I’ll be honest: it’s been awhile since I’ve thought about Firefox. I keep it installed on my computer, mostly to test compatibility when I build course or project websites, but it’s been years since I chose to load Firefox for daily browsing. Instead I, like so many others, have relied increasingly on Chrome or, because I am a Mac user, Safari, both of which are built on the same Webkit foundation. In the past week or so, however, I’ve been using the new Firefox Quantum almost exclusively and am happy to report—with a few caveats I will outline below—that I’m quite happy with it.
Mozilla has spent several years completely overhauling their browser, and they claim Firefox Quantum is twice as fast as previous versions of Firefox and faster than Chrome for many websites. I haven’t run any speed tests, but I have to say Firefox now feels quite zippy—at least comparable to Chrome if not an improvement. The interface is clean and pleasant to use. The browser is built with privacy and tracking protection in mind. Perhaps most importantly to me, Firefox is built by the non-profit Mozilla rather than Google or Apple. Mozilla tends to champion causes I also believe in—one of their tag lines for Firefox Quantum is
Browse for Good, and I’ll admit that resonates with me.
Okay, the caveats. There are certainly a few sites that still seem to run more slowly in Firefox, especially—and unsurprisingly—sites owned by Google. These include some heavy hitters like Gmail (or Google Inbox, which I use) and Youtube. Simultaneously with my switch to Firefox, then, I’ve been experimenting with Wavebox and Rambox for managing my Inbox, and honestly I like keeping my email in a separate application and out of a persistent browser tab. Because Quantum makes such fundamental changes to the Firefox application, some existing plugins haven’t yet been updated, though if you’ve not been using Firefox regularly in the recent past that’s unlikely to cause a big disruption.
Overall, Firefox Quantum seems like a big step forward for Firefox and a good change in the browser landscape. I’m glad to know there’s a competitive, non-profit alternative to Chrome and Safari. I would definitely recommend ProfHacker readers check out Firefox Quantum. Have you tried out Mozilla’s updated browser? Tell us how it’s been working for you in the comments.