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Chrome has increasingly overshadowed Firefox in the browser wars as Google’s browser has gained an ever higher user base. However, Mozilla has just launched a major counter offensive this November with the release of Firefox Quantum.
Quantum is the most extensive update in Firefox’s history that has revamped the browser with an overhauled core engine and redesigned UI.
Revamped UI Design
The most striking aspect of Firefox 57 is its revamped UI design, which Mozilla codenamed Photon. Fox 57 is a big departure from the previous versions as it includes a redesigned Options tab, tab bar that incorporates dark, rectangular tabs and redesigned toolbar icons.
Mozilla overhauled Firefox’s UI to modernize the browser’s design and expand space for website page content.
Firefox 57 includes an integrated URL and search bar, which is something Chrome has had for a while. Now Firefox users can enter search keywords in the URL bar with the Use the address bar for search and navigation option selected. However, you can still keep the search and URL bars separate by selecting Add search bar in toolbar.
Firefox 57 also has a revamped New Tab page that includes your top visited websites. The New Tab page shows you recently visited pages listed under Highlights. Mozilla has also added Pocket Recommendations to the New Tab page for German, U.S. and Canadian users.
New Browsing Engine
Mozilla has had plenty to say about Firefox 57’s new browsing engine. Firefox’s publisher claims that 57 is twice as fast as the 49 version. Mozilla also boasts that Fox 57’s RAM utilization is 30 percent less than Chrome’s RAM usage.
Firefox 57’s speed boost is largely due to its new Quantum CSS engine. That is a multi-threaded rendering engine designed to make the most of the latest CPU technologies. Project Quantum, as it is otherwise known, also shares some of its components with Servo, which is web engine that Mozilla sponsors.
The Page actions menu is also a handy new addition to Firefox 57. This is a small menu you can open by clicking its three dot button on the URL bar. Page actions includes a Take screenshot tool that you can select to capture website snapshots within the browser. Firefox users can capture full pages or select a smaller area of a page to include in the snapshot.
Aside from the screenshot tool, you can select to bookmark pages from the Page actions menu. The menu includes an Email Link and a Send Tab to Device option with which you can sync page tabs. You can also select a Copy Link option on the Page actions menu to copy URLs to the clipboard.
Mozilla Abandons Legacy Support
Firefox 57 no longer supports legacy extensions. Only WebExtension API extensions work in Fox 57. Consequently, you might find that some of your current extensions do not work in Fox 57 if the developers haven’t updated them.
Mozilla has added a Legacy Extensions list to Firefox’s about:addons page that shows users their incompatible extensions.
Quantum is undoubtedly the most exciting Firefox update for some time that has had input from more than 700 programmers. Firefox’s vice product president said of the updated browser: “Today, people use Firefox as their secondary browser. We think it’s good enough to be your first browser.”
The Quantum update could mark the beginning of a Firefox comeback in the browser wars. Mozilla’s flagship browser is slicker and faster than ever before. You can add Firefox 57 to Windows 10, 8 or 7 by pressing the Download Now button on this Mozilla page.