It’s another adventure in True Confessions Friday. Yes, I have neither tried nor tested every Mac browser on planet earth. I’m sure it’s OK to do a little extrapolation based upon some very scientific research regarding modern browsers.
I tried all the most recent Mac browsers worthy of note, did some personal testing the old fashioned way. By hand. From that testing exercise, I determined one browser to be the fastest I’ve ever used on a Mac. Don’t ask me what they’re doing at Mozilla these days, but the engineers that work on Firefox must have captured some alien technology from Area 51 and turned it into browser app code.
Firefox Quantum is the name of Firefox 57, due on the streets by mid-November, but you can try it out in beta form today. It has a few wrinkles that need to be smoothed out, but the one identifying feature you’ll figure out right away is speed.
There was a time a couple of decades ago when we thought the browser wars were over. Microsoft killed Netscape with Internet Explorer and that was it. Game over. Where’s the fat lady? She needs to sing. Well, Microsoft fell into a coma for a few years and both Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox joined Apple’s Safari as the browser trio to beat.
Nobody is standing still. Well, maybe Google. Safari was the fastest browser I had ever used. Monday and Tuesday. Then Firefox 56 came out. Faster at rendering website pages than anything ever installed on my Mac. Then I tried Firefox Quantum (version 57) in beta. Yep. Faster.
I don’t know who uses Firefox 52, but by comparison to 57 it’s a loser.
Over the past few years I’ve mentioned that we live in the Golden Age of Browsers. They’re all good. They’re all fast. Website pages are rendered about the same everywhere. Whatever it is that Mozilla is doing to Firefox is noticeable. You know. By your eyes. My internet connection here in Atlanta blazes at 100-mbps. My Boomer website is free of ad trackers, analytics and cookies, so the pages hit the screen pretty fast these days.
Try whatever websites you want in Firefox 56. Then try it with Firefox Quantum. The former is the fasted browser I’ve used until the latter. On the surface, you won’t see much different. Tabs. Top sites. Recommendations. Bookmarks. Built-in search. Visually, it’s all standard fare.
Mozilla claims Firefox Quantum is double last year’s Firefox, uses 30-percent less memory than Google Chrome, and comes with a few differentiating features like an in-browser screenshot option. Yes, there’s even built-in Firefox Private Browsing to block ads and trackers. Trust me. That makes website pages load blisteringly fast.
Caveat emptor on the Quantum Beta, of course. It could cause your Mac to melt. Or, worse. What’s missing in Quantum is stability, but that’s to be expected in a new version. That’s why Apple seeds the Safari Technology Previews months in advance. A few million guinea pigs is good for anything new.
Fast, private, and secure browsing is what I want and these days I’m getting it in spades everywhere. Except iPhone and iPad, where Firefox Focus is about the best you can do since, as I understand it, browsers on iOS are stuck with Apple’s browser engine.
Regardless, try it out and tell me what you think. Fast? Not so fast? Can’t tell the difference?