The next major update to Firefox is finally here. This is undoubtedly a huge touchstone event for Mozilla, which hopes to reclaim internet users it's lost to Google Chrome in recent years.
Needless to say that the last five years haven't been stellar for Firefox's market share. It was in 2011 when Chrome first surpassed Mozilla's browser, and Chrome now hovers somewhere above 60 percent, according to estimates from StarCounter.
To try and topple Chrome, Mozilla did a lot of under-the-hood legwork for its 57th version of Firefox, called Firefox Quantum. Its faster, it's cleaner, and it just works.
The most notable change to Quantum is that it uses 30 percent less memory than competing browsers when used on a Windows PC, according to Mozilla.
That alone is Mozilla's way of going after Chrome, which, despite being the most popular choice in the internet browser market, has received mountains of criticism for being such a memory and resource hog, causing computers — even ones with relatively passable specs — to slow down.
Firefox Quantum Is Faster
Certainly, Firefox Quantum is faster than previous versions of Firefox. Pages load in a snap even when there are a bunch of tabs open — with some running always-refreshing online apps such as email clients. That's in large part thanks to the browser's new web rendering engine called Quantum, which discards the previous Gecko engine Firefox used to run on.
To make Firefox faster, Mozilla said it enabled the browser to use multiple cores instead of just one. So it developed a "super fast CSS engine" written in Rust. This improved utilization makes it dramatically perform faster on PCs.
This super fast CSS engine is called Quantum CSS, which "takes advantage of modern hardware, parallelizing the work across all of the cores in your machine. This means it can run up to 2 or 4 or even 18 times faster."
To learn more, users can also read Mozilla's official blog post detailing how Firefox uses less memory than other browsers.
Firefox Quantum Looks And Feel Great
On a design perspective, Firefox Quantum shines. It looks great. It looks simple, easy-to-use, and unintimidating. Most important of all, it doesn't feel alien or starkly different from other browser people are already accustomed to using. Yes, switching to Firefox Quantum involves going through an awkward transitional learning curve, but it passes quickly. Give users just a few minutes to play around with the browser, and they will learn all the basics in a jiffy.
The interface adds a lot to Quantum's ease of use. For starters, instead of having multiple buttons to access bookmarks, history, or downloads, there's instead a Library button that consolidates all those, making for a more streamlined browsing experience.
Mozilla has managed to make Quantum perform fast and feel right up the alley of anyone who regularly uses Chrome, Opera, or Safari. There are no unnecessary bells and whistles, no clunky and atrocious design choices, no labyrinth-like steps to get it work.
Given Google's current hold in the internet browser landscape, making a splash might prove difficult, but if anyone could do it, it's Firefox, which now has the gargantuan task of proving that it's miles ahead of any browser out there.
Firefox Quantum is available now.