaked, stolen, or otherwise compromised.
Firefox Sync by default protects all your synced data so Mozilla can’t read it. We built Sync this way because we put user privacy first. In this post, we take a closer look at some of the technical design choices we made and why.
When building a browser and implementing a sync service, we think it’s important to look at what one might call ‘Total Cost of Ownership’. Not just what users get from a feature, but what they give up in exchange for ease of use.
On top of being a highly secure and privacy focused service, Firefox Sync also works flawlessly. The hand-off from computer, to tablet, to phone just works. Addon’s, bookmarks, and browsing history are accessible everywhere I’m signed in to my Firefox account.
Best of all I’m not paying for this service by handing my data over to Google or Microsoft to be sold to the highest bidder.
Picture in Picture
The picture in picture implementation in Firefox is outstanding.
I love that I can watch a show on one of my streaming services and pop the video out of the browser page so I can continue working on other things, while the video continues to play on another monitor.
Just hover your mouse over the video, and if the stream service supports it you’ll reveal a “picture in picture” button. Just click it and the video will pop right off the page. You can resize, pause, mute, rewind and fastforward to your hearts content right from the video playback window.
Firefox has builtin tracking protection, which blocks much of the tracking software that follows you around the web while you are shopping, working, or browsing.
These trackers aren’t just annoying and intrusive, they make your browsing experience slower and by blocking them Firefox speeds up your browsing experience without hogging system resources.
This tracking protection can be increased by adding the Facebook Container add-on to Firefox. This add-on relegates Facebook’s tracking software and cookies into an isolated browser container so that none of your other browsing activities will be leaked to Facebook. This helps protect you from one of the internet’s most notorious and untrustworthy data brokers.
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