Firefox Browser Gets a Major Overhaul, But Who Really Cares?
Released today, Firefox Quantum marks the browser's biggest update since version 1.0 was launched in 2004, according to the browser's maker, Mozilla. Featuring a "completely overhauled core engine," the updated browser also provides much-improved speed and efficiency, Mozilla said.
It's uncertain, though, how much impact those improvements will have on Firefox's place in the Web browser market, which is now dominated by Google's Chrome. The latest October data from the Web-tracking W3Counter shows Chrome currently holds 58.8 percent of the global browser market, followed by Apple's Safari with 13.4 percent, Microsoft's Internet Explorer/Edge with 9.8 percent, and Firefox with 9.1 percent.
However, Mozilla has a strategy for marketing Firefox Quantum in the face of Chrome's dominance: It's targeting an audience of "conscious choosers" who would rather support a not-for-profit operation over Google-driven commercial interests.
Targeting 'Conscious Choosers'
At the height of its popularity in 2010, Firefox had a 34.1 percent share of the Web browser market and was in second place behind Internet Explorer, which had 48.3 percent of the market. Since then, Chrome's adoption rates have risen steadily while all of its browser competitors have declined to under 15 percent of the market.
"Our research tells us that Firefox and its parent organization Mozilla are both well-known brands," chief marketing officer Jascha Kaykas-Wolff wrote today in a company blog post. "Yet not enough people see a distinction between Firefox and our biggest competitor, Chrome. And even fewer people understand that Mozilla is a not-for-profit responsible for pro-Internet technologies, policies, and programs beyond Firefox."
Kaykas-Wolff said Mozilla aims to promote its latest version of Firefox by targeting the market of "conscious choosers" who make up 23 percent of all Internet users.
"This segment takes time to research and understand products and companies in order to make a deliberate choice about who and what they support," he said. "They share a worldview that is against monopolies and centralized power hubs, and for democratic access to information, knowledge, and resources. They try hard to reconcile these values with their behaviors, and while willing to take the extra effort to do what is right, they are in a constant balancing act between choosing what is 'easy' and doing what is 'right.'"
Mozilla's timing for that strategy could prove to be spot on, as public concerns have grown about the roles of larger tech companies in enabling political trolling, ad-driven misinformation campaigns, and Russian interference in Western elections. On Oct. 31, for example, senior executives from Google, Facebook, and Twitter appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., to offer testimony and answer questions about suspicious online activities in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.
1,500-Plus Bug Fixes
The new Firefox Quantum is "over twice as fast as Firefox from 6 months ago," Firefox senior vice president Mark Mayo wrote today on the Mozilla blog. It features code contributions from more than 700 developers, as well as fixes for more than 1,500 bugs that had affected responsiveness, performance, and user experience.
In addition to a speed boost, Firefox Quantum also provides a new user interface called "Photon" that was designed to modernize the browser user experience, Mayo said.
"To create Photon, our user research team studied how people browsed the web," Mayo said. "We looked at real world hardware to make Firefox look great on any display, and we made sure that Firefox looks and works like Firefox regardless of the device you’re using. Our designers created a system that scales to more than just current hardware but lets us expand in the future."
Given Mozilla's new Firefox marketing strategy, Quantum also makes Google the default search provider for users in the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. However, the browser has pre-installed more than 60 search providers in 90-plus languages as part of an overall search strategy to "select the best search experience in each region as opposed to having a single global default," according to chief legal and business officer Denelle Dixon.
Image credit: Logo by Mozilla/FireFox.
Posted: 2017-11-17 @ 5:52pm PT
Firefox is slower with new update.
Posted: 2017-11-17 @ 2:21pm PT
i use it and edge, i'll never use anything by google, same goes for apple, sick of everybody thinking they have only 2 choices, either apples fascist closed eco sys bs or having to sell everything about oneself to some giant over lord corp. at least with apple, though i despise them, you buy it and own it, android and their bs so called open eco sys crap. try and close their data streams to there third party partners, black berry tried and see what it got em, they tell peeps they have the most secure android phone, what a joke. the only thing they do different from other phones is they tell you your data is being stolen and by who!! they can't stop it though. so yeh, i use firefox
Posted: 2017-11-17 @ 10:28am PT
Not for profit? Go check out their 990 tax form and you will see lots of 6 digit salaries, some over a half a million a year they are paying themselves.
Posted: 2017-11-17 @ 6:21am PT
I care. Thats why i use firefox. I don't want to be someone else's "product" for the privvy, of using the internet. That is also why I'm looking into quat9 and other services that leave me alone. BTW...I still have a netscape t-shirt :)
Posted: 2017-11-17 @ 5:17am PT
Old Sony FSeries Laptop with i7...Ubuntu 16LTS...Put Quantum on yesterday and I can only speak to my experience, but it is really fast...noticeably faster than it was...I haven't put it thru its paces on the graboid websites...yet!....But as soon as I get up the courage, I will to see if they can break thru the restrictions that Quantum now has....
I am a "message" user: I use Firefox because I think that monopolies as an economic rule, ultimately destroy innovation and have a retarding effect which soon becomes an active restriction of access effect...intentionally to protect profits and unintentionally because monopolies are the only game in town...And that is dangerous to privacy because a monopoly can be easily coerced by a government into "monopoly-protection acquiescence" which simply means government has a monopoly by its junk and a monopoly will do whatever a government wants it to do to protect its monopoly...
Samuel Norring, Sr.:
Posted: 2017-11-17 @ 2:51am PT
firefox is very effective
Posted: 2017-11-16 @ 3:50pm PT
Since this started today everything is slower and harder to access. What's up?
Posted: 2017-11-15 @ 12:51am PT