Nov 15

Mozilla’s Firefox web browser just got its biggest update in 13 years – here’s what’s new

A man is seen next to a Firefox logo at a Mozilla stand during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 28, 2013.  REUTERS/Albert GeaThomson

  • Mozilla released an upgraded version of its Firefox
    browser on Tuesday.
  • Called Firefox Quantum, the browser is twice as fast as
    the old version and uses 30% less memory than Google’s Chrome
    browser, Mozilla says.
  • It also features content recommendations from the
    reading-list app Pocket.

It’s a good day to be a Firefox diehard.

On Tuesday, Mozilla
launched Firefox Quantum
, a reengineered version of the
nonprofit’s popular Firefox web browser.

It’s the culmination of six years of research and development and
a year and a half of engineering work, according to Mozilla’s
chief marketing officer, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff. And the company
says Quantum represents the biggest overhaul of Firefox since it
debuted in 2004.

The biggest change? It’s twice as fast as the Firefox of just six
months ago.

Mozilla’s engineers rebuilt the core engine, giving it brand new
guts and interacting with more than 7 million lines of code in
the process. Mozilla says Quantum also uses 30% less memory

than Google’s Chrome
browser and is meant for those who surf
the net by rapidly switching among many tabs. So basically

The user interface also got an overhaul, and users will notice
brand-new themes, tab designs, and menu items. The redesign is
part of a larger Mozilla initiative, called Photon, to unify and
modernize the appearance of everything Firefox.

3 new stories in every tab

The name Quantum was the developers’ code name for all the UI
work, but as time progressed they realized that what they were
working on would be a new product and thus needed a new name.

Firefox is an open-source project, and more than 700 people
around the globe contributed code to Quantum, Mozilla says.

Another change in Quantum that users will notice
is the integration of Pocket
, a product Mozilla acquired in
February that lets people save articles and other content to a
personal reading list.

With Quantum, every time a user opens a new tab, they will see
three Pocket recommended stories before they even start
searching. They’re
chosen from the millions of items
users are saving to Pocket
throughout the day. Because of this,
Mozilla says
, “they do a great job of representing what’s
worth reading and watching on the web.”

Mozilla sees the internet as a public resource — and just as
recycling helps the environment, it says, using a browser
developed by a nonprofit helps a free internet.

“You should feel good about using Firefox because it contributes
to Mozilla, which contributes to a healthy internet,”
Kaykas-Wolff said.

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