Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Meet Firefox Quantum, Mozilla's most compelling answer to Chrome yet

Meet Firefox Quantum, Mozilla's most compelling answer to Chrome yet

The changes are of course, not only superficial, as Quantum is also built on top of a new Rust-powered CSS engine, which Mozilla claims to be "2x faster" than Chrome. It's actually pretty impressive.

Quantum was a task open to volunteers, with around 700 creators adding to the code. The newer version also uses less RAM - historically one of its pain points -, makes better use of multi-core CPUs and its previously introduced multi-process architecture. We call this initiative Photon, and its goal is to modernize and unify anything that we call Firefox while taking advantage of the speedy new engine. There's a whole style guide available for your perusal if you do so desire.

And despite the constant knocks on Google Chrome, Mozilla has no qualms about the fact that Google is now the default search provider for Firefox Quantum in the United States and Canada. Mozilla says that 60 search engines across 90 languages are pre-installed. Firefox now controls 13.14 percent of the browser market, behind Chrome's 59.84 and Internet Explorer's 15.09 percent. This video is concise and worth a quick view.

If you're curious about what we did, read on. A Library button gives you access to your saved content such as bookmarks, your Pocket reading list and screenshots, making extensions for these services obsolete. And if nothing else, the speed boost and UI tweaks could help Mozilla keep users that would otherwise have jumped ship. Instead, the recommendations come from Pocket users around the world. Firefox Quantum will also prioritise the tab you are actively looking at over all others, so it will be smarter when it comes to allocating resources.

Beyond the bigger UI overhaul, arguably smaller things like the Firefox menu have been made a little more compact, with increased information density. First, the Web has changed since many parts of Firefox were initially designed and developed; pages are more dynamic in structure and applications are richer and more graphically intensive. If you now rely on a traditional Firefox extension, you may want to hold off on updating until it's been converted to a modern WebExtension. Meanwhile, you can also get your hands-on Firefox Beta and Developer editions.

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