Get engrossed in your latest web research project and you’ll soon be navigating an array of browser tabs, each one with some vital piece of information -- it’s very easy to lose track.
Firefox offers a few very basic options to help you maintain control. Clicking History > Restore Previous Session will reopen whatever you were viewing last time, for instance, or you can bookmark all open tabs for reference later.
While there are no jaw-dropping new features in either Beta or Aurora (alpha) builds, both contain a number of minor additions and some useful improvements that help keep the web browser’s evolution ticking over.
After the relatively disappointing Firefox 30, version 31 adds some notable new features, including the ability to block known malware downloads as well as a new search box to the New Tab page.
Online security and privacy are hotter topics than ever. Just this weekend, Edward Snowden made an appearance at the Hope X 2014 hacker event, and called for those in attendance to help make encryption tools easier to use. Another fierce advocate of online privacy is the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), and today the group released a beta version of Privacy Badger, a beautifully named extension for Chrome and Firefox designed to stop a number of tracking techniques used online. The idea of tracking cookies is something that will be familiar to most, but tracking takes many forms, including advertising and social media. Privacy Badger aims to block this tracking.
Peter Eckersley, EFF Technology Projects Director, said: "Widgets that say 'Like this page on Facebook' or 'Tweet this' often allow those companies to see what webpages you are visiting, even if you never click the widget's button. The Privacy Badger alpha would detect that, and block those widgets outright. But now Privacy Badger's beta version has gotten smarter: it can block the tracking while still giving you the option to see and click on those buttons if you so choose".
Firefox’s tabs are normally an easy and convenient way to work online, neatly organising your open sites into separate, isolated views.
There may still be times when you need to view two or more tabs at the same time, though -- and that’s where Tile Tabs can help, instantly organizing your chosen Firefox tabs into a single tiled window.
Firefox is like a good friend I haven't seen in a very long time. Sure, I still care about Firefox, but I don't care to use it every day. There is nothing wrong with it, but it no longer offers a compelling reason to choose it over competitors. Even Internet Explorer 11 has proven to be a great browser. You know that old joke, where people would say they only used IE once, to download Firefox? Well, the tables have unfortunately turned.
Mozilla is in trouble and no one is happy about it. Everyone thinks fondly of the Firefox browser. It is just worrying that the company's major source of income is Google, the maker of a competing browser. Also, there was the whole CEO scandal, that caused many people to question the leadership at the organization. But ultimately, the question is, if the Google cash-cow stops, where would money come from? Today, Mozilla may have an answer, albeit partial, by partnering with the New York Times, Washington Post and Knight Foundation. Wait, what?
Firefox script manager Greasemonkey has been updated to version 2.0 with some important security tweaks.
The add-on now finally defaults to the unprivileged mode introduced in Greasemonkey 1.0, which means scripts must explicitly request the APIs they need with @grant. The developers say this shouldn’t pose a problem, as "many if not most or all scripts" work this way already, and the change won’t immediately affect installed scripts anyway. But if you then update, edit or reinstall a script which doesn’t follow the rules, it’ll probably break.
Google's vision of a web app utopia is made quite clear by Chrome OS. This concept is gaining traction with consumers too, as Chromebooks become more popular every day. However, the web app concept works best when it is open and not tied to a specific operating system. In other words, a consumer should be able to run any web app on any modern device.
Sadly, Google has not been as open as it should be and some web apps will only work well in Chrome. But what if you do not like Chrome? What if you don't like Google? Firefox is here to help. Mozilla announces that it will empower Android users to run Firefox OS apps on their device by utilizing the Firefox browser.
Self-Destructing Cookies is a Firefox add-on which does a great job of controlling cookie use, without any of the complexity you’ll see in other tools.
Install the add-on and it takes immediate effect, automatically deleting a site’s regular cookies -- and its LocalStorage data -- just as soon as you close its tab.
As something of a browser butterfly, I like to keep an eye on what's happening with browsers other than the one I'm currently using fulltime. Like many tech journalists (and non-journalists for that matter), I gave up on Internet Explorer quite some time ago, opting for Firefox initially. I also dabbled with Opera and Waterfox, amongst others, but for a number of years it was Firefox that delivered web pages to me. Sadly, I noticed that things started to slow down. New versions were more bloated and sluggish, and in the search for better performance, I ended up with Chrome. I've been a Chrome user for years now, but I was recently spurred into trying out Firefox once again.
Quite where the impetus came from, I'm not sure -- just one of those "let’s see if anything's changed" moments, I guess. Apart from little quirks like the refresh button being on the "wrong" side of the program window, Firefox seems pretty decent. I was impressed by the sharpness of the display for starters -- I had forgotten that Chrome handles high DPIs very poorly. As I'm using a Surface Pro running at 1920 x 1080, running at 150 percent DPI scaling is essential (I don’t have microscopes for eyes!) and Chrome makes everything look slightly blurry... not enough to put me off -- I'm still using it, after all -- but Firefox was a revelation!
There's a time to hold 'em and a time to fold 'em. Sometimes things are worth fighting for and sometimes you just have to grin and bear it. Unfortunately, choosing a time to give up can be hard -- especially if your reputation relies on it.
Firefox is a good browser, but it is no longer great. From an overall experience standpoint, Google Chrome is far superior and that's OK. Mozilla's browser doesn't have to be great, but for it to stay relevant, it must know its users. In other words, the only thing keeping Firefox afloat is philosophies. People stick with the browser because it is open-source and holds beliefs in an open web. Once those philosophies are gone, so too is Firefox. Today, Mozilla chose usage over beliefs and it may pay dearly.
Using the internet and being subjected to advertising very much go hand in hand. Sites have server bills to pay as well as other costs, and this is offset by displaying ads as a means of generating income. This is something we're all used to, and it's generally accepted as the price we have to pay. With the spread of mobile apps, the notion of advertisements within software becomes more and more popular, but, while not entirely unknown, it's not a notion that really translated to the desktop. This could be set to change if Mozilla's experiments with in-browser advertising come to fruition.
Of course, referring to it as advertising would be a little off-putting, so the word 'sponsored' is being thrown around in its place. What's all this about? Well, back in February Mozilla's Head of Content Services, Darren Herman, posted a blog entry outlining the company's 'Directory Tiles' idea. What this amounted to was a suggestion that in future versions of Firefox, the new tab page could feature "sponsored content from hand-picked partners" as well as links to site based on location. Herman gave the reassurance that "sponsored tiles will be clearly labelled as such" but, ultimately, it still amounts to in-browser advertising.
Android and iOS pretty much have the smartphone market locked-up. Sure, Windows Phone and even BlackBerry still represent a small slice of the market-share pie, but they are non-factors -- for now. Sadly, when duopolies have a stranglehold on markets, it is hard for a third player to make an impact.
Mozilla is trying to change that with Firefox OS, but so far, it has not sparked the interest of consumers. However, Firefox devices have not been widely available; they have been relegated to developer devices being sold on eBay. Today, that trend continues with the consumer-focused ZTE Open C, which is being sold on the auction site for a wallet-friendly $99.