In the modern digital world, work is most often done through a Net-enabled computing device. A browser is the main vehicle through which we access the Net and most of us spend a huge chunk of our time in it. This means the power and efficiency of the browser we choose can also affect our productivity. Instead of simply sticking to the same browser forever, we should keep a tab on the latest developments in the fast-changing browser world.
During the initial days of the Internet (the late nineties and early 2000s), Internet Explorer (IE), the default browser on Windows, ruled the roost. Despite being an inefficient/insecure product, the IE enjoyed a market share of more than 90% during those times. The dramatic entry of Firefox with an array of innovative features- like multi-tab browsing, extensions, private browsing etc – stopped the Internet Explorer juggernaut and it siphoned off a good chunk of IE’s market share. However, once the rival is conquered, some level of complacency crept in and Firefox started getting more and more buggy and slow.
The arrival of Chrome, the browser from Google, completely changed the browser landscape. Although the initial version of Chrome was not as good as its Firefox counterpart, over time, it got better and became a big hit with the netizens. Chrome is now the most popular browser and has almost become synonymous with the Internet.
The popularity of Chrome further isolated Firefox and many analysts predicted that it would soon disappear from the cyberspace. But Firefox is not ready to give up the fight that easily. After lying low for a few years, Firefox is all set to bloom again. The browser is ready for another battle with a new name (Firefox Quantum) and a whole lot of new features.
Three factors control your web navigation speed: your computing platform’s innate potential-its processor, RAM and the like-, your Internet connection speed/bandwidth and the browser through which you access the Net. The power of a browser is determined by its capability to exploit the different features of the device in which it resides. For instance, if the device CPU has multiple cores the browser should exploit this feature to enhance its efficiency. Likewise, it should use the available RAM optimally so that it can hold several web pages at a time without fomenting trouble for other applications.
The latest version of Firefox, Firefox Quantum (now in beta) or Firefox 57, is a major effort to deliver a new browser engine that exploits multi-core CPUs on desktops and mobile devices for a faster and smoother browsing experience. The upshot of this change is that now we have a much faster and more stable version of its browser.
According to Mozilla, Firefox Quantum (here the word quantum implies ‘quantum leap’ in performance) is twice as fast as its older version. Most of the netizens now endorse this claim and many feel that its performance is even better than that of Chrome.
A notable feature of Quantum is the close integration of the read-it-later service ‘Pocket’ with it. The Pocket service allows you to clip/save all the different articles and posts that you want to read or reference at a later point. If you come across some useful digital content (an article, a blog post, etc.) while surfing and do not have time to check them out right away, you can save them for later access. If you use this a lot, you might want to be classifying these digital content into different categories (tech, personal, business etc.) for accessing them with ease. To keep it under certain groups you can add appropriate tags while saving. Moreover, an article saved thus can be read from any device anytime.
If you use the latest version of Firefox, you will see a pocket like icon in Firefox toolbar and in Firefox Quantum you will find it right in the address bar itself (screenshot above). When you click on, it will prompt you to log-in to the service with your Firefox account. Once logged in, whenever you come across something interesting, save it to your pocket account with a click on the pocket icon in the address bar.
One cool thing about Firefox Quantum is how you can send tabs to other devices like your smartphone. For this, first, create an account with Firefox and link all your devices with this account. Now, to send a tab to a specific device, simply right-click on it and select the option ‘Send Tab to Device’ (screenshot below).
A useful feature of Firefox Quantum beta is the tool that lets you take screenshots easily. During our Web journey, we often stumble on different types digital content, and we may want to clip/share some of them. It could be a picture or a part of the web page or an interesting ad. Naturally, if the browser lets us clip/share this content without making us download another software, we should appreciate it. The ‘Take a Screenshot’ feature (screenshot below) does exactly this. It allows you to take screenshots of various areas of a website and instantly share it with your friends via multiple social platforms or save it to your local drive.
Another point worth a mention is the new interface called Photon that adds some new features. The ‘page action’ menu (with three dots icon ‘…’) that can be accessed right from the address bar is an instance of such a feature. This menu contains options such ‘Bookmark this page’, ‘Save to Pocket’, ‘Send Tab to Device’ ‘Take Screenshots’ etc.