Firefox Quantum was released last week, promising to be 2x faster, much more lightweight and better at protecting our privacy online!
With such bold statements I decided it was time to give Firefox another try.
Google Chrome has been my default browser now for 8 years. Mainly from my days of using Linux as my desktop at home, it gave me a very easy way to sync information between my Linux and Windows systems.
Firefox hasn’t had a look in since, but does now offer it’s own sign in options to sync bookmarks and add-ons.
The first thing to do was to get my bookmarks exported from Chrome to Firefox.
There was no first run wizard with Firefox, which surprised me, normally there’s a nag screen to set default browser and import bookmarks, but looked like I was going to have to figure this one out for myself.
It wasn’t as easy as it should have been either. In the end I had to google it, which to me shows the menu system is not intuitive enough. I also had to manually enable the bookmark bar. Something I use heavily in Chrome, maybe it’s not enabled by default in Chrome any more either and I just haven’t noticed because I always sign in so it syncs all my settings.
The other thing that didn’t work out the box was the spell checker. Apparently Firefox doesn’t install a dictionary by default, so you need to install one from the add-ins menu. Simple enough, but when the tick box is already ticked to check spelling, out the box, you expect it to work, not have to go googling to find out way.
In my 7 days of usage I couldn’t honestly tell you if it’s quicker than Chrome or not. I’d say they both perform on par with each other now. Which is good enough to give me food for thought about wanting to actually ditch Chrome. Chrome obviously has heavy ties to google, by using Chrome you’re agreeing to the license terms of using it, which essentially makes Chrome a priceless tool for Google because they can collect so much information about you and your browsing habits as you use it. Essentially Chrome is not the product, you the user are.
Firefox has long been promoted as being one of the best browsers when it comes to privacy. The browser is open source meaning anyone can look at the code, is owned by a non-profit, the Mozilla Foundation (Although Google is an investor if we want to be fully clear) and a number of privacy focused app bundles will usually include a slightly modified version of the browser to make it even more privacy centric.
Firefox does collect some information though if you intend to sync your bookmarks and passwords between separate devices. To do this you obviously need to create an account. It works in the same way Chrome’s version does and is obviously encrypted during transmission.
It’s also worth mentioning that Mozilla vet all add-ons that are available for the browser, unlike Google who have recently let some nasties slip through, much in the same way as the Android store, which is a worry.
These are all big enough reasons for me to move back to Firefox as my primary web browser. The first 7 days of using Quantum have been hassle free, and as long as the browser maintains it’s new found lease of life with speed, then fingers crossed I will have no reason to slip back to Google for my web browsing needs. Of course, if that changes. I will update this article again to let you know, but for now, it’s seriously time to consider a switch back, or if you’ve never used it before. Give Firefox a chance!