- Internet & the Web
What is the Firefox Web Browser?
...and why is it my favorite?
There was a time where Internet Explorer was the only web browser people used for PC. In my opinion that was a dark time of struggling with Internet Explorer's many errors, security breaches, and crashes. Firefox 1.0 was released November 9th of 2004, and instantly became what I use the most.
I used Internet Explorer for years with many problems, but finally tried Firefox and was astounded. It was faster, less glitchy, and leaps and bounds over what Internet Explorer could ever be. Almost 8 years later and I am still using Firefox. Though there have been many changes and many competitors I still feel strongly that Firefox is the best browser out there.
Fancy Firefox Features
There are a lot of Firefox features that were new at one point but have now become industry standard. Firefox still has a lot of features but there is only so much you can add to something before it is too much, so they left all the other neat things up to add-ons.
Download Manager - Opens a private window that lists your current downloads and progress.
Tabbed Browsing Windows - Opens in mini windows rather than new windows to de-clutter the screen.
Geolocation - Looking for weather or food? Firefox knows roughly where you are and wont look in another state/country unless specifically asked.
Spell Checker - Checks spelling. Mostly accurate, better than a lot of regular spell checkers out there.
Incremental Find - Allows you to go through and spot target words on a page better.
Live Bookmarking and Smart Bookmarks - Makes bookmarking a lot better, wont send you somewhere obscure.
Private Browsing - Allows you to browse in a mode that makes it so people cant see what you are doing, or what you did.
Addons - Allows you to completely customize Firefox into whatever you want it to be.
What Sets Firefox Apart?
Since most of those features have become industry standards, you might be asking why Firefox is any better than any other browser. I recently wrote an article entitled "Chrome Vs Firefox: Which is better?" The article goes into further detail into why Firefox is better than Chrome, however there are a few things that generally set Firefox apart from all browsers.
1. Privacy. To me this is a big one. Google Chrome's company is Google. What does this mean to you? Google Chrome can be logging all the information you put out on the internet may it be internet search history, preferences, site browsing, and more. I don't have anything to hide myself but it is really uncomfortable to imagine someone staring over my shoulder at what I am doing. Firefox is the only mainstream browser who is run by a non-profit organization that does not have a stake in the advertising field.
2. Updates. You can get what you want when you want it if you want it. If you don't mind updates and want the most current version any time, there is a version for that called Nightly. For a step down from fast paced updates there is Aurora, which is more updated than the regular Firefox but still a beta product. Choose your speed and preferences - sounds good to me!
3. Creativity. You can choose your own look for Firefox! Whatever you like can become the theme of Firefox. Starry Night, autumn leaves, only your imagination is the limit because you can choose from premade themes or create your own! On top of that you can add and take away as many addons as you want, making Firefox become anything you want it to be and do whatever you want it to do. I must note that this is now pretty much an industry standard though. For more on customizable features you can read my article "Top 10 Firefox Browser Addons".
To The Future
Currently Firefox is used by 1/4 people in the world who use the internet, this includes several places where it is used by 47-67% of internet users (Germany has 47% Firefox usage). As Internet Explorer goes down usage due to people understanding there are better alternatives and Google Chrome usage declines due to people really understand the privacy violations involved, the future of Firefox looks bright. For all these reasons and more I prefer Firefox over any other browser and hope you will give it a chance too.