10 things we love about the new Firefox browser

Mozilla took its vanishing market share to heart and fought back with one of the most notably improved products in recent memory

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Loving Firefox

Remember when you ditched Firefox for Chrome and pinkie-swore you’d never go back? Yeah, me too. But recently I needed to test one of our Web-based apps in Firefox, so, with some hesitance, I took the plunge and installed it. Turns out, the good folks at Mozilla took their vanishing market share to heart and fought back with one of the most notably improved products I have seen in recent memory. Here are 10 things we love about Firefox. (Read the full story.)

[ Also on InfoWorld: Why I switched back to Firefox. | Find out how Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE, and Opera measure up in the HTML5 shoot-out. | Get a digest of the day's top tech stories in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. ]

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User interface

I opened the browser, and saw a lean, minimalist user interface with cool, gray icons on the toolbar.

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Improved performance

Mozilla claims that Firefox is now the fastest of the top three browsers.

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Customizable menu and toolbar

The new Firefox provides a clear, concise, simple way to customize your menu and toolbar.

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Streamlined ‘reading’ view

This is an option to view a streamlined version of the Web page you are on, eliminating videos, ads, and background images. The reading view allows you to get straight to the heart of the content, with no frills or distractions. I really appreciate the clean format for doing research and reading news, especially when traveling and needing to conserve bandwidth.

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Settings manager that could easily set a new standard

In the new Firefox, the settings manager is a breeze to use.

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Privacy

Firefox boasts excellent browsing privacy. Browsers like Chrome and IE are quite invasive, and seek to manage, or at least stealthily observe, as much of your online life as possible. Firefox takes a refreshing approach to Web privacy. It actually seeks to protect it. Many of the privacy settings are part of the private browsing feature. With private browsing enabled, Firefox operates in stealth mode, where no information, such as cookies, passwords, files, browsing history etc., is saved to the user’s computer.

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Tracking protection

How often have you made a search on Amazon, only to see ads for the very product you searched for appear on websites afterwards? Tracking protection prevents this from occurring. You can essentially stay in private browsing mode by enabling the "do not track history" setting.

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Security

There are a number of security add-ons for Firefox; one provides the option to allow browser scripts such as Java and JavaScript to run only from trusted sites to prevent cross-site scripting and other script-related attacks.

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Support

Mozilla offers online support with quick solutions to common issues like how to optimize Firefox to work with specific sites, such as Facebook and YouTube, or how to run a Firefox Health Report, which provides information about your browser’s performance and stability over time.

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64-bit architecture

Another notable improvement is the move to 64-bit architecture, which Mozilla rolled out late in 2015. Although many older add-ons aren’t compatible with the new 64-bit version, the improved performance and fault tolerance far outweigh this minor inconvenience.