Mozilla Firefox Express Review

About two weeks ago, I wrote a post about the imminent world record by Mozilla—the highest number of downloads for a software program in a day, for their browser, Firefox. Two days ago, Mozilla sent their email worldwide announcing the Firefox download day, which is today. Don’t forget to get it as quickly as possible from their site.

I downloaded Firefox a little while ago, and am dying to review it for you. In Mozilla Firefox download pledge site, Spreadfirefox.com, in a period of a month, almost two million people from across the world pledged to download it. The world was eagerly in wait for the new browser.

With interface redesign, new plug-ins, and tens of thousands of improvements, Firefox 3, the best browser ever from Mozilla, is entirely new.

About Mozilla

Mozilla is a non-profit organization, working to make the web a better place. Firefox is their most important product, a browser now holding almost 20 per cent of the total browsing market. However, it is on the verge of beating Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and emerging as the most used browser in the world. The world record to be set by them is the direct indication of this.

About Firefox 3

Firefox, already known to thousands and thousands of daily Internet users as the fastest and most reliable web browser, becomes more so with this release. Firefox 3 comes with 15000 changes in code, a thoughtful interface redesign, and availability in 45 world languages.

The Performance

I must say, I was astounded by the performance of Firefox 3 today. The browser is lightning-fast. I opened a zillion different tabs with various websites in them. They included Gmail, some Wikipedia articles, and sites with a lot of multimedia and flash data. The browser didn’t budge one bit. It could still instantly switch between tabs without hanging anywhere.

The new memory reuse technology and fix for thousands for bugs in Firefox 3 dramatically improves performance. Thus, the program never hangs, no matter how many tabs you open or how multimedia-rich content you browse. Firefox 3 is three times faster than the last version and takes less than half as much memory.

It is also most optimized for rich programs like Gmail, blogs, Web 2.0 social networking platforms, etc. Last version of Firefox responded very sluggishly to Gmail, but this one switches to Gmail tab in lightning quickness.

Mozilla Firefox 3Firefox 3 with too many tabs opened to manage, still working fine.

The Features Sneak Peak

1. Interface

The look of Firefox finds some slight changes, though the flavor is just the same as before. It looks better in Vista, with the IE-like forward and back buttons on the top left corner. The address bar (now called ‘awesome’ bar or location bar) is redesigned to include the website favicon button and one-click bookmark button. The standard toolbar has some aesthetic visual redesign, with slight changes to the buttons. The Google toolbar is well-integrated with the other browser buttons.

2. Graphics

The graphics engine of Firefox 3 is highly advanced. It runs on the latest Gecko 1.9 browser graphics engine. The improvement will show the multimedia and other graphics content more magnificently in Firefox 3 than in the previous version. In addition, the font-rendering engine has been revamped to incorporate a technology similar to the latest IE7 font smoothing.

3. Plug-in Support

Most of the plug-ins previously supported within Firefox 2 are not supported in this version. However, no need to worry, you will find the upgraded versions of most of these plug-ins in Mozilla site soon, and Firefox can automatically update all the plug-ins. Many of the popular themes for previous version of Firefox are not yet applicable to Firefox 3. We have to wait for updated compatible versions.

4. Language Support

Firefox 3 is released in 45 major world languages, the highest number of languages ever to release a web browser in.

5. Security

Mozilla asserts that the security in browsing the web is their top priority. Being open-source, Mozilla released the complete source code of Firefox to the developer community across the globe. Therefore, anyone from anywhere can check the code and alert Mozilla of any security issues or flaws found. This makes Firefox one of the safest browsers around. In addition, Mozilla ties up with Google to ensure secure browsing and incorporation of anti-phishing database for Firefox.

If in case Firefox detects any site as fraud, it displays a browser-wide warning to the user about it and blocks the contents of the site. Only if the user allows the browsing explicitly, the site gets loaded.

If you click the favicon of a site, Firefox will display the security information about the site in a small popup. By clicking the ‘more information’ button within this popup, you can get further details about the website. This way, you can be free of threat from phishing sites, which mock genuine websites.

In another survey, published within Mozilla site, Internet Explorer users are vulnerable to Internet fraud 78 per cent of the time while Firefox users only 2 per cent.

Nifty Features

1. One-click Bookmark

In new Firefox, there is a small star button appearing in the location bar. It is the bookmarking and tagging button. One click on the button bookmarks the website within the tab. A second click will open up a small popup allowing you to tag the site with specific words and file it. These tags can be used to access the site faster from location bar. You just need to enter the tag and the location bar dropdown will display the site link.

2. Revamped Download Manager

For the first time ever in browsing, a complete download manager is incorporated to a browser. It is capable of resumed downloads. The interface is slightly modified from the last version to give a better look.

3. Full Screen and Keyword Shortcuts

Unlike the previous version, this Firefox can go to full screen without displaying that irksome status bar or the vestige of top menus. When in full screen, just move the mouse pointer to the top side and the menu with toolbars will automatically appear. The Clicking Ctrl+Plus will increase the font and Ctrl+Minus will decrease it.

4. Session Restore, Tabbed Browsing, and Certain Improvements

There is no difference from the last version in terms of session restore. If the browser gets closed due to any error during a browsing session, the session restore feature is activated and will help restore the contents. This feature is made more reliable in this browser. In case of tabbed browsing, there is no difference. The only thing is that the tab scrolling is smoother in this version. Middle clicking on a link opens it in a new tab.

The new add-ons manager displays complete information about the popular add-ons before you can install them. The manager itself recommends the best add-ons. Over five thousand different add-ons are available from Mozilla website for download.

Security Updates

Instant website ID, which is provided on clicking the site favicon in the location bar is a fair way to identify if the website is legitimate or not. On clicking the more details button, you can get detailed information of the site.

The fraud and malwares sites are updated in the Firefox database, so you will be alerted immediately on clicking any fraudulent site link. Plus, the browser integrates well with the security software installed in the system. Besides this, there are a password manager, a popup blocker, and parental controls.

You can go on and on, but can’t describe all the features of this new browser. Clearly a winner over our Microsoft’s inferior product, Firefox will soon conquer the industry. If you haven’t switched to Firefox, then I recommend you do it right away.

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

2 Opinions:

  1. Mozilla Firefox proves to be one of the top internet browsers around. Firefox is an early adopter if not an innovator of advanced web browsing, evidenced by the browser’s latest release. It is a simple, user-friendly browser, with numerous add-ons for advanced users looking for a fully customized browsing experience as well as a basic, hassle-free interface for more casual browsers.

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  2. Since the first day that I try out Firefox which is 5 years ago... I had totally fall head over heel in luv with it :-) To me, it is the greatest browser on earth. Their interface are very user friendly and I think the most important factor of it was and is because Firefox was not design solely for profit purpose but rather it was built mainly for users to opt to their own personal choices/options. That is the reason you don't see ANY other browsers allow their user to have browser's plug-in that block advertising pop-up for fear that business less likely to put ads in their browser. Firefox is just like a true Democracy nation, where they allow users to set their own browser the way they want/like it to be. I am luving it... 4ever :-)))))

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