Technologizer posts about Firefox

From Mozilla, news that makes me say “whew”:

We’re pleased to announce that we have negotiated a significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement with Google. This new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years.

“Under this multi-year agreement, Google Search will continue to be the default search provider for hundreds of millions of Firefox users around the world,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla.

The money that funds Firefox comes principally from all the clicks by Firefox users who use Google in the browser. Until this renewal deal was signed, people wondered about a disastrous scenario in which the Firefox product was essentially defunded. Now we know that won’t happen.

In its 2010 fiscal year, by the way, Mozilla made $123 million, mostly from search revenues from Google and other partners. That makes it a rather well-funded non-profit. Fodder for further discussion: How well is it translating that money into a better Firefox (and other products), better Web technologies, and a better Web, period?



Posted by Harry at 11:39 am


Is the Firefox Era About to End?

By  |  Posted at 9:19 am on Friday, September 30, 2011


Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer reports that Web analytics company StatCounter thinks that Google’s Chrome will pass Firefox to become the world’s second most popular browser by December. (Internet Explorer remains the top dog, but its share, which once surpassed ninety percent, continues to drop.)

If the trends established thus far this year continue, Chrome will come close to matching Firefox’s usage share in November, then pass its rival in December, when Chrome will account for approximately 26.6% of all browsers and Firefox will have a 25.3% share.

Those numbers are eerily close to the stats at Technologizer for the past month: 26.05 percent of you have used Chrome to visit us, and 25.06 percent have used Firefox. Chrome is already the top browser amongst youse guys: Safari is #3 at 20.31 percent, and IE is #4 at 19.07 percent. (We’re small enough that there’s plenty of flux in the rankings; things could be different next month.)

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The Google Toolbar: Superfluous? Probably. Beloved? Definitely!

By  |  Posted at 2:28 pm on Friday, July 22, 2011


Stephen Shankland of Cnet is reporting that Google has ceased development of the Google Toolbar for Firefox. It works on versions of the browser up to 4, but won’t ever run with the new version 5 and beyond. Google’s official rationale? Firefox has added features which render the toolbar irrelevant. On a purely rational level, it may be right about that. But I suspect the absence of a Google Toolbar for the world’s second most-used browser will send a lot of people into a tizzy.

Three years ago, when Google’s Chrome browser was brand new, I wrote about the fact that there was no Google Toolbar for it. Then as now, you could have made the case that the toolbar was superflous, but that didn’t stop people from really, really wanting a Google Toolbar for Chrome. The post got a ton of readers, and I followed up with one on my not-very-serious project to build a Google Fakebar.

People like doing things the way they’re comfortable doing them. (That’s the only plausible explanation for why it’s still possible to pay for AOL service.) And Google Toolbar was so useful for so long that here are probably millions of people out there who use it every single day on Firefox.

Shankland says that Google isn’t saying anything about the future of the toolbar for Internet Explorer. I wonder if there are people so wedded to the toolbar that they’d switch from Firefox to IE to keep it?

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Using a PC? You Definitely Have Annoyances

By  |  Posted at 8:05 am on Saturday, May 28, 2011


Mac users must be sworn to secrecy; they rarely complain about their computers. A friend, plied with alcohol, reluctantly admitted that his MacBook suffered from random shutdowns. Like, no!

PC users, on the other hand, seem to be proud of their computing annoyances. Online bragging matches are common, with each participant trying to top all the other PC disaster stories.

You think I’m kidding about Mac and PC users? Try this on for size: Mac people vs. PC people: Top 5 differences. (Thanks to TechBite subscriber Gil.)

This week’s story is a collection (okay, a hodgepodge) of ways my PC annoys me, with, of course, work-arounds.

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Speaking of glimpses of major software upgrades to come, Conceivably Tech has some stuff on Firefox 5.

Posted by Harry at 9:24 am

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The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg reviews Firefox 4–favorably so, but it’s not a rave.

Posted by Harry at 8:52 am

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Firefox for Android: Desktop-Like Browsing for Your Phone

By  |  Posted at 11:53 am on Tuesday, March 29, 2011


For all the rapid improvement that both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have seen, one thing about both mobile operating systems hasn’t changed much at all: their browsers. True, their technical underpinnings have been refined. But featurewise, they haven’t evolved at anywhere near the pace of their counterparts on PCs, where the competition among browsers is never-ending.

That’s one reason why I’m in favor of browser competition being as healthy on smartphones and tablets as it is on computers. On iOS, that’s not going to happen anytime soon–Apple doesn’t permit full-blown browsers with their own rendering engines in the App Store. (Ones that use the Safari engine, such as the excellent Atomic Web Browser, are permissible; so is Opera Mini, which does most of its work on Opera’s servers, not on your phone.) On Android, however, there’s nothing stopping other companies from competing with the OS’s built-in browser. Opera announced new versions of both Opera Mini and Opera Mobile for Android a couple of weeks ago. And now Mozilla has released the final version of Firefox 4 for Android.

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Showdown: Chrome (Beta) vs. Firefox 4.0

By  |  Posted at 7:06 am on Wednesday, March 9, 2011


With new versions scheduled to be released for these two popular web browsers, many of us are rethinking where our loyalties lie. Should we go with the Google Chrome (Beta) or Mozilla Firefox 4.0? Is it worth the upgrade, or is it time to try something new? Here’s a list of the new and upgraded features to make your decision easier.

Release Date:

Google Chrome (Beta): Beta version available; Those using Chrome will be updated soon.

Mozilla Firefox 4.0: Web and mobile browser expected mid-to-late March. [NOTE: A beta version is available.]

Point Goes To: Chrome. It’s available now, and we all know what happens with tentative dates.

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Chrome Ascendent

By  |  Posted at 4:39 pm on Thursday, December 2, 2010


TechCrunch’s MG Siegler is reporting that Chrome is now the most-used browser among that site’s visitors, having slightly edged out Firefox in November. It’s yet another piece of evidence that Google’s browser is a major hit, especially among people who take their Web browsers really seriously.

Here at Technologizer, Firefox maintains the #1 spot–in fact, Chrome is only the third-most popular browser. (Internet Explorer is #2.) But Chrome usages is increasing at a steady clip, and both Firefox and IE have lost users over the past year.

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Twelve Smart Firefox and Internet Explorer Add-Ons

By  |  Posted at 11:30 am on Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I can’t get enough of the handy-dandy freebies that clump onto Firefox (and Internet Explorer) and make the browsers smarter and easier to use.

Finding the right one is sometimes just a matter of saying, “gawd, why can’t I…” and sticking it into a Google search field. So here are a few that I’ve found — and integrated into my browsers.

One thought, though, before you start. Adhere to the Bass International one at a time rule. It’s the best way to experiment when modifying your browser with add-ons or extensions. You know the reason: If your browser starts acting hinky, you’ll find the culprit pretty quickly with only one new add-on installed. Also, adding a bunch at a time has been known to cause sunspots and make people faint. No, seriously.

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No Firefox for iPhone? I Would Have Settled for “Firefox.”

By  |  Posted at 2:24 pm on Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Mozilla has published a blog post on its plans for the iPhone platform. Basically, they involve (A) focusing on Firefox Home, an app that provides access to Firefox bookmarks, tabs, and history on the iPhone; (B) not doing a full-blown version of Firefox for iPhone; and (C) not letting Firefox Home evolve into something so fancy that it feels like Firefox for the iPhone.

Why no Firefox for iPhone? The Mozilla post doesn’t explain in much detail:

People have asked about adding more browser-like features to Firefox Home, but there are technical and logistical restrictions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to build the full Firefox browser for the iPhone.

The challenges for a real full Firefox on iOS are obvious: As far as I know, Apple’s recent loosening of its App Store guidelines still don’t permit third-party browser companies to write the comprehensive rendering/JavaScript engine that would be required for Mozilla to write a browser from scratch. But as a Firefox fan and an iPhone user, I would have cheerfully settled for a “Firefox” that involved Firefox Home’s features plus more interface functionality but used Apple’s WebKit engine for page rendering.

Atomic Web Browser, which seems to be the work of one guy, is really Safari with a new skin; it’s terrific. I don’t see why Mozilla couldn’t evolve Firefox Home into something similar, and similarly useful–or how doing so wouldn’t be a boon to Firefox aficionados.

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The Browser Wars’ Odd New Equilibrium

By  |  Posted at 10:01 am on Thursday, July 29, 2010


Apple released version 5.0.1 of its Safari browser yesterday. It fixes one major security vulnerability. More pleasantly, it turns on support for extensions, which Apple is now collecting in its new Extensions Gallery. The quantity of available add-ins is skimpy compared to Chrome or (especially) Firefox, but there’s already some good stuff–I like Gmail Counter, which adds a button indicating how many e-mails have arrived since you last checked your inbox, along with a banner that rotates through recent subject lines. And Safari extensions have the most seamless installation process I’ve seen to date–one click, and you’re good to go.

Until now, when folks have asked me how the major browsers stack up, I’ve mostly praised Safari but noted that the lack of extensions made for a less customizable working environment. Now it’s got ‘em. One more reason to consider using Safari, one less major distinguishing characteristic for the competition.

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Firefox Home: Half a Web Browser is Better Than None, I Suppose

By  |  Posted at 1:14 am on Friday, July 16, 2010


Firefox has arrived on the iPhone–sort of. Mozilla’s Firefox Home, which is now available in Apple’s App Store, brings your Firefox search history, bookmarks, and tabs to the iPhone. It does so courtesy of Firefox Sync, an add-on for desktop versions of Firefox that synchronizes multiple copies of the browser so your bookmarks, settings, and other customizations are the same in every browser you use.

Firefox Home lets you get at search history (courtesy of the Awesome Bar–just start typing and it’ll find places you’ve previously gone), bookarks, and tabs from within the app; you can load Web pages in the program, where they’re rendered by an embedded version of Apple’s Safari, or open them in Safari itself. It’s handy, but it’s nowhere near as handy as a full-blown version of Firefox for the iPhone would have been. You can’t open a new URL, or bookmark a new page, or type search queries into the address bar–it’s strictly for going back to pages you once visited on a desktop copy of Firefox. Which means it neither feels like Firefox nor is able to replace Safari as a workaday Web browser.

Why didn’t Mozilla write a full-blown version of Firefox for the iPhone, akin to Fennec, which is available for Android? Jason Kincaid of TechCrunch says that Apple wouldn’t have accepted it for the App Store. I’m not so sure that’s the case: Apple didn’t have a problem with Opera Mini landing on its phone, and I can’t imagine a just, consistent policy which would accept Opera Mini but prohibit Firefox.

But if Mozilla didn’t want to risk writing an iPhone browser from scratch that Apple might nix, there was a (relatively) easy workaround: It could have built one which relied on Safari for rendering, as Firefox Home does–but with a far higher percentage of the trimmings we’re accustomed to in desktop Firefox. All evidence says that Apple doesn’t reject these pseudobrowsers, such as the outstanding Atomic Web Browser.

Maybe Mozilla can’t bring itself to release a Firefox that’s really a gussied-up reworking of Safari. Or maybe it intends to nudge Firefox in this direction over time. I just know that I like the idea of syncing my iPhone browsing experience with Firefox, but am a lot more excited by the idea than I am by Firefox Home the product.

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Firefox 4: Beta 1 is Here

By  |  Posted at 4:18 pm on Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Mozilla has released Beta 1 of Firefox 4–an update with a more Chromelike, minimalist interface, an improved add-on manager (it occupies a full window rather than a teeny-tiny one), speed improvements, more support for emerging Web standards like HTML5 and Google’s WebM video format, and more. (Only the Windows version has the new interface so far–it’ll arrive for the Mac and Linux in a later beta.)

At the moment, I find myself in the weird situation of not having a favorite browser–I leap between Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Flock without giving it much thought, and sometimes take side trips to IE and Opera. I am, however, rooting for Firefox 4 to be good: I love browser competition, and I don’t want it to devolve into a battle between Microsoft and Google, which is the likely scenario if Firefox doesn’t stay popular and inventive.

More thoughts to come, but I have to do some troubleshooting–the Windows version I downloaded and installed is refusing to load Web pages. Here’s Mozilla’s blog post on the new version.


Firefox Gets Crash Protection

By  |  Posted at 3:33 pm on Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Mozilla has released Firefox 3.6.4, a security and stability update with one significant new feature: Crash protection designed to stop Flash, SilverLight, and QuickTime from taking the whole browser with them when they choke. The new capability mirrors one which was a much-touted one in Google’s Chrome from the start.

(Semi-related side note: On OS X, for me, Chrome’s crash protection doesn’t stop Flash from frequently freaking out in a manner that renders the browser unusable until I manually kill and relaunch it. Technically, it’s not crashing–but the end result is just as irritating.)

Firefox’s crash protection is for Windows and Linux only; it won’t reach OS X until Firefox 4 ships. If you try it and notice a difference–or don’t–let us know.

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