The Case for Firefox

I mentioned in a recent piece that I had switched to Firefox as my default browser on both my desktop and phone. I’m really enjoying the fruits of this decision thus far, as my browsing experience, especially on mobile, has been faster and cleaner. Aside from the fact that Firefox works and syncs across Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, and Android, here are a few reasons that I feel you should give Firefox another shot.

It is fast. I began using Firefox as my default browser sometime in 2004. Internet Explorer was a pile of junk, and Firefox offered a fresh, fast and more secure alternative. I stopped using Firefox as my default browser shortly after the first Chromebook, the Google CR-48, arrived on the scene. Based on my positive experience with my trusty CR-48, I switched to Chrome on my Mac as well, only using Firefox for occasional testing purposes. At that point, Firefox had become a bloated mess, and Chrome was fast and lean. Fast forward to present day. The newly redesigned Firefox is now a speed demon, and Chrome is the browser that seems a little long in the tooth.

It is open source. Firefox is an open source project, managed by Mozilla, a non-profit organization. Mozilla's Mission is to, “ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. An Internet that truly puts people first, where individuals can shape their own experience and are empowered, safe and independent.” I like this philosophy, and I feel like Mozilla wants to keep the rights of the end user first and foremost.

It is conscious of our privacy. Firefox has built in ad-blocking and tracking protection, which without the need for third-party extensions, can be enabled in settings with the click of a button. Unlike Google Chrome, where Google has just now started implementing ad-blocking for only the most egregious offenses, Firefox blocks everything. Chrome’s native ad-blocking solution does not stop sites from tracking you across the web in order to target you with ads. For Chrome on the desktop, I must rely on an extension (uBlock Origin) to block ads and other trackers. However, Chrome on Android does not allow one to install 3rd party extensions. In contrast, Firefox's ad-blocking and tracking protection capabilities function just the same on mobile as they do on the desktop.

I realize that there is an ethical debate around the practice of blocking ads. A vast majority of sites make their money from ads. As such, if you wish, you can always disable tracking protection on a site by site basis.

In conclusion, if you want a browser that is fast, stable, cares about your privacy and works and syncs across multiple platforms, I would encourage you to give Firefox a try.

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