New Browser War

Mozilla just launched Quantum, the fastest and most feature-laden version of its Firefox browser. Will it be the shot heard ‘round the internet? We think it’s overtaken Chrome and that it’s way ahead of Edge, which Microsoft launched to replace Internet Explorer.

When it was introduced in 2004, Firefox, an open-source darling, shot ahead of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, but its star faded with the development of Google’s Chrome. By the time it launched Quantum, also known as Firefox 57, Mozilla saw its user base at 6 percent of the browser market. Chrome, which was my browser of choice, had 55 percent of the market, and Safari had 15 percent. In the desktop market, Chrome has had a 64 to 15 percent market advantage over Firefox. Clearly, Mozilla had to make some big changes.

The name Quantum may come from the quantum leap the browser made in speed. The 57th iteration of Firefox is reportedly twice as fast as Firefox 52. Mozilla claims it uses 30 percent less memory than Chrome, which will enable you to run other programs or apps faster on your computer, and it claims to have better privacy features than Chrome. Its new Tracking Protection is a default operation that blocks extensive requests for online user tracking and reportedly reduces the average page loading time by 44 percent.

The new browser supports WebVR, which enables websites to take full advantage of VR headsets, and Mozilla’s Pocket service is now more integrated in the browser and displays trending articles on the new tab page. Last but not least, for those of you who didn’t like being locked into Yahoo as the default search engine for Firefox, you get several choices after entering your search topic.

One drawback might be the loss of add-ons from the old Firefox engine. They allow a lot of customization. Most of the top extensions have been updated, but if you need to retain some of them, you could try Firefox ESR, which will give you the add-ons but at a slower speed. In the meantime, you get plenty of extension, theme and toolbar options to customize it.

Since I’ve installed it, I think Quantum – or Firefox 57 – will give Chrome a run for its money. Firefox says it will have several tweaks over the next year to make the browser even faster. If you want to check it out, download it directly from Mozilla.

If you have questions about Quantum/Firefox 57, call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us for help. We think you’re going to like it.