Monday, September 2, 2013

Firefox Browser Review 2013

Firefox 23 is the latest Rapid Release version of Mozilla’s internet browser which was released in August 2013. Mozilla has been releasing these web browser updates approximately once every six weeks. 

In 2013, they have released seven upgrades so far, and I’ve used every one of them. In most of these upgrades, we see several fixes to bugs, including security vulnerabilities. Some of the notable new Firefox browser features and changes implemented in 2013, are discussed below: 

Mixed Content Browsing is a security feature introduced in FF23 to protect users when using HTTPS pages. Some of these HTTPS sites include mixed content which are essentially unencrypted HTTP through which hackers can get access to sensitive information when visiting such sites. A warning signal will be displayed to users when such sites are visited and mixed content is blocked. 

Mozilla had introduced a sharing / social API feature in Firefox 17. This feature enabled to integrate social media platforms like Facebook directly in any website, on the right sidebar. This feature was enhanced and made available to all developers. Social sites like Facebook, msnNOW, Mixi, and Cliqz are currently available via this social API. 

Through WebRTC (Real-Time Communication) Firefox users can now effectively communicate via video, voice, and text without requiring to install add-ons to do so. Essentially, all the 3 components (getUserMedia, PeerConnection and DataChannels) of WebRTC have now been enabled by default. 

The Do Not Track (DNT) feature was implemented in May 2013. This DNT feature allows enables FF users to opt-out from being tracked from a behavourial ad tracking perspective. Users can choose from one of three options in terms of controlling how websites track their browser usage behaviour. 

We’ve seen some performance enhancements too. For example, enabling “asm.js optimization” module, via OdinMonkey has optimized JavaScript performance. In Firefox 21, we saw the introduction of the Firefox Health Report to help track and enhance browser performance. 

Some others new features that were implemented were Private Browsing per window through which users can browse privately on one window, while still browsing regularly through another window. Also, Firefox simplified how downloads are managed without having to open a new window. For a detailed look at changes that were implemented on each of these Rapid Release versions, visit Firefox Reviews 2013. You can check the YouTube video review of the latest Firefox 23 browser below:

Firefox is definitely one of my favourite browsers, but Google Chrome has come to the forefront in the past year or so and taken over from Internet Explorer and Firefox, in terms of Global Usage share. As you can see from the Top Internet Browsers chart below, courtesy StatCounter as at August 2013:

From the results of the latest Peacekeeper Browser Benchmark tests that I ran, you can see below that Google Chrome continues to outperform Firefox in terms of overall performance:

Image Credit: Firefox Logo Used Under Creative Commons CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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