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What is the Firefox Web Browser?

Updated on October 31, 2012
An artist's interpretation of the Firefox Logo.
An artist's interpretation of the Firefox Logo. | Source

...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.

Firefox Features:
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.

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    • howlermunkey profile image

      Jeff Boettner 4 years ago from Tampa, FL

      Good article, might be time to revisit firefox. I tend to bounce around ( I like to try new things), and will check out the new firefox sometime this week. Thanks for the "Top 10 Firefox Browser addons" link as well. Up and Sharing

    • Danieljohnston profile image
      Author

      Daniel Johnston 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks Suzie! It all comes down to personal tastes and preferences in the end, but I would suggest maybe downloading it for a few days and trying it out. Its easy to download, install, uninstall, and remove so there isn't any hassle if you don't like it.

      Also to be fair, a lot of the features are accessible on Chrome so you might want to look at those if they sound helpful.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Daniel,

      Very interesting article as I have not really used Firefox but use Chrome.

      You make great reasons why to use that I will be seriously thinking about for the future. Thanks for all the easy to follow reasons to pick Firfox, it was interesting and useful!

    • Danieljohnston profile image
      Author

      Daniel Johnston 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      "As long as the user understands how to opt out of any tracking algorithms" is the catch. I was reading an article that had specific proof that Chrome tracks a lot more than Firefox, but I cannot find it right now.

      Currently I use Chrome and Firefox, but Firefox has a smaller footprint for me, is faster, and has not had any technical issues at all. In fact I think it was CNET that just had an article that said Firefox's latest update put it ahead of Chrome in speed and technical issues.

      It really does come down to preference in the end though. Browsers are like good runners, they are sometimes ahead and sometimes behind, but usually aren't too far away from each other unless something bad happens.

    • jessefutch profile image

      jessefutch 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Very interesting hub. The biggest issue right now is the global issue with Firefox not being able to play video, and zero help from Mozilla for months. As for no hand in advertising, that is decidedly false. Mozilla owns a non-profit organization that helps programmers and other software writers free domain to create, but be assured Mozilla rakes in some serious cash with their advertising dollars! I have used Firefox for years and absolutely hate Internet Explorer. However, Google Chrome does NOT violate anyone's privacy. As long as the user understands how to opt out of any tracking algorithms. Firefox has identical trackers so, if the user does not understand these, will be tracked identically by Firefox! Firefox is an excellent browser, but with their current technical issues, Chrome is decidedly the better choice at the moment. Not to mention Chrome is a smaller program with a much lighter footprint.